Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact

Supporting the Next Generation of Diverse Investors - Eleanor Kaye, Executive Director of Newton Venture Program

October 03, 2023 Maiko Schaffrath
Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact
Supporting the Next Generation of Diverse Investors - Eleanor Kaye, Executive Director of Newton Venture Program
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Eleanor Kaye, Executive Director of the Newton Venture Program. Program helping people from underestimated and overlooked backgrounds break into the venture capital industry and also advance their careers once they are in the venture capital industry.

In today’s episode, we discuss her journey in the venture capital industry and talk about some of the challenges in the industry and how the Newton Venture Program is curbing them. 

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

  • [00:41] Eleanor's personal background & journey
  • [06:17] What is the Newton Venture Program?
  • [11:43] Who is the Newton Venture Program for?
  • [15:35] Root problems of the diversity challenge in the industry?
  • [19:02] Barriers into the VC industry blocking people from underestimated backgrounds
  • [23:35] Are VC roles advertised or relationship-based?
  • [26:55] Work experience’s impact on role growth in the VC industry
  • [29:42] Structural barriers within the VC industry preventing role-growth
  • [33:02] Advice for founders fundraising from underestimated backgrounds
  • [35:12] Eleanor's 10-year vision

KEY LESSONS & QUOTES

  • “I think there are misconceptions around venture capital. It's not a get-rich fast, side of a career.” [22:03]
  • “Venture capitalists need to bring in specialist partners to be able to identify good products in these new trends” [30:4]
  • “A massive step is understanding if you want more diverse candidates, then you're gonna have to go to the places that collect the diverse candidates, and that's very cool” [27:29]
  • “It's not even about finding the roles, but it's how you stand out and I think that's quite difficult if you haven't got the background as an investment banker or, potentially, any  experience in venture capital.” [27:56]

Newton Venture Program - Website

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[00:00:00] Maiko: In today's episode, I speak to Eleanor Kaye. Executive Director of the Newton Venture Program. Program helping people from underestimated and overlooked backgrounds break into the VC industry and also advance their careers once they are in the VC industry. Newton is a joint venture of London-based VC Fund Local Globe and London Business School, and is both supporting individuals, really new to the VC industry as as well as established venture capitalists.

It's great to have you on the show, Eleanor. Thanks for making the time and welcome.

[00:00:34] Eleanor: Thank you so much for having.

[00:00:36] Maiko: Let's start with your personal story before we move into Newton, and there's lots to say about both of these. So, let's start with your story. How did you actually get into this venture ecosystem and then running Newton?

[00:00:50] Eleanor: Yeah, sure. So, I definitely was not in venture capital before this. I had a very strong operations background worked across music, TV, film, radio, then went to money supermarket in operations again and really enjoyed, working in a well-structured company at Money Supermarket, and it opened my eyes from being quite scrappy in music and TV spending far too many nights out at gigs.

I just grew up a little bit, if you're going to work anywhere in your early twenties, you want to be in music and TV and film, so it was great. But yeah the move to Money Supermarket I think opened my eyes to how a sort of company that's gone through IPO can look like and gave me some really good ideas of how to grow a company and get it into less startup more like corporate style.

And whilst I was there, I was headhunted for Palantir Technologies, which I spent six years of my career there. I thought I knew things, I did not. I absolutely was tested beyond anything I could ever have imagined. And I flew around the world, I was opening offices everywhere, is still in operations for sort of three years and that was amazing, it was such a great experience. 

Whilst I was there, fell pregnant, I had my daughter, which was really cool, she's now five. And when I came back I moved into sort of projects which were to do with getting us ready for the IPO, this again was great, it was building structure. It was thinking about how can we be more professional than our approach at that point?

And then, I actually went back pregnant with my son surprise and went on leave again. But when I came back, went back into business development and that was exciting. It was reaching out new opportunities, bringing them on board, what did that look like? Again, I think my time at Palantir was just eye-opening.

Working with some of the smartest people around and using some of the smartest technology just absolutely fantastic for my own career growth and development, managing teams and helping them grow and develop as well. And then after I think when Covid hit, I realized that actually a lot of what I was staying for at Palantir was the culture and the people.

