Since the first International Women's Day in 1911, March 8th marks an opportunity for the world to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and recognize what still needs to be done. In honor of the day, we’re highlighting 7 underlying Greenspring Associates investments made by women in innovative companies run by women.

1[1]

Trae Vassallo on Elevate Security
Elevate Security was founded in 2017 by Masha Sedova and Robert Fly, with $10 million raised to-date. Elevate Security helps companies monitor and assess employee security risk, and uses behavioral science to nudge employees to better security habits.
 
Defy was introduced to Elevate Security by our friends at Costanoa, and we led the Series A in 2019. By design, we are proud that Elevate Security is one of the only companies in the Valley with an all-female outside board, with Martina Lauchengo from Costanoa and me serving as directors.
 
Elevate Security cares deeply about creating positivity around security, creating strong security cultures and removing the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) from the security conversation and mindset. They also believe in living their mission within their company, focusing on culture as a strategic asset, an endeavor that is both consistent with their product and has become a key reason that employees are seeking them out as a place to work. Elevate Security measures employee psychological safety ratings, starts every company meeting with their mission, and has built a balanced workplace with women representing 39% of employees. We've both been very engaged since partnering.
 
"Trae and Defy have been such amazing advocates, advisors, mentors and friends to Elevate Security. We've worked so hard getting our company to where it is today but it is Trae's continued guidance that is helping us move above and beyond what we had ever imagined when we started three years ago."  - Masha Sedova
 

About Trae

Trae Vassallo is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Defy, an early stage venture capital firm. She is an engineer, an entrepreneur and an investor, and her passion is collaborating with the world’s best entrepreneurs alongside her partners at Defy. Trae has public company experience, having been on the board of directors at Telstra, an international telecommunications company. She was previously a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Over her investing career, Trae invested in a number of leading companies including eero, Molekule, Nest Labs, Dropcam, Aggregate Knowledge and Opower. A "design thinker" and engineer at heart, Trae thrives at the intersection of great products and big markets. Before joining KPCB, Trae was a Co-Founder of Good Technology, a KPCB portfolio company that provides end-to-end wireless email services to the enterprise. Trae began her career at IDEO, where she developed ground-breaking products for companies including Palm and Dell. Trae holds 13 patents across a broad array of technologies and disciplines.

Trae strives to empower women in technology. In addition to Defy, she co-hosts Equity Summit, an annual event that brings $2T of AUM together for relationship building and authentic conversation between leading LPs and women GPs. In 2015, Trae co-authored the study "Elephant in the Valley" to help highlight the underlying data around the experiences of women in technology. Trae earned a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in mechanical engineering with honors from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Trae participated on the Trust of the Stanford Business School and as an advisor to the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford. In addition to working with inspiring entrepreneurs, Trae is passionate about adventuring with her husband, Steve, and three children.

 

About Elevate Security

Elevate Security is focused on the human element - measuring, influencing and reducing human risk. Using data companies already have, Elevate Security scores employee risk based on their security actions, showing actionable trends while delivering personalized communications that nudge employees to improve security habits unique to them. Elevate Security gives CISOs the power to turn every employee into a security superhero, and equips the organization to succeed against today’s people centered risk. Enterprise customers across industries, from healthcare to software, have seen employee detection and reporting of attacks improve by 5x or more.  

 

2[1]

 
Annie Kadavy on Ike
I have long been interested in logistics. The trucking industry is the backbone of our economy. Before I joined Redpoint, I helped build Uber Freight, the marketplace that matches drivers with freight to move, and that is where I first met and worked with Nancy Sun and her now co-founder, Alden. In the United States alone, $700+ billion is spent annually to transport things via truck, accounting for 80 percent of all freight-related costs in the country - look around where you are reading this and I am certain that most, if not everything, you see has at some point been moved by truck. Our increasingly digital and on-demand economy is putting huge pressure on shippers to find time and dollar savings.
 
Nancy and the Ike team have seen this firsthand, too, and are uniquely positioned to build the solution. We invested in Ike’s Series A in 2018. Ike is building autonomous trucking technology that allows trucks to drive themselves on the interstate highway system. Nancy is an exceptionally talented entrepreneur, as she is a big thinker, experienced manager and has deep technical expertise. She brings humility and hunger to this challenge and realizes the value of bringing diverse voices to the table.
 
