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Newsletter 5.17.19


This week, women made news not only in supporting billion dollar ventures, but also in providing knowledgeable commentary from Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, and Jacinda Ardern. We’re featuring Whitney Wolfe Herd’s work diary alongside a new community platform for women in tech called Elpha. As the school year ended for me this week, I’ve been talking to students and professionals in the industry on full-time careers, particularly on how to navigate the start-up career path. Detailed some advice I’ve received below. 

With support,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
Facebook Is Producing A New Generation Of Alumni Investors. This Time, Women Are In Charge
The new wave includes new fund leaders like Rosenthal at Leadout Capital and the women of F7 Ventures, which launched late last year. Many don’t look like the stereotypical venture capital investor, an industry still dominated by white males. And because they are pledging to back women-led startups and businesses whose founders come from underrepresented groups, their portfolios shouldn’t either.” Forbes, May 16, 2019
Online Luggage Retailer Away Lands $1.4 Billion Valuation as It Plots Expansion
Co-founders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, both previously with Warby Parker, said they are considering adding businesses like skin care, supplements and comfortable yet fashionable clothes for wearing on a plane. “Everything is related to making a travel experience better,” said Ms. Rubio, the company’s chief brand officer. “These are things that our customers have told us they wanted.” WSJ, May 14, 2019
Meet Austin Geidt, the intern turned Uber exec who rang the IPO bell
"To all you interns, keep ya heads up," Austin Geidt tweeted on her five-year anniversary of working at Uber in 2015. It's advice that's paid off for Geidt. She joined Uber as an intern in 2010 — and on Friday, she got to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange ahead of the company's public debut.
 Business Insider, May 10, 2019
Daye, a startup developing a ‘cramp-fighting’ tampon, raises $5.5M from Khosla, Index and Kindred
Founded by 24-year-old Valentina Milanova and launching later this year, Daye has set out to build a new brand for female health products “designed with women in mind.” The startup’s first product is a newly developed tampon that uses CBD to help tackle period cramps (or dysmenorrhea) as an alternative to traditional painkillers. TechCrunch, May 10, 2019
Rihanna and LVMH Confirm Fashion Label
Fenty is the first fashion brand launched from scratch by LVMH since Christian Lacroix was founded in 1987. Rihanna is the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH and the first woman of colour at the top of an LVMH maison. Business of Fashion, May 10, 2019

Publication features on women and their careers. 
Interview with Whitney Wolfe Herd on Fighting Misogyny, One Bumble Brand at a Time

"I arrive at the Texas Capitol building to testify in support of Bill 2789, which would criminalize sending unsolicited lewd photos in the same way that indecent exposure in public is a crime. For over a year, I’ve been working behind the scenes on this bill. I am shocked at how nervous I am to testify — more so than any other public speaking I’ve done. This means a lot to me, and I know how much this can change how we treat one another online."

Looking at Herd's schedule may seem exhausting, but she plans her days to make the most out of her mission for the company as well as the community she is trying to build around dating. From testifying before the Texas Legislature too planning a new headquarters, her week is filled with internal and external projects for Bumble; however, she still manages to make time for her family, friends, and personal life. NYTimes, May 9, 2019
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

LHI Advice From The Editor

Figuring out what to do for a full-time job is a super challenging thing to think about. As an incoming senior, I’m starting to pin-point the main opportunities that would best suit my values and ambitions. I’ve been talking to some friends and professionals about the prospects of joining a start-up and how to judge whether or not a company is the right one to join. Here are a few things I’ve gathered: 

- Choose the people, not the company: Probably one of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve received is to research the company very well to understand the culture and the people working there. If you don’t align with the values that most people hold, you’ll most likely find it hard to make agreements or enjoy the work you’re doing with others. 

- Profitability: A recruiter once told me that it’s incredibly rare for a start-up to achieve profitability before their series A funding round – which is true. For a company to achieve profitability before raising at seed stage is highly impressive. However, when joining a start-up, it’s not necessary to weigh your decision on profitability, but it can be a clear indicator of potential for company growth and quality of resources. 

- Opportunity for growth: You’ve probably heard people reasoning to join a start-up to contribute to a “mission-driven” company. Because the company is at a small stage, you may have several opportunities to do several different tasks outside of your main focus, simply as a by-product of the small number of employees. If this means you’d be able to have more contact with the founders, go out of your comfort zone in trying something new, and be able to spearhead new initiatives for the company, the opportunity for growth can be pretty high.

- Existing Space: I often judge how well I’d do at a job by looking at the market it is situated in. When looking at start-ups, I like to look at the bigger picture of how they can impact their target market. If the market seems too saturated or there exists challengers that are closely aligned with what the company is doing, it might be more worthwhile to support the dominant players in the space to not only understand best practices, but ensure you’re on the side of growth and opportunity. 

There are many pros/cons for joining a start-up and I definitely think there are many more arguments than listed above. Figured this could contribute to the broader conversation in evaluating full-time opportunities. 

The toughest moment was when Ms. Goucher learned that Nike would stop paying her until she started racing again. But she was already pregnant. So, she scheduled a half-marathon three months after she had her son, Colt. Then her son got dangerously ill. Ms. Goucher had to choose again: be with her son or prepare for the race that she hoped would restart her pay.

Alysia Montaño, "Nike Told Me to Dream Crazy, Until I Wanted a Baby" –– NYTimes

I sought the advice of my female colleagues in the Senate. And it was Maggie Hassan, the senator from New Hampshire, who offered me some sage wisdom. “Our kids love us for who we are and the sacrifices we make,” she said. “They get it.” I believe you don’t have to be a U.S. Senator or a candidate for President of the United States for that to ring true. Time is precious, and so many of us understand the struggle to seek balance.

Kamala Harris, "Sen. Kamala Harris on Being 'Momala'" –– Elle

A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch could happen again unless we change. New Zealand could reform its gun laws, and we did. We can tackle racism and discrimination, which we must. We can review our security and intelligence settings, and we are. But we can’t fix the proliferation of violent content online by ourselves. We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else.

Jacinda Ardern, "How to Stop the Next Christchurch Massacre" –– NYTimes

Only a fraction of Americans can take extended paid time off to care for their newborns, and 23% of women must return to work within two weeks of giving birth. Over generations, we’ve accepted a working culture that lets women fall out of the workforce and lets families fall into poverty.  In the past, Congress has been unable to pass family leave legislation. This time there is one factor that could make it easier.

Tammy Duckworth, "More women in Congress could be a good thing for family leave legislation" –– LATimes

Because we’ve been waiting for a female-centric Quora.
Photo: Elpha.
Elpha: YC-backed online discussion platform for women in tech

“I’ve found that some conversations online escalate to shouting matches quickly and many people opt out, especially women. I wondered what would happen if I created a community where the core culture was set by women, and the software and product decisions were also made by women. I couldn’t think of a social network defined that way, but I wanted to be part of one.” – Cadran Cowansage, Co-Founder of Elpha

Elpha is a super cool community for women in tech to talk about anything from offers to industry trends to asking for startup advice. It has 1,500+ members who are founders, designers, marketers, software engineers. 

I wrote my first post on LHI this past week and was super happy to get some feedback from the community. You can view my post here

Consider joining in on the conversations here.

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