The LMRE team tuned into the webinar hosted and moderated by Tzvete Doncheva, founder of ‘Ecosystem’, with panel members; Chris Smith, Managing Partner of Playfair Capital, Beatrice Aliprandi, Senior Associate at Talis Capital, Eman Martin-Vignerte, Director of Political Affairs & Government Relations at Bosch UK and last but by no means least, Sheel Tyle, Founder and CEO of Amplo. They discussed ‘Unconscious bias: Tackling the barriers to VC funding and corporate innovation’.
Tzvete was a fantastic moderator, kicking off the discussion by asking each panelist to share their views on unconscious bias and what bias has been predicted in their decisions. It was an interesting conversation from start to finish, and it was motivating to hear what Sheel said; where you went to school or university has nothing to do with how entrepreneurial you are. Coming from the more corporate side of things, they always look at what school you went to, to see if you would be a good fit, and that’s the difference of unconscious bias between VC and corporate.
Has it become easier to succeed as a woman? And what challenges are female investors facing today?
They all agreed that things have certainly improved for women, but at the top the faces remain stubbornly male. Why do you think this is? Women feel a lot more pressured when it comes to performing better than men and even some women feel they are less intelligent than men. In order to change the status quo, the younger generation needs access to more female role models alongside early empowerment.
It definitely seemed that confidence is an issue for women, Beatrice from Talis Capital mentioned they had recently recruited for an analyst position and had looked back at the stats for the role, she said it was interesting to see the behaviour differences between both genders; 80% who applied for the role were men and only 20% women. Beatrice went on to say, the 20% of females that applied, fitted the job description perfectly, and 50% of the men who applied didn’t fit the criteria. It’s fair to say that when it comes to job applications, women are often a lot more self-critical on their abilities and perhaps feel a greater sense of ‘imposter syndrome’ than men do.
A common challenge female workers face surrounds the bias on age and title. Although UK employment laws have come along way in the last 10 years, especially surrounding maternity/paternity leave, female workers are often overlooked for senior positions. This is still very much true for US companies, where stringent and fair labor laws are yet to support the working mother, and ensure fair employment and opportunities across the board.
To finish off the panelists were asked about the topic of introductions. Warm introductions - are they lazy?
All the panel agreed that they were anti warm introductions, and it is important to be open and not always go the warm way in. If you reach out directly, make it punchy and tailored then that is more likely to get their attention.
Thank you to Tzvete and all the panellists. It was a very insightful discussion.