Whenever we talk about automation, we also have to think about the impact on people’s livelihood. And here, Nancy and her team are special: They are deeply conscious of and committed to building a future that helps people by creating more and better jobs; for the Ike team, it is about more than simply building a product. One of the things I admire most about her is that she’s an extremely thoughtful and intentional technologist who truly cares about making sure things are carefully designed, tested and built for safety from the very beginning. They are building the team at Ike with the same high bar and I couldn’t be more excited to be part.
 
“The longer we’ve worked on this technology, the harder we’ve realized it is. We have made a lot of progress, but we’ve got a lot more work to do. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that if you want to solve a tough problem, you have to create a team with different experiences and backgrounds.”  - Nancy Sun

 

About Annie

Annie is a seasoned investor and operator who joined Redpoint in 2018 to work with founders of early-stage businesses. She has a strong track record of backing great entrepreneurs in the earliest innings and recognizing emergent consumer technology trends well before they become popular. She currently serves on the board of directors of Redpoint portfolio companies Bravado, Guild Education, Ike, Tend and Tundra. Prior to Redpoint, Annie spent over four years at Charles River Ventures, where she sourced or led investments in ClassPass, DoorDash and Patreon at the seed and series A stages. She has been named on both the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Midas Brink lists.

 

Annie also worked at Bain & Company, Warby Parker and at Uber Freight, where as Head of Strategic Operations she helped scale the business from 20 to several hundred people and from zero to $100+ million run-rate. Annie holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University in Biology and Organizational Business, respectively, and an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Annie is also an angel investor to companies that include Atrium, Modern Fertility and Tonal. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband, daughter, and dog.

 

About Ike

Ike is building technology to automate the safe and reliable highway transportation of freight. Automation is going to matter to everyone and Ike believes that we have a responsibility to make sure it is well designed, carefully tested and makes people’s lives better. Ike takes that responsibility very seriously and is building trucking technology with people in mind from the start. Ike envisions a world where automated trucks powered by the Company's technology will focus on highway driving. Ike knows that driving a truck is a tough job, and that truckers do so much more than sit in the cab and steer a wheel. That’s why the more complex and high value leg of the journey to and from the highway will need drivers in manually driven trucks. Ike cares about safer roads, high-skilled jobs for high-skilled people, massively increasing the efficiency in our freight transportation system, and better connecting our American cities and towns. Trucking is the industry that connects all of us and Ike's mission is to realize a future where trucks will be safer, truckers more valued, and trucking more productive.

 

3[1]

Natalie Massenet on Mejuri
I couldn’t think of a better company to highlight in honor of International Women’s Day than Mejuri, an Imaginary Ventures portfolio company reflecting women through consumer desire and retail behavior as well as a female founder’s hard work and success. Founded by a third-generation jeweler, Noura Sakkijha, Mejuri was a company that immediately caught the attention of Imaginary’s team. The diligence process began in 2018, when our Principals, impressed with what Mejuri was building and the company’s vision for the future, began building a relationship with the founding team which grew over the course of the year and included visits to the NYC store, a team trip to Toronto to meet in-person and maintaining contact with Noura until she began her Series B raise in April of 2019.

Noura is an inspiring founder who balances both left and right brain thinking overseeing not only all the customer touch points from product to marketing but also supply chain thanks to a degree in Engineering. Mejuri has grown 400 percent every year since the brand launched in 2015. The team has grown from four to nearly 150 people and spans three countries—and importantly ships to 35.

Mejuri’s success is unquestionable, and as a woman (and a mother), Noura has shown how to be a boss and balance her family at the same time—the proof is that she raised her Series B while seven months pregnant (with twins!). Knowing that female founders raise just 2.2 percent of all VC dollars, she knew that the fundraising process would be tricky, but wasn’t sure how VCs would react to a pregnant CEO.
 
Luckily for Noura, I was unfazed by investing in a pregnant founder, having started Net-a-Porter pregnant as well. As a working mother and female entrepreneur myself, I have fully enjoyed getting to know Noura and the company and to watch a young founder grow and mature in her work. Imaginary recently hosted its annual LP Day, and we were thrilled to have Noura, as the founder of one of our highlighted brands, come and speak to the group. Her insight on ecommerce and her passion for women supporting women was an inspiration, and she was one of the most talked-about moments from the day. The whole ethos of Mejuri is that the brand is exciting for women -- the content, the imagery, the brand values, everything is by women for women, and Imaginary is proud to be part of the story.