And when you remove that and you are working, on your kitchen table and try to manage your kids who are not in nursery, I think it was a real turning point for me as to what I was doing there and did that tick my long-term goals and aspirations. 

And this was a really hard decision because Palantir had been my life for six years, I loved it, I loved the people, but I realized if I wanted to progress in my own life and what did I really want to do I needed to take a jump. Job market was a bit slow when I was looking, and so I thought, look, I'm gonna take six months out. Palantir I appeared in the September, I sold some shares.

I thought, I'm gonna take some time out, really think about what I want to do. And about two weeks after I left Palantir, I was approached for this role at Newton. So my time of having self-discovery was cut short a little bit but luckily the executive director who was there at the time, Lisa Shu, who is incredible encouraged me to take a little bit longer before joining.

I think she realized like having someone who had some time to really think have some break would be more beneficial than pulling me in earlier. So my journey to Newton was abit serendipitous. I'd reached out to a couple of people, said, hey, have you heard of anything?

Someone said, yes and connected me. And I went through quite a good sort of interview process, got to meet the guys at Local Globe as part of that, and I was like, what is this world? What is this venture capital world? I have never even touched it. No one I knew worked in venture capital.

I'd never even heard of venture capital really before then. And I thought, you know what, this could be the perfect opportunity to be the customer. Like here I am, I don't know about venture capital. I don't know, what it means to work in it, I need to start from scratch and experience this from how our customers are going to our like students, learners, whoever are going to want to know.

And so this put me in a really good position when I joined ahead to create the company from scratch and set it all up. I was the first person to be paid via Newton, it was really scrappy and pulled on all my kind of, delightful setting things up for success background.

And I was able to put all that into practice, and then about six months in the executive director at the time she decided she was gonna go and find her own thing, and I was like, I could, I do this. I love what I'm doing, I love the learning, it's continual, I love the people I'm working with at Local Globe.

Plus I love meeting everyone who I'm meeting through Newton and we can talk about Newton and what we do.

[00:06:17] Maiko: Yeah, let's do that, let's jump into that. I would have 20 questions just on your journey but I'm sure we'll pick up on that a little bit bit by bit, so we feature Newton a little bit as well, so yeah, tell us about what Newton actually does, what's the mission of Newton? And then very practically, what programs do you run and who are they for? What do they do?

[00:06:38] Eleanor: Yeah, so as you mentioned in the intro, we're an executive educational venture capital training and development provider in a nutshell, but our mission is to level a playing field for people from typically overlooked and underestimated backgrounds. You'll note we don't say underrepresented or minority because we believe the people who are doing the overlooking or the underestimating of the people at fault, not the people who are underrepresented, so, language matters here. 

But we want to ensure that the next generation of investors represent the world we live in. And we have two different robust training programs, but we try and use a very we use blind hiring to get people on board, so we remove all the bias, and if you haven't heard of blind hiring this is where we have some questions we set and we then mark them without knowing people's background, experience, university they went to, the country they live in, their name, anything that could create unconscious bias. And although my team is extremely towards the mission. We never know what unconscious bias we might have, and we can identify where we can, but this removes that and allows people to get through on their own grit, motivation experience, unique background.

and the people's stories are fascinating. I think working in through this and seeing people's journeys that they've gone on, and you mentioned my own, but mine is, mine seems very boring compared to other people's. People who have gone through some incredible things and seeing how we could make up these cohorts for our programs and really ensuring that people understand that actually your unique background is what makes you an integral part of this cohort is seriously cool.

So once they filled out an application form, they potentially were applying for our fundamentals program. So our fundamentals program is an eight week online program every Wednesday night. It might change, but Wednesday night at the moment, and they learn the fundamentals of venture capital going all the way back to like,

what on earth is venture capital? How does the ecosystem work? How is everyone connected? And the more people who realize how connected venture capital is to the world and like how we're progressing with technology and science, the better. So this is like really important to understand how everything is connected. 

