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My name is Emmanuelle Flahault-Franc, I amDirector of communications for Iris Capital, a European VC, co-author of the book “Into the French Tech” and have been working in tech for over 12 years now.
I would like to talk with you about the lack of female VC and the fact that many women need to actually consider that job as probably a second-time career job or maybe a new job for the younger generation.
What’s a VC or an investor? VC is an acronym for venture capitalist, somebody who will invest money in your company and your startup and who will follow you across your path. This is very different from a banker. We are not loaning you money, investors decide to come with you on the project, they invest money, they invest time, they invest energy with you.
And being a VC has two sides of the job,
1: You are ready to invest everything you’ve got and 2 : you actually hate to take risks because entrepreneurs take risks. Being a VC is making sure you can bet on people and you can bet on projects and not just decide who will get you all the money back but also making sure you are ready to make big decisions.
Try and test, if it does work its magic if it does not work it’s not a big drama.
Why you should be a VC especially if you’re a woman? Because it’s not a job about money, or figures, it’s not about calculating all the time how much money you’re going to make.This is not being a trader. Being a VC, is about being passionate of and about entrepreneurs, wanting to work with them, and the best for them, wanting to make sure that they ask for the right money, and you provide the right money, and helping them on making sure the project is shaped the right way.
(…)The first thing you do as a VC is meeting and chasing, so there is a lot of hunting, for the best companies, the best entrepreneurs. Every VC will tell you that they invest in people more than in techs.
And who’s the best person to encourage more diversity? A woman, because we care about lots of different people.
(…) When I joined Iris Capital there were very little women and I expressed my doubts. They told me : ”We used to be the only fund in Paris, with two female investors. Unfortunately they left and have amazing careers now. Can you really force them to stay with you? No you can’t.”
I decided to join the fund to make sure that my voice as a woman and as a feminist was heard. Being a feminist is not a woman topic it’s an everyone topic.
If you go to pitch to a VC, do not fear to say that you would like to see more females, more diversity. It will encourage them to hire more women, juniors, seniors.
If you think that being a VC is only for people who love finance, who love spreadsheets, data, then you might be wrong. Of course it’s part of the job, of course you have to be able to read, write, correct a budget, a P&L with an entrepreneur but most of your job is understanding their field and what they do. You can be a VC coming from finance obviously but also from marketing, having been an entrepreneur previously, or a manager.
Being a VC is making sure you can support entrepreneurs If they are in trouble, if they cannot reach a corporate, if they feel insecure, if they need a boost on how to make the biggest sales. You have to make sure you are passionate as much as they are and you are able to go with them across the journey. That’s not a finance job, that’s a human being job
I’ve decided to join 50intech because I think that lots of things are badly perceived and badly understood and i would like to help you navigate that.