Woman in High Tech & The New York Times Out of the Loop

Image credit: The New York Times Out of the loop is the original title of a New York Times article discussing how difficult it is for women entrepreneurs to get funded, or generally to get into the management ranks in business.  A title that backfires … but you’ll have to wait to see why.

The first case discussed @ the NYT is Crimson Hexagon, a start-up founded by Candace Fleming, Harvard MBA, former HP Exec and small business President. Yet despite here credentials potential investors called her “Mom”, asked indiscreet questions and one invited her to his yacht by showing her his photo on the yacht – sans clothes.

“I didn’t know things like this still happened,” says Ms. Fleming, 37. “But I know that, especially in risky times like the last couple years, some investors kind of retreat to investing via a template.” A company owned by a woman, she adds, “is just not the standard template.”

Her solution was to find a fund that specifically focuses on investing in start-ups led by women: Golden Seeds.  They and other angels funded Crimson Hexagon to the  tune of $1.8M.

So while the bigger issue is still very much of a problem, at least all is well at Crimson Hexagon.  That is, until you click the link, where you see this headline:

4.5.2010 Crimson Hexagon Fills Out $2M Series A-2 Round; Names Scott Centurino New CEO

A bit more detail (emphasis mine):

Crimson Hexagon, the leading provider of real time market research, today announced that it has filled a $2M Series A-2 funding round. The round, led by Golden Seeds, was completed through a combination of new and existing investors…

In addition, the company announced that Scott Centurino has joined the company as the new CEO, replacing Candace Fleming who left for both personal and professional reasons.

Oops…  not exactly the outcome the NYT projected.  So now you see why the title backfired: just who is out of the loop this time?

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Matt Mullenweg and other Celebs on the SVASE Panel: Funding 2.0, How To Build A High Growth Startup Fast And Cheap.

  For all my love and support of SVASE, I sometimes complain that the monthly “Main Events” are a bit cut-and-dry.  Well, that will certainly not be the case tomorrow: star-power, money, frugality are all well represented on the panel discussing  Funding 2.0 – How To Build A High Growth Startup Fast And Cheap.

Matt Mullenweg started Automattic on a shoestring, and his product, WordPress became the most popular blog platform  before he and his company accepted major funding.  

Peter Yared, ActiveGrid’s Founder isn’t exactly unknown, either, although he is no listed as Founder & CEO, wdgtbldr.  WTF? – you might ask, but that’s a company name. His website says: ps: pls snd vwls.  We don’t get a lot smarter from this… but his LinkedIn profile reveals the company name as iWidgets, and his motto is:

The first rule of iWidgets is you don’t talk about iWidgets.

Naval Ravikant has been called a lot of names: Venturebeat labeled him: Crazy Man, his website is StartupBoy, and he is a Partner, at The Hit Forge:

The Hit Forge is a group of entrepreneurial engineers building mass-market web properties. We are owners of our companies, share common tools and code, and have enough money to fund dozens of attempts to find the next big hit. We don’t get locked into failed projects, we replace pointy-haired MBAs with modern web marketing, and we share stock so that if one of us wins, everybody wins.

Oh, and since I am a SaaS fanboy, here’s another acronym: CaaS, as in Capital as a Service (although Shai Agassi would disagreesmile_wink) .

Mike Cassidy has co-founded and sold three companies: Stylus Innovation, Direct Hit and Xfire. He is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital, one of the Big Brand Names on venture capital.   Traditional VC firms have to change: the capital efficiency of software startups means they cannot easily invest tens of millions in one startup anymore, and their traditional model is does not allow them to participate in much larger portfolios.  But Mike is not a Partner: the Entrepreneur-in-Residence title means he is there fishing for his next Big Hit, and will jump back as entrepreneur quite soon.

If you’d like to hear these four superstars discuss issues like:

• Can any fundable startup really get to breakeven on less than $1M venture capital?
• What does a “Capital Efficient” startup look like?
• Where do you find the people & resources for next to nothing?
• How can you generate revenue straight out of the gate?
• If I can generate revenue, and I have minimal expense, why do I need Venture Capital?
• If $1M “hardly moves the needle,” what returns are VCs now looking for?

– hurry, register here, before the event sells out.  See you tomorrow, at 6pm in Palo Alto.