“When Majed and I were raising our series A round, one investor asked us during our pitch if we planned on having kids. We were taken aback, because it was clearly something that would factor in their decision. This time around my pregnancy became a barometer for finding good partners. If you have an issue with a pregnant CEO, Mejuri isn’t for you. My kids will always be part of the story, a reality that left me feeling vulnerable yet liberated. I’ve since been introduced to an amazing community of female investors and founders whose humor and shared experiences have been a sigh of relief.”  - Noura Sakkijha

About Natalie

Natalie Massenet is co-founder and co-Managing Partner of Imaginary Ventures, a venture fund investing in early-stage retail businesses across beauty, food, fashion, lifestyle and wellness. Natalie is also non-executive co-Chairman of Farfetch, a global e-commerce platform for luxury fashion. Imaginary combines two powerful assets: Natalie’s experience of building a start-up business into a multi-billion dollar global retailer, and co-founder Nick Brown’s track record as an early-stage investor in direct-to-consumer businesses (Goop, Warby Parker, Everlane). Natalie is best known for founding the luxury fashion online retailer, Net-A-Porter, in 2000. The following decade saw her build one of the world’s most influential retail businesses including net-a-porter.com, theoutnet.com, mrporter.com and The Net Set. In the year before Natalie stepped down from her role following the YOOX Net-A-Porter merger, the Net-A-Porter-Group recorded revenues of almost $1 billion. Natalie began her career as a journalist and fashion editor, working at WWD and Tatler before setting up Net-A-Porter. In 2009, Natalie was named one of the Most Influential People by Time Magazine, and in 2016 she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II; in recognition of her contributions to the fashion and retail industry. Natalie was Chairman of the British Fashion Council between 2013-2017, and was appointed a UK DTI Business Ambassador in March 2016.

 

About Mejuri

Mejuri is a digitally native, global, fine jewelry brand built with a fast supply chain at an affordable price, founded by a third-generation fine jeweler, Noura Sakkijha and her husband, Majed Masad. The Toronto-based brand captures millennial women’s penchant for affordable jewelry bought by themselves, rather than diamonds and precious stones for special occasions purchased for them by others.

 

4[1]

Dana Settle on The RealReal
I was fortunate to have been introduced to Julie Wainwright, founder and CEO of The RealReal, in early 2012 by one of our close syndicate partners and friend, Mathias Schilling at e.ventures. I saw that Julie was building something unique and had the persistence and vision to pull off a disruptive new business model for luxury goods.
 
Julie and I first met in a tiny office in Sausalito, California filled to the brim with pre-owned luxury products and buzzing with excitement. I was admittedly smitten from that moment. It was my experience that every fashionable person participated in the luxury consignment economy in one way or another, and it was an extremely inefficient, analog process. Many consumers wanted to enter the market but refrained, as ensuring quality and authenticity was incredibly hard to do. The RealReal was going to upend this model by building a marketplace for consigned clothing, fine jewelry, watches, fine art, and home décor built on quality, authenticity and trust. They employ an in-house staff of experts who inspect items for authenticity and value, ensuring the marketplace is built on a foundation of trust. Julie Wainwright, a serial entrepreneur prior to founding The RealReal, happened to love fashion and luxury products, an area where I’ve been an active investor and consumer.
 
We co-led The RealReal Series A round of funding in June of 2012 and went on to support their subsequent rounds, including the Series E led by Greenspring Associates. In the seven years that have followed, The RealReal has become the category creator and preeminent leader of luxury recommerce with nearly $1 billion in gross merchandise volume that’s growing 40% year over year. A highlight in my career was standing alongside Julie and The RealReal team at Nasdaq as they rang the bell for their IPO in June 2019.

"The RealReal is a billion dollar company, and I knew it would be. However, when I started The RealReal I knew that raising venture capital funding to disrupt and build a new marketplace for authentic luxury resale was going to be hard. Turns out it was harder than I could have possibly predicted. The typical Silicon Valley VC investor just didn't get it. Then I met Dana Settle, who got it right away. This initial investment from Greycroft brought other investors to the table and set us on our path."  - Julie Wainwright

