All Raise Will Match Underrepresented Investors With Big-Name VCs

[Read on Fortune]

For All Raise to meet its goal of doubling the percentage of female partners at U.S. venture capital firms in 10 years, it has to start with the women already working in venture.

The organization supporting women in tech and venture capital on Thursday launched VC Champions, a mentorship program that will match women and underrepresented men with general partners—men and women—at top venture capital firms. Bessemer Venture Partners’ Byron Deeter, First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, Upfront Ventures’ Mark Suster, Aspect Ventures’ Theresia Gouw, and Lux Capital’s Renata Quintini are among the partners who will assist rising investors.

“We wanted to help mentor and guide the next generation of folks coming up the ranks,” says Greycroft Ventures’ Ellie Wheeler, who has spearheaded the initiative. “Given that venture is such a relationship-driven business, getting different perspectives, getting guidance, and creating pathways can be really important.”

All Raise is targeting up-and-coming investors at the principal level, just below partner. Investors who apply and are accepted to the inaugural class of about 25 will be matched with a different general partner for a one-on-one meeting each quarter.

All Raise itself launched in April, the brainchild of women in venture capital throughout Silicon Valley. In addition to reaching its target number of women in venture, its other goal is to increase the percentage of female founders in five years. This initiative will work in tandem to achieve both milestones at the same time, says Aspect Ventures’ Theresia Gouw, a mentor through the program and a founding member of All Raise.

“As we improve that side of it, the deal flow, the number of women who get seen and eventually get funded by venture capital firms will also increase,” Gouw says.

VC Champions will complement Female Founder Office Hours, an initiative connecting new female founders with women who have successfully founded companies. Both programs aim to match emerging investors and emerging founders with established counterparts in similar sectors or stages on the venture side.

The venture version, however, includes men—in a couple of ways. A cohort of underrepresented men will be part of the program’s rising stars class. Male VCs will also participate in the mentor role; perhaps not surprising given that men account for the vast majority of decision-makers in venture capital.

“Having male allies is key. The senior partner ranks are over 95% men. We need men to also be invested in the goals of All Raise,” Gouw says. “We can’t do it just in isolation. We need male partners to be alongside us.”

Future Family raises $10M to make fertility treatments more affordable

[read on TechCrunch]

Future Family,  a startup that helps families more easily afford fertility services like IVF and egg freezing, has raised $10 million in a Series A round.

Just weeks back, Future Family switched up its offerings to feel less like a loan, and more like a monthly subscription. The end results might seem pretty similar — with both, customers get the services they need without having to cough up a big pile of cash up front — but the monthly subscription approach has a big advantage: flexibility. If a customer realizes a few months in that additional fertility services are needed, the cost can just be wrapped right into the monthly plan on the fly.

The company’s fertility offerings start at $195 a month (for 60 months) for a plan that pairs you with a clinic and concierge to help you start navigating, while $250 a month (for 60 months) covers the cost of lab work, medication, clinic visits and the IVF procedure.

Future Family CEO Claire Tomkins tells me that this Series A will largely go toward expanding their monthly subscription offerings, as well as expanding the number of fertility clinics they partner with. The company had previously raised around $4.2 million.

Future Family was born out of Claire Tomkins’ own experiences with the complexities and costs of fertility treatments. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatments involved with having her first child (with much of the cost coming as a surprise only revealed once the process had begun), Claire set out to build a better way. Future Family partners with clinics to work out all the pricing ahead of time and pays the bill upfront, ensuring there are no billing surprises down the road.

This round was led by Aspect Ventures, and backed by iNovia, BBG, Ulu Ventures, LaunchCapital and Portfolia. As part of the deal, Aspect Venture’s Lauren Kolodny will join Future Family’s board of directors.

The Startup Postmates and Visa Use To Watch Their Language Just Raised $11.5 Million To Expand

[Read on Forbes]

When the startup Qordoba first met with California venture capitalists to share its software idea, its founders faced an uphill battle for attention. Its chief executive was a female ex-banker. Its chief technology officer was Syrian and had taught himself English. And their business was based in Dubai.