Then, taking you through to like, what is a good company to invest in? What is it? Is it the team? Is it the way they're structured? Is it the product? Is it the way they've mapped their market? These are really provocative questions we're trying to get people to like, think about, and we take them through to the legals and venture valuations, quite technical areas negotiations even.

Like how do you negotiate a good deal? All the fun things, and we mix that. And the reason like Newton's quite special is that because we are working with London Business School, people who potentially would never have had access to LBS faculty, have access to them, me included, this would never have been on my playlist like for my life.

I've been taught now by a London business called Faculty who are Exceptional, and we bring in people from Oxford, Saed, and Imperial to come and teach to. So this is like top quality teaching. And then we balance that with the practitioners, the top decile practitioners who are living and breathing this kind of life and bringing in their failures, their successes.

Why this worked, the luck that might have happened, all the things they've missed out on, like why didn't they invest and capturing that and why it's important to capture that data, why didn't we invest at that time and yet we missed a potential like dragon, unicorn, decon, whatever we want to use here.

And yeah, we are trying to really get people to question that. And on the flip we have the fellowship program. So to your point about, we don't want people to just get their foot in the door. We want people to get up to partners and accelerate their career in venture capital. There was a European Women in VC report that says like 85% of VC general partners are male.

So we want to change that narrative and make sure that, women are represented in the more senior positions in venture capital. And so this program, who is for people who are three to five years in, they know what a cap table is, investment memo they've been doing, living, breathing it. But this is now the acceleration.

How can we really get you there through cohort peer learning through the faculty, and through practitioners, but in a very intense learning period face-to-face. It's a seven month fellowship, but they learn in three day blocks over seven months and at London Business School. And there's something to be said about learning in person that you can't ever replicate in the digital world, although we try very hard. So yeah of Newton in a nutshell.

[00:11:43] Maiko: Wow. I'd love to learn a bit more about the typical person that participates in the program. And it's probably hard to say because I assume it's quite diverse. If you only had male MBA graduates, then I would be surprised. So, I assume it's quite diverse but I would love to still understand it a little bit because I assume that even the typical person that wants to get into VC is already quite a niche group.

Because, most people in society don't think about VC or don't know about VC, and I certainly didn't. And you told us you, you didn't really even think about VC before you joined. So tell us a bit more about maybe some examples or who are these people that, apply for Newton and what motivates them to get into VC?

[00:12:29] Eleanor: Yeah there's so many different people. We've had spoken word artists, we've had doctors, we've had people from government come and learn with us. We've had the sort of PWCs, McKinsey's kind of people trying to understand, which I get meta, salesforce. There's so many people, such a wide variety of backgrounds who come onto our fundamentals program.

I think to your point, that's something that we are really trying to get out there. So through, talking about it on podcasts, through releasing articles, we're trying to get people to see where they potentially wouldn't have done. And one of our like ambitions is to get into schools, education in schools.

Teachers like getting, making sure that they understand it. Open source materials that allow people to see what venture capital is and how it touches the eco system. We also have been going into speaking with PhD students. So we want them to understand that potentially if they want to be an entrepreneur, create they're on the brink of a new discovery and they want funding.

What does that look like? How do you appeal to venture catalysts to get funding in the future? And you don't necessarily have to rely on grants. You could go through a venture capital route and educating people with those kind of backgrounds as well. So that's a massive initiative for us at the moment called STEM to VC.

We want people with STEM backgrounds who might not understand what is a venture capitalist looking for. How do you explain those milestones in your biochemistry, invention, innovation? How do you get that across? And so that's what we're trying to help with, like a milestone of the creation of a new molecule, just wouldn't go into a typical venture capitalist head. 

So we're just trying to bridge that gap here with training as well. But to your point, like the people taking our fundamentals program right now, I think it's something like 50% are coming from referrals. So people are really like telling other people about what we are doing, which is awesome.

So we've got more people coming from the NHS, more people coming from GOV, which I think is super important. Like how can we educate people in government about how important like venture capital is. They've just created the government office for tech transfer which is, brilliant because this is what I was saying, bridging that gap between universities getting investment and how important that is for, especially for the UK economy and excelling us in the world for new innovation. 