About Dana

Dana Settle is a Founding Partner with Greycroft, and she heads the firm’s west coast office out of Los Angeles. Prior to Greycroft, Dana spent several years as a venture capitalist and advisor to startup companies in the Bay Area, including six years at Mayfield, where she focused on early stage companies in the mobile communications and consumer Internet markets. Dana currently manages Greycroft’s investments in Anine Bing, AppAnnie, Bird, Clique, Comparably, Goop, Happiest Baby, Seed, Thrive Market, Versed and WideOrbit. She also managed the firm’s investments in Awesomeness TV (acquired by Dreamworks), Maker Studios (acquired by Disney), Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), TheRealReal (IPO), Trunk Club (acquired by Nordstrom), Sometrics (acquired by American Express), Viddy (acquired by Fullscreen), and Voicea (acquired by Cisco). Dana also serves as a Board Director to IMAX Corporation. Her additional experience includes business development at Truveo (AOL), investment banking at Lehman Brothers and international business development at McCaw Cellular Communications (AT&T).
Dana holds a BA in Finance and International Studies from the University of Washington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

About The RealReal

In 2011, Julie Wainwright started The RealReal out of her home, working at her kitchen table and visiting consignors at their homes with a U-Haul. What began as a scrappy startup has transformed the business of authenticated luxury consignment into a dynamic, global movement that champions not only quality and craftsmanship, but also sustainability and community. Now, The RealReal is a company with millions of shoppers and consignors, three retail stores in New York and Los Angeles and nine Luxury Consignment Offices across the country, three of which are in their stores. From women’s, men’s and kids’ fashion to fine jewelry, watches, fine art and home decor, The RealReal is curating the world’s largest and most trusted marketplace for authenticated luxury.


5[1]

Talia Goldberg on Shippo
Thanks to services like Amazon Prime, consumers expect shipping to be cheap, fast, trackable, and reliable. More so than ever before, e-commerce businesses are feeling the pressure to deliver on these customer expectations. Merchants can no longer thrive by merely sending a package from warehouse to doorstep.

I first met Shippo co-founder and CEO Laura Behrens Wu in 2017. As early investors in Shopify, we observed firsthand the explosion of independent ecommerce companies. Thanks to Shopify, merchants could easily set up their stores online. Thanks to Stripe, merchants could easily accept payments online. Yet shipping remained complex and opaque. After our first meeting with Shippo, we quickly realized how their solution was the critical missing piece of the new “ecommerce stack,” streamlining and optimizing shipping operations for merchants of all sizes and types.

Today, people often think of Shippo as the Twilio and Stripe for shipping. With 50+ carriers integrations, discounts for merchants, order management, tracking tools, and more, Shippo manages the pre and post-purchase experience, powering a seamless experience for both businesses and their customers.

Shortly after our initial meeting with Laura, we knew we wanted to partner with Shippo and ultimately led their Series B financing. It was an opportunity we didn't want to miss, sitting across several roadmap areas, including e-commerce enablement, and developer-centric tools and platforms.

At Bessemer Venture Partners, we're energized by Shippo's momentum, as they help tens of thousands of merchants send millions of packages around the world each year.

About Talia

Talia Goldberg joined Bessemer in 2012 and is the youngest elected partner in the firm’s history. She is based in the San Francisco office where she focuses on early and growth stage software, consumer, and marketplace investments. In 2018, she was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital.

Prior to joining Bessemer, Talia worked at Foursquare, a location-based mobile company, and Simple Finance, a consumer-facing mobile banking solution (acquired by BBVA). While in school, Talia was a founding partner of the Dorm Room Fund, First Round Capital’s student-run investment fund that now has investment committees across the U.S. She was also on the founding team of an adaptive and personalized learning startup. Through Parity Partners, Talia is a pod leader and mentor for rising female VCs and entrepreneurs. Talia graduated summa cum laude with honors from the University of Pennsylvania where she created her own major between the Wharton School of Business and the College of Arts & Sciences.

 

About Shippo

Founded in 2013, Shippo provides a leading web app for shipping designed for growing small and medium-sized online retailers; and connects seamlessly to e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, and warehouses. The company helps more than 35,000 business get real-time shipping rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages, facilitate returns and more. Shippo’s multi-carrier platform provides access to 50+ carriers and helps businesses navigate the complexities of shipping so that they can achieve their highest potential. To date, the company has helped businesses ship more than 80 million packages.

 

6[1]

Stacey Bishop on Textio
In 2017, I was looking for promising companies making use of the latest developments in Natural Language Processing (NLP), the Machine Learning category focused on written and spoken language. Aileen Lee at Cowboy Ventures introduced us to an ambitious new company called Textio.
 