But Qordoba was operating in a market that resonated across geographies: translation. Initially focused on helping businesses manage local teams to translate their projects and copywriting to different languages, Qordoba had changed gears to focus on its core tech, a machine learning tool that could keep text consistent—say, a corporate name or slogan—across thousands of instances on different websites and apps. Qordoba had raised money from Middle Eastern investors years before. Now it wanted to come to Silicon Valley.

“I didn’t even have a permanent visa yet,” remembers cofounder and CEO May Habib. “And they told me, ‘Somehow this foreign guy with this thick accent and this woman an ocean away could close Visa?’ And they preempted the round.”

That investment, just over a year ago, helped Qordoba relocate to San Francisco and get on a different level of trajectory that has made it one of the faster-growing software businesses in tech’s epicenter. So much so that just a few months later, Qordoba’s raised funds again—this time a $11.5 million Series B led by Aspect Ventures, with a gaggle of other investors including Upfront Ventures, which had led the A, Rincon Ventures, Broadway Angels, The Perkins Fund and Yelp cofounder Michael Stoppelman all joining in.

“When it comes to the actual words inside products, it felt like there weren’t any teams on that product, and it could be the most important,” says Habib. “It felt like a part of the stack that had been absolutely missed.”

Qordoba’s pitch is simple: Engineers would rather spend their time coding than working with words. That’s why they’re engineers. But in practice, engineers write and rewrite corporate names, slogans and copy to live in a host of digital places; mistakes ensue. Qordoba’s software acts like a guard rail, says Habib, a side panel that can check copy for language, grammar and consistency with a company’s style guide. Customers like Marriott, the NBA, Postmates, Sephora and Visa all use Qordoba to make sure offers and brand messaging are consistent. Plus, the product is intended to simply save time.

While Qordoba’s software can help with navigating different languages, it’s not the translation tool Habib and cofounder Waseem Alshikh originally pitched. The bigger market opportunity appealed to Aspect, says firm cofounder Jennifer Fonstad, who led the new funding. “We spoke to some of our own portfolio companies, and everyone we spoke to had this problem,” she says. “The challenge was so prolific that we felt they’d hit on something.”

Though it didn’t specifically drive the deal, Aspect’s investment in Qordoba reflects one sign of hope that the VC ecosystem is becoming more open to founders who don’t fit the classic white male stereotype. Fonstad was reintroduced to Qordoba through Upfront partner Kara Nortman; both women are members of All Raise, the group of top female venture capitalists working to improve diversity among investors and entrepreneurs. With the funding, female-led Qordoba now has two female VC partners as key backers, and a board of directors that is more than half women.

Qordoba plans to hire aggressively with its new funding, adding product development, data science and sales staffers to a team that already has two Ph.D.s. Qordoba was named one of Forbes’ Cloud 100 Rising Stars in September.

Habib believes that as more businesses adopt agile or micro-service approaches to development, with small teams releasing their own features, a tool like Qordoba will only prove more important to maintain consistency over time. “You can reach users faster, but with more complexity,” she says. “Qordoba is how they can go to market with higher standards."


Shipwell Raises $10m in Series A Funding

[Read on FinSMEs]

Shipwell, an Austin, Texas-based online business freight shipping platform, raised $10m in Series A funding.

The round, which brought total funding to date to $12.1m, was led by Fifth Wall Ventures, with participation from Global Founders Capital and Aspect Ventures, and existing investors First Round Capital, Base10, and Village Global. In conjunction with the funding, Fifth Wall principal Vik Chawla will join Shipwell’s Board of Directors.

The company intends to use the funds to expand its marketing efforts, improve the product, and amplify the team.

Led by Gregory Price, CEO, Shipwell provides a platform that lets users transport freight across the country with instant quoting and booking, real-time shipment tracking.
Users can also centralize all their freight in one place across modes, carriers, documents, analytics and more.

Over 1,000 companies currently use Shipwell.

There’s no Google Maps for self-driving cars, so this startup is building it

[Read on MIT Technology Review]

In as little as 24 hours, Mapper will deliver a machine-readable map of any place on earth with public roads.

Self-driving cars navigate using both onboard sensors that spot obstacles and detailed, 3-D maps of streets, signs, and infrastructure. But building these maps, and keeping them up to date, is a huge undertaking., a San Francisco–based startup, wants to make the process simpler with a service that provides continuously updated maps on demand.