So, yeah, I think this is definitely something we've only been going for two years, but we are working on it. That education piece is so important and making more things open source as well.

[00:15:14] Maiko: And let's diagnose the issue a little bit more. There's a lot of data out there, but not everybody that listens to this may be aware of all the data. You mentioned some numbers around the percentage of partners. What was it? 89% of partners are male. Something like 

that. 

[00:15:28] Eleanor: Yeah, There was a, the European Women in VC report of May, 2022. So 85% of GPs are male. 

[00:15:35] Maiko: Got it. And if we look at that diversity problem, it's very clear there is a diversity problem on all levels of diversity, gender, background, any dimension really, isn't it? So, let's talk about that a little bit more and what do you see as some of the biggest, or root causes for these problems still persisting, because over the years it seems like a lot of the metrics haven't actually improved that much, or, moved up and down and it's a bit depressing to see?

[00:16:12] Eleanor: I'm pleased to say that the metric, even though we're using blind hiring and we're not curating our cohorts, that they are more reflective of the world we're living in. Which is pretty awesome to see that in that space. So I'm not sure the problem is that there's not enough interest that they're not able to,

I think that there's a more compounding problem with potentially hiring, the way we. there's obviously issues with the way people view risk and in a downturn, which, an economic downturn we tend to avoid risk and unfortunately, women, people of color are seen as risky in this environment.

That's for investing for founders, and this is very problematic, which means there are innovative products that are not getting the capital they deserve because they're not even getting in the door to speak with venture catalysts. So we talk about a lot about homophily people, birds who look the same, like flock together that's what we're seeing.

So if you don't have in your venture capital firm, a diverse outlook, and to your point, like diverse is not just gender ethnicity, but this is like socioeconomic background neurodiversity and LGBTQIA. And also not ignoring intersectionality, black woman, is even harder to get into venture capital, or even as a founder to get funding. 

I think it's like nor point nor 2% of capital is going to black women founders at the moment, which is absolutely diabolical. But I think the point is like when you meet somebody and they look like you or they have the same education as you, or you've got a friend who's, together, there's a lot of like, trust, it's an unconscious bias that kind of draws you to that person cause they are similar to you. 

But I think there needs to be, and there's some great initiatives out there, which are trying to push the change, but it needs to be something that all venture capital firms are bringing into their companies and not just talking about like a checkbox but actually actioning on it.

And I like to see, I'm really lucky now I get to spend a lot of time with venture catalysts and I may be living in a lovely bubble of people who are actually doing and making change which is wonderful, but I am not naive enough to know that it's not everywhere. So I think, these challenges I think if you are running a venture capital firm and you need to have these values embedded into everything you do, whether it's hiring, whether it's opening doors, whether it's giving calls, you need to live and breathe the values around inclusivity, as well.

[00:19:02] Maiko: Yeah, that gives me a good overview. What in your journey from getting into the kind of VC ecosystem running Newton, do you feel is still some of the biggest hurdles that we need to overcome in terms of barriers into the VC industry for people from underestimated backgrounds?

Is there stuff that you came across that is, oh wow, this seems like a big challenge. Okay, we're doing our bit at Newton, but more people need to do something about this problem. Is there any of those type of problems that the company have?

[00:19:34] Eleanor: Yeah look, venture capital is becoming the thing to do. It's taken over a little bit from consultancy, people are excited about it. I think there are misconceptions around venture capital, it's not a get rich fast, side of what Korea, I think what we are doing at Newton is being quite realistic about people's expectations, like what it really means to work in venture capital.

The blockers around getting roles. I know that for example, when someone puts out an associate role, you could get 3000 applicants for this one role. And what we can do though is challenge how things have been done. I recently see, saw a role being advertised. It specifically, Top university degree from top university, and I challenged this on an open forum and said, the amount of folks who have come through our programs at Newton, would never A, apply because they felt like they weren't good enough, or B, would not even be considered for an interview because of these old-fashioned sorting tools. Why are we not using better sorting features in hiring to like look through and when I challenged it, it was just a sorting feature, but obviously if someone has the business experience, they'd get through, but the reality is like people who come from socioeconomic backgrounds that could never have afford them, like this top university like MBA degree, whatever, are being overlooked, yet they are absolutely fantastic. 

