The global girl gang: Girl Geek Academy helping Aussie women to raise VC internationally with Silicon Valley experts
Girl Geek Academy to bring international investors Shruti Shah and Sydney Thomas to Australia to mentor women and underrepresented minorities
Current Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank, Shruti Shah, and Precursor Ventures’ Head of Operations Sydney Thomas, have touched down in Australia for a multi-city tour to teach skills in leadership, scaling and growth to Australia’s emerging women leaders in tech.
Ms Shah and Ms Thomas will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as ‘Experts-In-Residence’ with Girl Geek Academy. CEO & Co-Founder of Girl Geek Academy Sarah Moran is calling for women startup founders looking to raise capital internationally to get in touch for one-on-one support from the experts. Public meeting dates have been set as: Melbourne – Feb 5, Sydney – Feb 10, Brisbane – Feb 13.
“The amount of VC funding going to women and underrepresented minorities on a global scale is devastatingly low. The aim of this program is to ultimately increase the capability of our women-led startups, starting with building their confidence and skills in accessing international capital,” said Ms Moran.
“The opportunity Australia has to build an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem is huge. Because it is in the beginning stages of building, there is an enormous opportunity to build things right the first time so it doesn’t have to confront the same problems that currently exist in Silicon Valley” said Ms Thomas, Senior Head of Operations at Precursor Ventures.
“I see a real opportunity in emerging tech ecosystems like Australia to support women founders and entrepreneurs of colour to rethink how they finance their businesses and the ownership of their companies,“ said Ms Shah, who is currently looking at startup finance innovation in her role as Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank.
Recent figures show that from 2009 to 2017, black women raised 0.0006% of the total $424.7 billion of venture capital raised in the US. Morgan Stanley found that investors see fewer pitches from women and minority entrepreneurs and, when they do, they hold those entrepreneurs to higher standards. As both women of colour and coming from opposite sides of the table, one as the COO and co-founder of a startup and one as the VC, both Shruti and Sydney are passionate about highlighting the issues of raising capital as black women and how this must and can be radically improved.
This is not just a major issue of diversity and equality, but also one of economic advancement. Startups with at least one female founder generate more revenue per dollar raised than male led startups, and on average are generating over $100K more a year in annual revenue. What’s more, in the US, minority owned businesses have grown 10x faster than non-minority owned businesses since 2007.
“We’ve timed our public program so the final one in Brisbane occurs on Galentine’s Day, an unofficial holiday of ladies celebrating ladies. This series of conversations is about connecting women with experts in the field, and also with each other,” Ms Moran said.
Shruti Shah will draw on her experience as Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank and as co-founder and COO of Y Combinator backed Move Loot, an online full-service marketplace for buying and selling used furniture, where she led international expansion and raised $22million.
Sydney Thomas has established a career across multiple industries, with experiences working on legislation for the City of New York, expanding a billion-dollar brand at Kimberly Clark and now as the Head of Operations at Precursor Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in companies with courageous visions.
About Girl Geek Academy’s Expert-In-Residence
Shah and Thomas will be hosted as Expert-In-Residence by Girl Geek Academy, building on the success of previous Girl Geek Academy Expert-in-Residence, Holly Liu. This program encourages working hands-on with founders and at a grassroots level and allows women entrepreneurs to gain access to the valuable skills and expertise from offshore successes.
About Girl Geek Academy:
Girl Geek Academy was founded by five skilled women digital professionals who want to increase the number of women with successful STEM careers. The team work to see an increase of women in tech, games, making, design and women founders. Initiatives include hackathons, game jams and workshops in 3D printing and wearables, game development, design, entrepreneurship and startups.
Girl Geek Academy also works with teachers, schools, corporates and startups to increase the number of women with professional technical and entrepreneurial skills.