The service, which launches publicly next week, lets companies select any place in the world they want mapped, provided it has public roads. Mapper then hires local drivers to collect geographic data, converts the data into 3-D maps, and sells the maps—and subsequent updates—via a subscription service.

Mapper has been working with a small group of customers for the past year on maps for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving. The company currently has maps of places in Asia, Europe, and North America, and its eventual goal is to assemble the world’s largest repository of up-to-date, machine-readable maps of city streets and freeways. Though companies are testing autonomous vehicles in just a few cities right now, Mapper CEO and cofounder Nikhil Naikal thinks trials will expand to dozens of cities and span thousands of miles within the next year or two. “These machine maps haven’t been built on a large scale yet,” says Naikal, who has worked on autonomous-vehicle sensors and mapping for more than a decade. “We’re on a mission to create them all over the world, faster than anyone else—and because we own them, we can sell them to everyone.”

Mapper credits its broad reach and speed to its network of freelancers. Most of its drivers also drive for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft; they capture mapping data in the middle of the day, when few people request rides. (Mapper lures them by paying rates as high as $3 per mile, triple the $1 per mile the average Uber driver is believed to earn.)

The drivers use their own cars, and Mapper provides the mapping devices, which cost about $350 to build. Instead of designing pricey, proprietary hardware, the startup buys sensors off the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and adds its own software that fuses all the data together. One device model, which wraps around a car’s rear-view mirror, has four machine-vision cameras and sensors that measure linear and angular motion. Another sits on top of a car’s roof and consists of two machine-vision cameras, motion sensors, and a simple lidar. Drivers use that device to map dense city streets, because lidar is good at capturing the geometry of three-dimensional structures. The company claims its approach captures details that are accurate within five centimeters , which is on par with other technologies.

To map an area, drivers simply follow turn-by-turn audio directions that Mapper pipes through a mobile app synched to the mapping device. Once the drivers finish their assigned tasks, they upload the information to Mapper’s cloud storage facility, where it is converted automatically to what’s known as a point cloud, a 3-D representation of the world. A second team of freelancers looks at the data and adds notes about lane markings, traffic signs, and stoplights. Mapper delivers the finished maps to customers over Wi-Fi, typically 24 hours after it receives the driving data.



This distributed workforce and self-serve model enable Mapper to offer its customers updates as often as daily while guaranteeing that its maps will cover 100% of a given area. “Once we have a driver on the ground, we can do that routing as frequently as customers want,” says Neehar Garg, who leads Mapper’s product development. “Updates get easier and easier, because we only have to spend time on the things that have changed in an environment.”

A Mapper customer, who asked not to be named because he works for an automaker that is using the maps in a secret project, says he hired the startup over bigger names like HERE and TomTom. “If you’re programming a car to turn a corner, you need to know where you’re located within the map you’re using [for navigation], not where you are in the world in an absolute sense,” says the customer. “With this new type of map, you get that localization baked in, which is really important because GPS alone isn’t stable or predictable enough.”

Other startups in this industry, such as DeepMap, also make localized maps, but they ask their customers to gather the information for them. Because those companies don’t own their own mapping data, they tend to build individual maps of the same area for each customer. Naikal says that approach won’t scale once autonomous vehicles move from development to production and deployment. It makes no sense to create a map of, say, Market Street in San Francisco 20 times for 20 different customers when you can sell a single map to multiple customers and ensure it is always current, he says.

While self-driving cars haven’t yet delivered on their promise to revolutionize transportation, Naikal hopes his cartography collection can become the basis for innovation. He’s even thinking of providing maps to individual developers and engineers, similar to the way mobile-app developers use location information from Google Maps (although he hasn’t decided whether Mapper will charge for access). “Today it’s not possible for five developers to hang out in Starbucks and create an autonomous-vehicle solution,” says Naikal. “But it could be if we remove barriers and let people request and get [machine-readable] maps of any area.”

Slack acquires Astro to conquer email

[Read on TechCrunch]

Slack announced today that it has acquired Astro, the Bay Area startup behind email assistant, Astrobot. The deal, which marks Slack’s largest to date, will go a ways toward helping the popular enterprise chat platform achieve its vision of fully integrating workplace mainstays like email and calendars into its channels.

