We’re excited to announce the return of our flagship VC training program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing (formerly called IGSVI). 500 Startups, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development, will be once again running this popular two-week program. In this program, individuals will learn 500s investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, Angels, SV startups and entrepreneurs (including 500’s portfolio). This session will run from February 8-19, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit: 500.vc/apply
500 Diversity Scholarship
We’re pleased to announce that we will be offering several 12K scholarships to selected investors from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in venture capital, including women and candidates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and geographies. Candidates must have an investment budget of less than 1M to qualify for the Diversity Scholarship.
In the spirit of recognizing some of our diverse participants (and hopefully encouraging more to apply), we’ve highlighted three women that have taken their careers to new heights with the applied knowledge of this program. In the third part of this series, we sat down with Katherine Hague, Creator of Female Funders and Co-Founder of ShopLocket.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up in Toronto, Canada and now split my time between Toronto and San Francisco.
I started my first venture-backed company 4 years ago at the age of 21. It was made possible by my first angel investor who put $10,000 into the company. That investment was the money we needed to launch. We went on to join an accelerator and raise a venture capital round from investors like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, and ultimately sold the company just two years later, when I was 23.
After selling my company I started doing a little bit of angel investing. I heard about VC Unlocked and the scholarship program for women and applied right away. I saw the program as a great way to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of the VC world, to build my network, and to build my confidence as an investor.
What are you working on now?
Coming into the VC Unlocked program I knew my passions centered around supporting female entrepreneurs and investors. While 18% of startups today are led by women, only 2.7% of venture capital funding goes to female CEOs. The same similarity biases that hurts women today when they are pitching to male VCs could help change the numbers if we get more women on the other side of the table as investors.
Coming out of VC Unlocked, I decided to take my passion to the next level and launched Female Funders as a community for female angels. Since launching in August, the project has been featured by Techcrunch, MarketWatch, Levo League, and Forbes to name a few. Today the community has over 750 members and we’re on a mission to get 1000 women to make their first investment by Fall 2016. We have interviewed some of the biggest names in angel investment, are running an 8 city breakfast series in the new year, launched the first online Angel School for female investors, and even started writing a book for O’Reilly Media — “Funded: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round “— which will be coming out early 2016.
It has been a whirlwind and I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the VC Unlocked community!
Are you using any of the concepts taught at the program in your work today?
Yes! The program really helped me understand the inner workings of syndicates and venture funds, which has help enormously as we look to scale the Female Funders network. Everything we learnt around sourcing deals, typical valuations, different global markets, and portfolio building has also been very helpful in directing my personal investments and has helped guide the development of the Female Funders resources offered to our community.
If you had to name one key outcome of the program, what would that be?
I am a more confident investor. I’m less worried that there is some secret to venture capital investing that I am missing. I also feel like I am really part of the 500 Startups community. The VC Unlocked class and the 500 Startups partners have been very supportive every step of the way. I feel honored to be part of such an incredible group.
What advice do you have for a women who are interested in becoming investors?
Writing your first check can seem scary, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have. Investing in early stage companies is about so much more than just financial return. It’s a way to build your network, to learn about new industries, and to change the world. Start small, but the most important thing is to get started. Programs like VC Unlocked will give you the network and confidence you need to get started.