Bridging the Opportunity Divide

This Valley Girl is Investing in Female Entrepreneurs

September 15, 2014
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This Valley Girl is Investing in Female Entrepreneurs
"The Valley Girl" show fashions itself as a evening TV talkshow with tech founders. The Valley Girl Show
Jesse Draper is putting her money into female-run businesses — and changing the tech world in the process.

When most of us hear the term “valley girl,” we probably think about a ditzy girl with a pronounced accent. But that’s certainly not the case when it comes to Jesse Draper.

The daughter of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, Jesse Draper is the host of “The Valley Girl Show,” a show that highlights Silicon Valley giants — and most importantly, unknown female tech execs. Originating six years ago as a web series in Draper’s parents’ garage, the show progressed to being shown in taxis and restaurants and soon, will have a regular spot on the Fox cable channel. The show is categorized by Draper’s antics, and she often refers to herself as the “Ellen DeGeneres of Tech.”

After the first season, Draper realized that out of the 28 executives and founders she featured on her show, only three of them were women. So, Draper set out on a mission to change that. She soon found out that there isn’t necessarily a gap in a discrepancy in the ratio of female to male execs, but rather that women are less likely to take the spotlight. Many women still feel insecure and unconfident when it comes to their positions or desires to enter the tech field.

To help with this problem, Draper founded Valley Girl Ventures, which is an investment fund for female entrepreneurs. Draper saw that investment funds, as well as other successful women, are hesitant to take a risk on female-run businesses, so she took it upon herself.

So far, 10 start-ups have received help from Draper’s fund, including an athletic clothing company called Carbon38, a wearable tech company called Melon and the consignment furniture e-commerce company MoveLoot.

In addition to investing in women, Draper also hosts networking events across the country for them.

“I will always give any woman 30 minutes of my time,” Draper tells Fast Company. “There are female investors out there who are tired of seeing female-focused tech companies. But I’m like, ‘Bring it on.'”

With the success of Draper and other female execs, it seems to be a worthy investment.

MORE: Tips for Women to Succeed in Tech Careers

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