As Slack notes, the company hopefully predicted last year that channels would usurp other forms of business comms in the next seven or so years. Achieving that optimistic goal, however, will mean convincing business users to shift from mainstays like email.

“We’ve taken some steps to make it possible to integrate email into Slack,” the company writes, “but now we’re in a position to make that interoperability much simpler and much, much more powerful. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to help teams shift conversations to where they would be most productive — in a channel, alongside the relevant context and software tools teams use at work, from ServiceNow and Salesforce to Workday and Box.”

Astro was founded in 2015 by Zimbra cofounders, Andy Pflaum, Roland Schemers and Ross Dargahi. Last year, it introduced Astrobot (along with $8.3 million in funding), a Slack app that integrates email and calendars directly into the chat platform. Among other things, it lets users search both at once, without leaving Slack.

“And as we explored with Slack how to bring together messaging, email and calendar,” Astro wrote in a blog post announcing the move, “it became evident that we would have the biggest impact on workplace communications and realize our original vision by joining Slack.

The standalone Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, and Slack apps will be shut down on October, with signups for new users being disabled immediately. Existing users will still have access to changes made through the app, courtesy of syncing. Most of the company’s roughly 30 or so employees will be making the transition to Slack. 

Financial Times special report: Female investors hold the keys to change

[Read on Financial Times]

If there were more female investment professionals, would there be more innovation and economic growth? Lillian Li thinks so. Fed up with the boys’ club culture of her chosen profession, in 2016 she and a group of like-minded millennials working in venture capital co-founded London-based Diversity VC, a campaign group to push for change.

“We would go to VC networking events and see a very homogeneous group over and over again interacting in very similar ways. As the nature of venture capital is to invest in the future, we wanted to create an organisation that more closely reflects the society in which it invests,” says 29-year-old Ms Li, an investor at Eight Roads Ventures.

To establish the facts, Diversity VC analysed UK VC firms and found almost half employ no female investors and, overall, women make up just 13 per cent of decision makers.

The gender gap in UK investment teams is not exceptional, though gradually the top VC firms are admitting more women to their senior ranks. Across Europe, 9 per cent of partners in seed and early-stage VC funds are women, according to estimates by European

Women in Venture, a networking community. This figure is 8 per cent for the top 100 global venture firms, says business intelligence provider Crunchbase.

The image of investment houses as male bastions is bad for gender equality and the industry, which has been shamed by sexual misconduct allegations, typically concerning men in positions of power harassing female colleagues and entrepreneurs.

It may also be bad for the start-up economy. Women entrepreneurs, especially those targeting a female market, may feel disadvantaged when pitching to investment teams comprising solely or mostly men, and they may be right to do so. In one study, Boston Consulting Group found that start-ups founded or co-founded by women garner, on average, half as much funding as those started by men, yet dollar for dollar generate higher revenues than their male-founded counterparts.

Kathryn Minshew co-founded The Muse, a popular jobs and career website based in the US targeted at young professional women that quickly found a market among male millennials too.

She recalls how during the initial seed round male VCs would try to “turn meetings into dates” or make blatantly ill-informed remarks. “I was told by one investor that he didn’t think we’d be able to retain our users once they turned 30 and had babies.”

Colette Ballou, founder of Ballou PR, is an investor in VC funds and urges businesswomen who care about equality to buy into funds and push for change from the inside. Many VC firms grew fast without setting up robust HR functions, she says, and lack basics such as parental leave policies or channels of complaint for staff who experience sexual harassment.

To help venture firms minimise biases in their hiring processes, Diversity VC is developing a set of recommended practices, such as asking the same questions of every candidate.

Analysis by academics at Columbia University and Harvard Business School of pitches recorded at TechCrunch Disrupt New York, a funding competition, revealed that both male and female investors asked men how they would expand their businesses and women how they would prevent losses, reinforcing stereotypes of men as go-getting and women as risk- averse.

Entrenched expectations can be hard to change. But a trend for senior women to leave established venture firms to found new firms may offer an answer.