And it's not just Newton and people at Newton who need to challenge, but every venture capital firm needs to challenge their own recruiting policies and hiring values to allow people from those backgrounds getting.

And then to our point, my point around education. Venture capital isn't for everyone, but I do think people should understand what venture capital is. So they might not decide it's a career for them, but they might decide, hey, I've done the program, I understand what we're thinking about.

But would investing as part of a syndicate be a good way of getting into venture capital? That's less capital that you would need to do that. And I think. Something that potentially we are opening up people's eyes to be able to do and because having the capital to invest you need quite a lot.

You need to have exited maybe from a company like having your own personal capital is a barrier to getting involved in venture capital. So, syndicates, we're partnering with some great people across the ecosystem to offer opportunities for our cohorts. Maybe even like understanding how Crowdcube works or, again, crowdfunding.

What does that look like? Why would you invest? But what we are doing is educating people around these aspects and just giving people a little bit more understanding about what due diligence they should be doing before they're putting their money into something. and understanding it's a long game.

Like it's not a quick return on investments. And even then, venture capital is one of the most risky asset classes, you might not even see the returns on that. 

[00:22:42] Maiko: And most funds never really return anything meaningful. If you look at statistics, that's really only the top funds that have attractive returns for the investors? 

[00:22:52] Eleanor: Those funds then attract more investors and higher investors and the other sort of lower investors are getting like, shunted out. And so, there is a lot of capital to deploy, but right now in this downturn, I think people are being very risk-averse. and that does tend to affect people from overlooked and underestimated backgrounds.

[00:23:15] Maiko: Got it. I have two issues in mind that I want to get your opinion on. I did have a small time period where I, let's say, considered working for VCs. The closest I got was well basically scouting for different VCs. Still involved with that and referring startups over, but I've never been part of core team of VCs. 

But I did interview for a couple of roles a while ago, a couple of years ago, and first thing I realized is most roles aren't advertised, it's very relationship based. I don't know if things have improved much because I haven't looked much at this now, but first of all, it seems very relationship based and if you're not, In the crowd already, then it's very hard to even learn about roles that are out there. Let's start with this one and then I have another point after that that we can discuss.

[00:24:05] Eleanor: So, we've run our cohorts on Slack the community side of things. I think I share at least one career opportunity a day right now, but I hunt them out and I really search for them to find them. I think people are getting better actually, in fact a lot of, like we've had outreach from a lot of UK firms saying, hey, we'd love to advertise our open positions with you.

We believe in what you're doing. So that's a massive step is like understanding. Okay, if you want more diverse candidates, then you're gonna have to go to the places that are collect the diverse candidates, and that's very cool. So, we do try and share as much as possible and actually we've had people reaching out directly to us, even if they're not putting it online.

So that's even a really cool step. I think it's not even like finding the roles, but it's like how do you stand out, and I think that's quite difficult if you haven't got the background as an investment banker or potentially any experience in venture capital. And then again, we have the problem where say in your forties you've got a mortgage, you potentially have children to pay for, but you have the expertise, but you couldn't take that cut to become a venture capital analyst.

So there's got to be this sort of fit of experience, salary, ability let alone finding the opportunity. So I think to your point, like even if they are out there and even if they are being shared, the reality of it being the right fit for you might not be quite right. So, it's hard to get in and I don't know.

What was your like interview process, did you feel like you were being listened to? How was it for you?

[00:25:50] Maiko: Depends, I think. There was some interesting interviews. I think I had one where I was being interviewed while somebody was driving, it was fun so I had some interesting examples there. I didn't have any terrible experiences, but I also can't really speak for, people from, women, people from underestimated backgrounds coming into this.