From the first time I saw Textio’s augmented writing technology, which packages sophisticated NLP into an easy-to-use application, I knew I was looking at a truly transformative technology that could affect the way people write in the future. And when I met CEO and co-founder Kieran Snyder, I knew she was a leader with the grit to build a lasting, impactful company.
 
Scale’s investment in Textio was an all-woman project from the beginning: Aileen, Kieran and Susan Liu, the Principal who collaborated with me on the deal. Looking back, the Textio investment is a testament to the growing impact of women in venture capital -- a sentiment shared by Kieran.
 
“Stacey generously shares both her perspective and the data that informs it, and this empowers me to make stronger decisions for our business. 10 out of 10 times I would work with her again!”  - Kieran Snyder
 
About Stacey

Stacey is a Partner at Scale Venture Partners, where she invests in business applications driving the Intelligent Connected World. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Abstract, Airspace, AllyO (observer), Demandbase, Extole, Lever, Namely (observer), Narvar (observer), and Textio. Prior board positions include HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS), Bizible (Acq: Marketo) and Vitrue (Acq: Oracle). Stacey also originated investments in ExactTarget, acquired by Salesforce, and Omniture, acquired by Adobe.

Stacey is a founding member of All Raise and an advisor to The University Growth Fund. Prior to Scale, Stacey specialized in M&A within Bank of America’s Corporate Development Group, worked in equity research at Morgan Stanley and began her career as an account manager at Syntel. Stacey holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from The University of Michigan.

 

About Textio

Founded in Seattle in 2014 by Kieran Snyder and Jensen Harris, Textio is the world’s leading augmented writing platform. In a short time, Textio has been widely adopted by enterprises around the world, including Procter & Gamble, IBM, McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Cisco, Union Bank, American Express, Virgin Atlantic, Credit Suisse, Twitter and Slack.

 

7[1]

 

Eva Ho on WeeCare
WeeCare is a company I have been looking for since I started investing in 2013. I strongly believe high quality, early childhood education has positive economic and social impacts lasting into adulthood. In Los Angeles county alone, only 13% of working parents with infants and toddlers (out of 650,000 total) have access to licensed centers and family child care home providers. I saw an opportunity for a truly transformative company to be built that closes the massive supply and demand gap that exists all across the US and around the world. In the US, $57 billion in revenues are lost every year because women are forced to leave the workforce when they decide to start a family because early childcare is expensive and inconvenient. 

I met the WeeCare team through Jesse Forrest, who was the CTO at one of my angel investments, Tradesy. Along with Jessica Chang and Matt Reilly, they made up the dream team that had the right combination of vision, experience, motivation and operational excellence that made this investment a no-brainer.  Since they started in late 2017, they have built the premier mobile platform that connects parents with licensed childcare providers in their community, fulfilling its mission of providing all families access to safe, affordable, education-based childcare.

 

“At a time when more than two-thirds of families with young children have dual working parents, it is imperative that we solve the early childcare crisis by empowering women, keeping them in the workforce and supporting them when they decide to have kids. As a female CEO with two kids under 3 and an early childcare startup supporting working women either as parents or childcare providers, it is our mission to support our community, one family and one female at a time.”  - Jessica Chang

 

About Eva

Eva is a General Partner at Fika Ventures, an early stage technology fund investing in companies that leverage the power of data as a core component of their business model. Prior to Fika, Eva was a founding GP at Susa Ventures. She is a serial entrepreneur and founder, with a company experience portfolio including Applied Semantics (AdSense), Factual, Google, Youtube and Navigating Cancer. She is active in the non-profit sector, serving on the boards of California Community Foundation and UCLA Technology Development Group. She was recently the EIR for the city of Los Angeles working with Mayor Eric Garcetti and his team. Eva holds an MBA from Cornell and a BA from Harvard.

 

About WeeCare 

WeeCare was founded in 2017 by Jessica Chang, Jesse Forrest, and Matt Reilly with a mission to transform the fragmented $57 billion dollar daycare industry by providing all families access to safe, affordable, nurturing, education-based childcare. WeeCare empowers educators from diverse backgrounds to start and manage their own home daycare business. The all-in-one platform aims to simplify the operational aspects of running a home daycare for caregivers, allowing them to seamlessly fill to capacity and efficiently run a licensed home daycare directly from their phone. You can hear more about their mission in this PBS segment.

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