Happy International Women’s Day.
This year, I am excited to recognize a first in my career - serving on the Shiru Board of Directors alongside 4 women. The board includes Jasmin Hume, Founder and CEO of Shiru, Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital, Rachel Konrad, Chief Brand Officer at The Production Board, Mary Clarke, Senior Vice President, Innovation at Firmenich, and myself. I consider myself lucky to be on the board as I get to see four talented people, discuss, debate, offer ideas, support each other, and govern Shiru as it grows as a company. It is one of the most functional and efficient boards I am on, focused on solving problems and helping the company be successful.
Recently the board was texting about an interview Deena had done in which she mentioned Jasmin, who was pregnant when she raised her first round at Shiru. Deena made references to the data that continues to pile up about women entrepreneurs being able perform at the highest levels and out perform with venture returns. For example, private technology companies led by women are more capital-efficient, achieving 35 percent higher ROI and when venture backed, 12 percent higher revenue than startups run by men. I made a “joke” that I wish she would not share that data and those insights as it was a secret sitting in plain sight that we at S2G could take advantage of. The more people know about increased returns from women founded and led organizations, the more that would normalize the value of those companies in the market. But of course that is not a funny “joke.” It is a sad truth in our industry. We need to encourage more women-led organizations, in all disciplines, including entrepreneurship, science, arts, business, fintech, crypto, medical and the list goes on and on.
As Deena recently wrote in an article published in Forbes on the subject, “The efforts to counter these biases and consequent downtrends will need to be as aggressive, as subtle and as pervasive as the biases themselves.”
We are certainly not perfect at S2G, but we are working hard to increase the diversity of our team and our investments towards women founded and led companies. Creating a culture that respects all diversity, including women, also makes us better as a firm. But we also know that we can do better. We have been in the hiring process for several new team members and building a well rounded, diverse team with the right skills and cultural fit has been the main topic of discussion for each and every candidate. I am excited to be part of a team that recognizes it needs to continue to raise the bar, and is making progress in creating a constructive space for tough discussions, where people can disagree and or bring different perspectives. This is what having a diversified, talented team is all about.
This International Women’s Day, our team celebrates the great work our women teammates, founders and CEOs, co-investors and strategic partners are doing to build a healthier and more sustainable food system, while also paving the way for the next generation of female innovators.