I was just somebody that was already a little bit in tech and not in VC before. But yeah, it was very relationship based. I think you quickly get questions who have you already done angel investing and things like that, which obviously from my perspective, already puts up a barrier as well.

I understand why investors are asking that. So, yeah, there's definitely some issues with it and I've definitely seen that problem that you mentioned of, let's say I wouldn't apply that to me at the time, but for really experienced people that maybe don't have strictly we see experience, but that could be really good for more senior role in VC.

Not even being considered for that because, you have to start at the bottom and work your your way up.

Do you see that happen more, that there's like people from outside of the VC industry breaking into slightly more senior roles as well? Or is it still that struggle that you mentioned that Okay, gotta start at the bottom, work your way up, no matter how many years of work experience you have in other areas?

[00:27:13] Eleanor: I think if you think about, not trends, but like things that hit stay now that are quite new like Web3 and like the understanding of that, like the reality is venture catalyst need to bring in specialist partners to be able to identify good products in these new trends. And so I think where there are openings in more specialized VC roles, that's where, if you know what your niche is or know what your specialty is, play on that. 

And I think a lot of the time you can get in through just being, hey, look, I've identified these things, these up and coming companies, they align with your thesis, I'm a specialist here, this is where I'm seeing the projections.

I know the team because I've worked with them in X, Y, Z and that's where I think the more senior experienced people can get in. Just play upon your own like background and experience there. So I think that's something that we'll see more and more is like more stem specific Web3, country specific, say the UK VC funds want to invest more in Africa.

There's no knowledge, lean on that and your experience. If you've been a operator in a tech firm, and you've got seen like massive scaling, use those experiences to apply for the roles cause you have lived and breathed it. You know what it means to fail, and actually failure is like a really good thing to have gone through because how will you ever have learned, if you've sailed through a massive scale up growth and never really learned anything from it, you can't really apply that to other founders you meet.

And I know a lot of the people here are founders and experiencing this right now but, and it might, they might be going through their own failures and wins themselves, but that's not a bad thing. I think anyone who has learned from their career, write it down, what would you have done differently? And you can use that to advise in the future. Maybe if you did wanna pivot into venture capital, this would be extremely valuable information to help other founders not make the same 

[00:29:20] Maiko: mistake.

And that's a really good point. the other point I was thinking some of the structural issues and just how VC funds operate. And as an example first of all, if you're raising a VC fund from scratch, you are expected to actually put your own money into that. So even if you don't wanna go down the road of, going through the existing VCs, that's an issue.

But also when you get to a certain level in a VC fund, the expectations are very similar, usually, that you're supposed to put your own money in. Do you see like there's some structural barriers as well that just keep certain people from progressing into partner roles and similar?

[00:30:00] Eleanor: So if you're already in venture capital and you're expected to put money in the fund, I think there's an element of, you've got skin in the game, you want it to succeed. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing that, that's the expectation there. I think that probably brings out more of a fire.

You want that, you realise you want the returns. So potentially that's not a, necessarily a barrier, and I'm sure that most VC firms actually bet that into the salary or the comp that's coming in. But I'm seeing a massive influx of emerging fund managers right now. First time fund managers and,

the barriers are not necessarily raising, but the legal fees to get going, around 80k. And they're living, at this point when somebody decides they're gonna raise a fund for the first time, So they're like entrepreneurs. So yes, you're right, you start putting your own money in it.

You know it's a full-time job. You give up your full-time job to do this. So you are bootstrapping, you are living on no salary. You've got massive outgoings, such as legal fees, which you can negotiate about, like someone I met yesterday said, look, I'll pay you the legal fees on the first close.

This is, you know how you can negotiate that, but people don't necessarily know these are the ways to work around it. So this again, is something that, through our fellowship we actually talk about fund structures in the module three. We really talk about like how to structure a fund, how to structure your portfolio companies and make sure that addressing those issues.

But, for emerging it is rough out there for emerging fund managers and there's a lot of shouting from the top funds saying, oh, we raised in three months. But that's not the reality for emerging fund managers. It is taking 18 months, two years to get closer. so many NOs.