According to Crunchbase, 21 per cent of venture firms set up in the past three years have at least one female founder, almost three times the rate in the top VC firms. It also found that female-founded and co-founded firms employ a higher proportion of female investors overall, and invest at a greater rate in female entrepreneurs.

Jenny Ruth Hrafnsdottir, one of three female founders of Crowberry Capital, a Reykjavik- based venture firm operating in the Nordic region, is unsurprised. “There are some [investment opportunities] where gender doesn’t really matter, but where there are products made for women, it’s logical that we’ll invest a little differently and see opportunities that men might miss,” she says.

Theresia Gouw, co-founder, Aspect Ventures

Theresia Gouw left Silicon Valley venture capital group Accel Partners in 2014 to found Aspect Ventures with Jennifer Fonstad. In 2015, Aspect led a $10m investment into The Muse, below, a female-founded jobs and career website targeting millennials.

Is Aspect female-led by design?
It wasn’t on purpose. We saw an opportunity to be laser-focused on [early-stage] investments as a bridge between seed funds, angel investors and larger firms. Our investing team is half male and female and our portfolio is 40 per cent female-founded.

What led you to The Muse?
An angel investor, who happens to be female.

Do you look for female founders?
We look for the best founding teams. It’s not gender specific, but we’re drawn to founders whom we call domain experts and The Muse’s genesis was that Kathryn Minshew and Alexandra Cavoulacos were looking to solve a problem for their peer group.

Kathryn Minshew, co-founder, The Muse

Were you looking for a female backer?
I wanted the person who could best help us navigate the challenges of scaling. I knew that at Accel, Theresia (Gouw), above, had invested in companies that I looked up to, such as Trulia and LearnVest, and I talked to their CEOs about working with her.

What was different?
We used to encounter a lot of gross generalisations such as “outside New York and Los Angeles, women don’t really care about their careers”. Theresia understood that there were many career-minded women who were feeling not understood by other outlets, and that allowed her to very quickly see the opportunity.

What was the first meeting like?
It was a videocall with Lauren Kolodny, one of Theresia’s colleagues. Sometimes it seems like investors live in a land where everyone is “crushing it” all the time. I felt able to talk about the good things and also the challenges and that continued when I met Theresia.

[continue reading on Financial Times]

TechCrunch Equity: Lauren Kolodny on SurveyMonkey's IPO, Toyota's investment in Uber, and the latest on the electric vehicle market

[Listen on TechCrunch]

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week, we were a man down, with the excellent Alex Wilhelm of Crunchbase News on a vacation that someone seems to have sanctioned, though it was not us, as we don’t believe in vacations. (Wilhelm, get back here.) We did, happily, have the very knowledgeable Kirsten Korosec of TechCrunch join us on the line; we were also joined by this week’s personable in-studio guest: Lauren Kolodny, a partner at the San Francisco-based, early-stage venture firm Aspect Ventures.

It was the perfect mix to talk about car makers and more car makers, including Tesla  and CEO Elon Musk’s seemingly ill-planned plans to take the publicly traded company private, then vacillating a bit before changing his mind again, much to the chagrin of his board, the company’s shareholders, and poor Kirsten, who was trying to enjoy her evening last Friday when Musk decided (for now) to leave well enough alone and drop the whole cockamamie idea of switching out Tesla’s investor base.

We also talked about Toyota’s announcement this week that it’s sinking $500 million into Uber and forming an intriguing if confusing driverless-car pact in the process. And we lingered on Nio, a four-year-old, Shanghai-based electric car vehicle that, if it has its way, will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange in roughly two weeks — even though it only made $7 million in the first half of this year and reported a net loss of $503 million. Who’s counting, though? Not U.S. investors, it hopes.

Speaking of IPOs, we knew we’d be remiss not to talk about the IPO filing this week of SurveyMonkey, a now 19-year-old, San Mateo, Calif., company that’s beloved by both personal and business users of its analytical tools and surveys, but which is stillnot making money, owing in part to expensive debt that the company is currently servicing (and will pay down using its IPO proceeds). Will public shareholders embrace the company, which was valued at $2 billion during its last private round in 2014 but whose value has subsequently been marked down by fully 25 percent since by fund manager Fidelity? Stay tuned!

