About Astia

Monday, April 6, 2009

Take chances. When rowing forward, the boat may rock. (Chinese Proverb)

I am sure that readers will laugh when I say that publishing this blog feels a bit bold and daring. Those of you who have been doing this since 1999, I commend your courage. I, for one, have been reading the internet since 1995 and I look forward to finishing it soon.

Back to the point I intended when I chose the subject for today's Astia notes.

Astia's growth this past year has taken on a life of its own. This growth, while exciting, feels a bit like a rocking boat at times. The key to success for us has been to learn to lean at the right times and in the right direction to both capture the wind and keep the boat from capsizing - all at the same time. Here is just a quick wind-in-our-sails, rocking-of-our-boat list:

Astia Silicon Valley - still our flagship product, the Doing it Right Program and it Conference in November once again delivered real results for the clients we serve. As of this posting 29% of the 28 companies had already secured funding - and there are more well on their way. This puts that program on par with prior years. Astia clients continue to outpace the broader market where fundraising success hovers below 1%.

Astia NYC - in its second year, the Astia New York community has blossomed! This year's Doing it Right program is a part of the first annual NYC Entrepreneur Week and already 18 companies have been accepted. Want to find out if you have what it takes?

Last year's class had a greater than
40% success rate - proving that the Astia model for success can extend well beyond Silicon Valley.

In addition, the model continues to attract great interest with Astia Vice President, Jennifer Hill, featured a number of times on MSNBC and strategic partnerships emerging such as with 85 Broads. If you are thinking that you would like to be a part of this growing community, you can reach out directly to Jennifer
(jhill@astia.org) or Raquel Episcopio (raquel@astia.org) in the New York Office (yes we have an office, thanks to the generosity of David S. Rose, Chairman of NY Angels). You can find team Astia at 30 E. 23rd Street, 6th Floor, NY, NY 10010.

Astia UK/EU - has managed to capture the interest of the media with features in the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph as well as the bloggesphere with mentions in http://thenextwomen.com/, TechCrunch, Helen Keegan, and don't even get me started on all of the Tweets! In its first year, the programme features prominent investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders all brought together by a local community of Advisors.

Astia continues to grow through collaboration, and in the UK, Astia will partner with thenextwomen.com for Female Friday at the Next Web Conference, April 17th.

Astia UK incorporation is also under way thanks to the legal support and leadership of Advisory Board members from Reed Smith. Astia UK is hoping to qualify for charitable status in the coming months, demonstrating our commitment to the community and the market.

Astia India - has a planning committee that has blossomed to 20 members. The first Astia India event is now being planned for early May - in spite of the fact that my travel budget is nil for the India market. This means that committee members Sajai Singh, J. Sagar Associates, Anurakt Jain, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, India, Anu Bhardwaj, and Nita Goyal will take the leadership to ensure a successful gathering. Watch the community grow!

And all of this GREAT STUFF is happening at Astia because of some trends in the broader market place (IMHO):

For the past 20-50 years women have been pursuing opportunities so that today they represent:
51% of businesses
35-40% of applicants to business schools
43% of environmental engineering degrees
40% of bioengineering degrees
12% of mechanical engineering and computer engineering degrees

What this tells me is that women are poised and ready to participate. Already they are strong entrepreneurs. Our work is to expose them to the business opportunities presented by raising outside capital to grow their businesses. Women still today under-utilize equity investment as a means of growing their businesses. However, that does not mean that they are somehow not able or not allowed to - it just means that they need exposure to it.

And that, my friends, is what we are all about. Men and women - working together to grow the next generation of innovative companies.

I will be back next month with more thoughts - or maybe next month I will have a guest. Either way, I hope you will return and provide your comments and thoughts about what we have to say. I very much look forward to the dialogue!

The Center for Venture Research found that women receive angel investment on par with men. OF COURSE THEY DO!

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