Being one of the few, if not the only, women in the room has shaped the personalities of Rajaram and Dekhane and instilled in them a drive to challenge the status quo by bridging the gender gap. Their podcast aims to bridge information and access gap for aspiring women investors. They have a strong belief that having more women decision makers to invest will also boost aspiring women entrepreneurs to take the plunge and have role models to look up to, on both sides of the table. When they first met at the course “Venture Deals Summer 2020” by Kauffman Fellows and Techstars, Rajaram and Dekhane instantly connected on the startling statistic of under-10% representation of women at decision-making positions. In the words of Rajaram, “I only started digging into the numbers around gender representation in the industry last summer but it soon became clear to me that, while there has been an overall acknowledgement of gender disparity especially among decision-makers, progress has been very slow. I decided to raise this with women in my class at HBS by first starting a Slack channel and eventually joined hands with Anvita, who was as determined to address the issue, to start the podcast.” They started the podcast with a clear goal in mind: building a database of candid conversations, with women in the industry (interns to partners) and male counterparts, that students and professionals aspiring to break into the industry can access. “The reception by students, alumni and professionals in and outside venture capital globally has been really heart-warming. We have recorded around 20 episodes already and keep building the pipeline every week. HBS has shown tremendous support and has been key in spreading the message and promoting the platform,” says Rajaram. Their podcast Women in Venture Capital can be found on your favorite podcast platform, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Buzzsprout. Rajaram and Dekhane have recorded almost 20 episodes with students, fellows, partners and professors. One episode at a time, they are bridging the gender gap in Venture Capital by starting a dialogue that promotes networking, sharing, and learning. Here are the key takeaways from the podcast:
On career progression for women investors, HBS Professor Jeff Bussgang gave the following advice: “know if you will be taken seriously as you choose to join, find culture fit and find a mentor who is willing to invest in your progress.”
On the impact of diversity, Anoushka Vaswani (partner at LSP) emphasized that strong appreciation for diversity enables better decision making and outcomes.
On bridging the gender gap, Bukie Adebo (HBS ’21) mentioned how it is easy to gravitate towards people who look like you, and that conscious efforts are needed—across the board—to bring the much-needed parity. Adebo also shared three steps to have a better representation of mixed gender teams: step one is to think about it, step two is to broaden horizons of people sourced and step three is to make conscious calls to include diversity.