We did not get to our favorite topic of scooters, running out of time to chat about this major development and also this one. Knowing how much we love to toot about les scoots, rest assured that they will back next week, as will we, so tune in again then!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

Melinda Gates: Why I’m betting on diversity

In this article in Fast Company, Melinda Gates discusses diversity in investing and her investment in Aspect Ventures.

(Read on Fast Company)

To change the world, it helps to get capital into the hands of people who have a different vision for it. A few years ago, I began quietly investing in “nontraditional” venture capital funds—”nontraditional,” of course, being industry parlance for a fund that isn’t completely overindexed on companies led by white men. With these investments I joined a growing community of funders who believe that worthwhile investment ideas are more evenly distributed among the population than the current flow of venture capital dollars would suggest.

My journey to Sand Hill Road began, of all places, on a beach in Tanzania. It was 1993, and Bill and I were in East Africa to celebrate our engagement. That trip was our first encounter with the daily realities of extreme poverty and disease, and we were deeply affected by what we saw. Before we went home, we took a long walk and discussed giving most of the wealth that had been created by Microsoft back to society. After a few years of learning, listening, and consulting with experts, we decided to start a foundation dedicated to ending inequality.

As my three kids got older, I took on a more public role at our foundation and spent time in developing countries talking to women and girls about their lives, their goals, and the barriers standing in their way. I met so many strong, hardworking women who wanted nothing more than the chance to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to their communities—a chance they would never have simply because they were born female.

On my way home from these trips, I thought a lot about the fact that there is no country on earth where women have achieved true equality. The truth is that we’re wasting a lot of human potential here in the United States, too. Women are still underrepresented in government, in media, and at the highest levels of almost every industry. I decided that—without taking time or resources away from the priorities of our foundation—I needed to do more to advance equity in my own country. That decision led me to start Pivotal Ventures.

Pivotal Ventures works to help dismantle barriers to equality for women and people of color in the United States. In many ways, it feels like a natural continuation of the work I’ve been doing at our foundation. But it also offers me new opportunities to engage in the fight against inequality. For example, part of our approach involves studying the gender gaps in industries that have an outsize influence on society—industries like tech—and looking for ways to invest for catalytic impact. That, of course, is exactly what led us to our investments in venture capital.

The decisions venture capitalists make today determine who will be the tech leaders of tomorrow and who will be left behind. Yet the data suggests investors have a narrow idea of what kind of innovations—and what kind of innovators—deserve funding. In 2017, women founders received only 2% of VC dollars, and the numbers are even worse for women of color. Since 2009, only .0006% of venture funding has gone to black female founders.

As I see it, this investment gap has more to do with who’s doing the funding than who’s doing the founding. Only about 8% of partners at the top 100 venture capital firms are women, and more than half of those firms don’t have even a single female partner. The result is a boys’ club that doesn’t give women and people of color a fair shot.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that investors tend to describe young male entrepreneurs as “promising” but young female entrepreneurs as “inexperienced.” A prominent VC put an even finer point on it in his infamous statement that he prefers to back entrepreneurs who also happen to be “white male nerds who’ve dropped out of Stanford or Harvard.” It’s ironic that the very people who glorify disruptive innovation keep expecting it to appear from the exact same place.

Investors have poured billions of dollars into dating, photo-sharing, and food-delivery apps, but have made relatively few incursions into categories like women’s health and childcare. I would like to hear more from the entrepreneurs and investors who understand these unmet needs because they’ve encountered them in their own lives. And I’m betting that consumers would too.

That’s why I stepped up as a limited partner and began investing in firms like Aspect Ventures and Female Founders Fund—funds that prioritize companies led by women and people of color. Unlike the grants that Bill and I write through our foundation, this set of investments I’m making through Pivotal Ventures is not philanthropic. I expect strong returns. In fact, that’s the point.

By putting my money where my mouth is, I’m hoping to highlight the market opportunity that exists in these funds and elevate the profile of the investors leading them. Aspect Ventures’ cofounder Theresia Gouw is a six-time Midas List investor who has a different definition of “promising” from the rest of the industry. She has made her career finding and funding new ideas from new places. About 40% of her firm’s portfolio companies were founded by women, and 30% were started by minorities. They include companies like Ellevest, The Muse, and UrbanSitter (which is proving that there is indeed a market for new platforms that connect parents to childcare).