Like I met someone the other day. They were saying just that morning they'd had seven NOs. The resilience and grit, an emerging fund manager must have, it must be exhausting. And I think, I'm guessing that probably a lot of the founders here resonating with feeling perhaps loneliness, not knowing how to navigate the structural,

or the infrastructure that's needed to build a new company from scratch or how to hire properly and how to make sure that those first hires are people who are gonna stay around. And then how to structure their equity within the business and what that looks like and grow well, spend the funds that are coming in well, and it's such a compounding world and there's so much weight on a founder's shoulders, and I think to be an entrepreneur or a first time fund manager, , you have to have a certain personality and drive to succeed because it is rough out there.

and I know that, and I think the more support we can give founders and the more support we can give emerging fund managers, the better. And that's what we hope to do with Newton, is to support that, growing fund manager group of people who are coming through our network and community at the moment and provide them with that support make it more open source.

These sort of ways of getting around things asking the right questions that get you that support.

[00:33:02] Maiko: Got it. Before we close the episode, I'd love to include some good advice for founders raising from the status quo of how VCs look like, which, as we established earlier, not very diverse, still really massive biases. If you look at the founders being funded by VCs they look very similar.

So do you have any advice for founders that are fundraising, especially, people from underestimated backgrounds female founders how should they navigate this ecosystem? Is there any hacks that can apply things to actually just deal with the reality? Because they don't have time to wait couple of years until something finally changes?

[00:33:44] Eleanor: I think what I'm seeing is there are people being more open about supporting people from overlooked and underestimated backgrounds. So I think it would be a case of, hunting them down. Essentially, if your product's good people are going to invest in it. And I think that's, as long as you're selling that correctly and you are really understanding what a venture capitalist is looking for, the team is so important.

Making sure you are talking about what you are bringing to the company, making sure that you're not overvaluing yourself which we are seeing quite a lot of, but I think it's just really important that look, it is tough. I think it right now in a downturn, like people are being a little bit more cautious with investing, but if this is your time to raise, you've gotta do it.

Like essentially it's, you've gotta get out there and I think find a support network around you, find other founders that are raising and utilize each other's support and share those high net worth individuals or people who are potentially helping and getting people started. I think there's also quite a lot of good like initiatives out there, the like accelerators that you can join, which might help support you get through the beginning.

But be careful. Make sure how much equity they're taking really invest in doing your own personal due diligence about what that looks like, but keep going, we believe in you, you can.

[00:35:09] Maiko: Love it. One last question for you. If you think 10 years ahead from today how does the world look like in 10 years from now when Newton succeeds? So just a bit more into a dream and vision. 10 years from now, how does the world look 

[00:35:25] Eleanor: like? 

Cool. Well, we have a very ambitious 2030 goal actually, that 50% of investors will be from overlooked and underestimated backgrounds. So that's a very, strong goal for seven years from now. But I believe the stronger we push and with other initiatives such as included VC, diversity VC, future VC, there's some and that's just in the UK.

And there I'm seeing popping up loads of people who have got other initiatives and driving this change. Just gotta keep challenging. Got to keep pushing on and get yourself educated around venture capital push this forward because changes coming it just might be like inflation right now and going up and down.

[00:36:04] Maiko: Got it. We'll leave your website in the show notes as well for everybody wants to apply to any of your programs. Do check them out even if you haven't considered the VC industry. Do have a look at it, be curious about it, you may actually like it more than you think at the moment. And so, thanks Eleanor for making the time today, really enjoyed our conversation and hope to see you soon again.

[00:36:29] Eleanor: Thanks so much.



Eleanor's personal background & journey
What is the Newton Venture Program?
Who is the Newton Venture Program for?
Root problems of the diversity challenge in the industry?
Barriers into the VC industry blocking people from underestimated backgrounds
Are VC roles advertised or relationship-based?
Work experience’s impact on role-growth in the VC industry
Structural barriers within the VC industry preventing role-growth
Advice for founders fundraising from underestimated backgrounds
Eleanor's 10-year vision