About Astia

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Astia CEO Reflects on 2017

More Than Numbers
Astia CEO Reflects on 2017
to Chart Beyond 2018

2017 really put a spotlight on women's rights... from the historical manifesto authored by a Google employee decrying diversity in the workplace to the unforgettable #MeToo movement and underlying accounts of discrimination, harassment and abuse.

The question for 2018: what will we do next? Will this create a backlash that sends us spiraling into the abyss or shine a light on a new path forward? I have more conviction than ever before of Astia's mission: ensuring that women get the same opportunities as men, starting and running successful businesses. The best part: we have an ecosystem of investors, partners/sponsors, advisors, and volunteers who have the same conviction. We are also celebrating many successes across every part of Astia. Here are some highlights from our year:

Our Entrepreneurs
In 2017, we welcomed 17 startups who raised $4.2M from Astia Angels, representing $57M in syndication! To date, this brings our portfolio to 51 companies, who have received more than $17.5M of capital from Astia Angels, and $185M in funding total! 100% of our startups have a female executive or were founded by a female. We've teamed up with people who came to us because of our relationship-driven approach. These leaders understand that it's not just about having a good pitch—it's about creating opportunities to connect and build something meaningful together.

Our Portfolio—the Thesis at Work!
We don't take a cookie-cutter approach to the companies we fund. If you look at the three companies who had successful exits with Astia this year, you'll see geographical diversity—one from Pittsburg, one from Silicon Valley, and one from London. You will note they were from very different sectors (medical devices, cloud service, fintech) and that they ranged in stages of growth (from early-stage to pre-IPO). Read more about each of these exits here! [more specifically, Boku IPO on the AIM Exchange, Cloudamize's merger with Blackstone-owned Cloudreach, and Ciel Medical being acquired by Vyaire Medical]

Our Investors—Putting their Money where their Mouth is!
Our community of 55 seasoned investors is comprised of men and women, individual contributors, couples, and family offices, with expertise in a wide spectrum of sectors. These Angels understand the need for diversity in their portfolio and chose Astia to demonstrate their values in dollars and deeds. In return, Astia proved our model and delivered huge returns on their investments. We will continue to leverage these relationships to drive systemic, positive change in the investment community.

Our Community—Making a Difference!
Our community boasts over 2000 Astia Advisors who actively review on average 120 applications a quarter. The three exits we celebrated in 2017 continue to validate the Astia Expert Sift™ model and the Astia investment thesis of investing in teams that include women. In 2018, we will create more meaningful touchpoints with the community to ensure each member realizes the value of their contribution, whether giving Astia access to their network, providing expertise during the early assessment stage, or offering counsel to entrepreneurs during the growth of their business.

We would not be able to do the work we do without our sponsors, some who have stood by us for over ten years: from global brands like Dentons, Silicon Valley Bank, and Salesforce.org to best in class entities such as Moss Adams, Lowenstein, and Prolog Ventures; and of course, our founding sponsor, Three Guineas Fund. Partners like Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Google for Entrepreneurs, who are themselves leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation, extend our reach and validate our mission.

Our Team—Eleven Strong and Mission-driven!
As we grow, we have not diluted or lost sight of who we are. We take a very personal, relationship-based approach to our mission. It is the lens by which we operate and how we attract those who want to change the world. This year, we added one part-time staff member, four Executives in Residence, one intern, and two volunteers—senior level individuals who still want to grow professionally and play a meaningful role in empowering women around the world.

Our voices—Leading the Change We Seek!
Our thought leadership platform, Astia Think, is one of the most challenging aspects of our work because we face two reactions: that there is no problem to solve or that it's too overwhelming to solve. Our objective for 2018 is to create increased dialog around our call to action: invest today. As we head into the new year, we must learn from the watershed moments of 2017 and capitalize on our investment momentum to establish a dominant voice and position in the investment community.

I leave you with our final message. invest today. The call to action is clear and the time to engage and act is now. No more sitting on the sideline. Still today, less than 5% of venture capital is invested in women-led companies: this must change. These words are not just intended for Astia Angels, who demonstrate their commitment by investing in Astia-screened companies. We invite all VCs to review the Astia pipeline that includes companies from all sectors, stages, and geographies. To facilitate this access, we hold monthly Venture Showcases for the venture community. If you are a VC, we welcome you to join us! You can register for the Venture Showcases by contacting our Managing Director here. And if you are an angel investor looking for a group to invest with, we welcome a conversation.

As I have said time and again since coming to Astia in 2004...Astia is a community. Astia is You! Thank you for another year of support, engagement, and enthusiasm for the women we serve and the companies they lead.

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