In addition to investing in her firm, we’re supporting research to identify the best strategies to encourage more Theresia Gouws to enter the field—and we’re working with professional organizations like All Raise that can help VC firms bring these best practices to scale.

Can these new funds ever compete with the more established ones? Absolutely. (In the past year, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have dramatically increased the social pressure on venture capital firms to diversify.)

Inevitably, venture capital will stop categorizing funds that make a point of investing in women and people of color as nontraditional and start seeing them as common sense. That’s going to happen with or without Pivotal Ventures—and with or without me. But I will be doing everything I can to help accelerate it.

Exabeam Raises $50 Million in Series D Funding to Disrupt SIEM Market

(Read on Exabeam)

Exabeam, the next-gen security information and event management company, today announced that it has closed $50 million in Series D funding. The round, backed entirely by existing investors, was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and supported by Aspect Ventures, Cisco Investments, Icon Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and cybersecurity investor Shlomo Kramer. The funds will be used to grow the company’s cloud portfolio, as well as sales and channels to expedite global expansion.

The complexities in securing modern digital businesses, along with the increase in sophistication of malicious threats and cybercrime, are fueling growth in the security information and event management (SIEM) market, which is expected to hit $4.54 billion in 2019.* Historically dominated by a handful of providers, in recent years, the market has shifted to platforms that can support the massive data volumes generated by cloud applications and mobile device use.

Exabeam is carving out a growing piece of the market, with 250 percent market growth in 2017, coming off 300 percent growth in 2016. The company is on track to more than double its market size in 2018. Fueling this success is the growing industry recognition for Exabeam’s Security Intelligence Platform (SIP); it was named the 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for its SIEM software, and recently won an SC Awards Europe 2018 for Best SIEM.

Customers are choosing Exabeam for its superior threat identification and response capabilities compared to legacy SIEMs. Equally appealing is its flat, predictable pricing model, which allows organizations to store all of their logs, unlike the archaic “by-the-byte” pricing model that forces budget-conscious customers to limit the amount of data covered by the SIEM—creating blind spots that sacrifice the security of the entire organization.

Exabeam’s SIP delivers where legacy vendors have failed. Built on open source, big data technology, including Elasticsearch and Hadoop, it provides unlimited secure data collection, indexing and search but without volume-based pricing. Advanced machine learning capabilities provide rapid insights into all events, including attacks and vulnerabilities so subtle and precise that humans simply cannot see them. The comprehensive platform contains many other customizable features spanning incident response and threat hunting, giving companies the freedom to scale and select only the security management solutions that fit their business needs.

“As a longtime investor in the cybersecurity space, I’ve always been excited about Exabeam’s approach and potential to deliver the next generation of security tech,” said Theresia Gouw, co-founder of Aspect Ventures, and a leading investor in cybersecurity. “It’s clear from the large increase in replacement wins with customers like ADP, Hulu, Safeway, Union Bank that Exabeam is consistently delivering industry-leading technology to the most demanding enterprises and government organizations in the world.”

“Our investors have an amazing track record of investing in companies that truly are disruptive and typically become category leaders,” said Exabeam CEO Nir Polak. “Their experience with high-growth companies like MuleSoft, Nutanix, Zscaler, ForeScout – is invaluable to us in the advice and guidance they pass along to our executive team. The new funding will allow us to invest heavily in our new cloud solutions and reach even more enterprises around the world. We are on track to overtake Splunk and be the next SIEM market leader.”

For more information on Exabeam’s SIEM platform, please visit

About Exabeam

Exabeam provides security intelligence and management solutions to help organizations of any size protect their most valuable information. The Exabeam Security Intelligence Platform uniquely combines unlimited data collection at a predictable price, machine learning for advanced analytics, and automated incident response into an integrated set of products. The result is the first modern security intelligence solution that delivers where legacy SIEM vendors have failed. Built by seasoned security and enterprise IT veterans from Imperva, ArcSight, and Sumo Logic, Exabeam is headquartered in San Mateo, California. Exabeam is privately funded by Norwest Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures, Icon Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Cisco Investments, and investor Shlomo Kramer. Follow Exabeam on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.