Making it as a woman in tech
Senior Associate at Autonomy Ventures in New York; board member of NYVC; advisor at Astia and Yeshiva University Women In Business; as well as the co-founder of Pivt, Lynn Greenberg discusses the opportunities in being a woman in tech.
There is no question that women are far underrepresented in tech. According to Women Who Tech, only seven percent of investor money goes to female founded startups and a mere 2.7% of venture capital funded companies have women CEOs. Yet women led startups have a 35% higher ROI when venture backed and generate 12% higher revenue than male-run startups. Ironically, from an investing standpoint, this gap should be viewed as a huge opportunity.
With all that said, through strong collaboration, more women in tech role models, and perseverance, this is an industry that women can not only continue to make great strides in, but also grow in great numbers. The tech industry is built upon its necessity to perpetuate disruption, innovation, and embrace vast perspectives, all of which women can uniquely and positively contribute to. Below are a few lessons learned about making the most of being a woman in tech:
1/ stay curious
This is what makes tech so much fun and never boring. There are always new fields to learn, perspectives to consider, and trends to spot. Just as important as staying up to date on current technology, learning how it will develop in the future and the implications that will follow are equally as important. Staying in the know and ahead of the bell curve gives women power to understand how the world works and forefront innovation. There is no shortage of events, articles, and newsletters to stay in the know and stay ahead. Ask questions.
2/ PLAY YOUR STRENGTHS
A) While women make up only a small percentage of roles in tech and are also less likely to be funded when CEO of their company, there is opportunity that can stem from this. There has been a recent increase in the number of tech companies that have pledged to hire and promote women into more leadership roles. Additionally, numerous venture funds and angel groups (Astia, GoldenSeed) have been created to solely invest in women founders.
B) The tech industry and especially the venture capital industry, champion those with strong networks. Take advantage of the immediate connections you can form by being a woman in tech. Find women in tech groups, meetups, and communities.
C) Recognise that as a woman you bring diversity and a valuable change in perspective to the table. As McKinsey highlighted, gender-diverse companies outperform others by 15%.
3/ BUILD A GREAT STORY
With tech roles more difficult to attain for women, we need to take initiative in pathing our own success. This means doing two things, getting out there and getting involved, and learning how to brand our story. What has been valuable about each experience that you’ve gone through that has led you to this point? What skills and experience did this give you to be most qualified for the desired position? Make sure you are able to connect the dots.
4/ STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The numbers representing women in tech are not in our favor—yet. Recognise that being a woman in tech is a something to be proud of. Wear it with dignity, speak up, write about it, mentor others, and continue to put in the work to help lead the way for others.