It is 2011, there are still few women in venture capital or heading tech start- ups. Attending the Israel American Chamber of Commerce on healthcare IT, I decided to explore this issue with with two women at the Israel America Chamber of Commerce Conference on Healthcare IT.
Donna Usiskin, Vice President of Business Development at Edison Ventures is the only woman employee on the investment side at Edison Ventures, which has 23 employees. Usiskin said, "I do everything that I can do to mentor women tech entrepreneurs." She then listed several female mentoring organizations that she is a member of.
Usiskin continued, "Women are not cut out to be tech entrepreneurs. It is 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job. Women chose family, a husband over that lifestyle." It was a little disappointing to hear this ancient stereotype about women was being parroted by a woman.
Usiskin was "thrilled" that she had to wait in line for the ladies room at this conference. "This conference is a little different. There are more women. The Israeli army teaches women how to handle a gun and be leaders," noted Usiskin.
Elizabeth Rounsavall, director of Research and Analytics at Chrysalis Ventures voiced the same sentiments. She said, "There are no women on the investment side at Chrysalis. I am sort of a bridge to administration. There is another woman employee in marketing. Part of the problem is lifestyle. A lot of travel is involved with the job."
Rounsavall continued, "The situation is also bad in private equity. A female speaker at a private equity conference thanked the industry for being more progressive than the Taliban."
Later, she mentioned two women entrepreneurs that Chrysalis works with - Liz Griggs, CEO of Nextimage Medical and Jan Bruce, who was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Chrysalis before they invested in her startup, Quilibrium.