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Ariane Barker – Empowering the Next Generation of Founders

Ariane Barker is CEO of Scale Investors Ltd, based in Melbourne, which invests patient capital in female-founded Australian early stage businesses. She has had a long career in global finance, including roles in investment banking in the US, Europe, Japan and Australasia, and in 2011 was identified as one of seventy high potential board-ready women after being awarded an AICD board diversity scholarship.

A fascinating discussion of a global career, choices made and what drove them, a passion for education and the arts and now a career in angel investing that seeds the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

Connie Teska – A Founder with Experience in Abundance

Connie Teska is principal and co-founder of Pluscios Management, a fund of hedge funds manager based in the Chicago area. Pluscios is a Greek term meaning wealth, abundance, and riches, and the firm, founded in 2006, has two female founders. She has a long history in investment management, particularly in the area of alternative investments.

Our conversation returns to Connie’s Greek roots, and what growing in a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners taught her about work ethic, resilience, and respect for knowing what goes on “in the weeds.” We move to her banking career, and what inspired her to start a firm.

Avigail Levine – Amplifying Voices; Restoring Belonging

Avigail Levine is head of marketing and ecosystem relations at Samsung Next TLV in Tel Aviv. She originally studied law, and spent the first years of her career in legal roles, and moved into the tech industry in 2013, where she has held a series of roles including head of portfolio development at a venture capital fund. She is a co-founder and advisor at Restart, whose goal is to help wounded soldiers reintegrate into “real life” after a life changing event. She is also a fellow podcaster at Ma Batafkid, where she broadcasts about non-techie roles in the start-up ecosystem.

Our discussion covers Avigail’s decision to leave law and build a career in tech, even if it meant starting at a lower level on the career ladder, and how she advanced through the area.

Shruti Van Dyke Gandhi – Navigating an Array of Opportunities in Venture Capital

Shruti Van Dyke Gandhi is General Partner and Founding Engineer at Array Ventures which invests in enterprise deep tech early-stage companies. Shruti is also a professor in the computer science department at Columbia University. She spent her early career as a developer on mainframe security, collaboration tools, and data analytics. Post engineering, she invested in early-stage companies at True Ventures and Samsung’s venture fund. She is also the recipient of Chicago Booth 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award at Chicago.

Adam Demuyakor of Wilshire Lane Capital – On Ghost Kitchens, Self Storage and other Prop Tech Opportunities

Adam Demuyakor is the founder and managing partner at Wilshire Lane Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on PropTech solutions based in Los Angeles California.  Born in the US to a family originally from Ghana, Adam started out on Wall Street in investment banking and held a number of private equity and venture capital roles before found in Wilshire Lane.  He also holds a number of Board roles and is a Board of Trustee of the education nonprofit 9 Dots.

The GAIN Summer Internship 2021 – Reflections, Highlights, Insights

In October 2020 GAIN (Girls are Investors) launched its inaugural Summer 2021 internship programme and received applications from nearly 200 talented young women from 48 universities.  Through 22 partner investment management firms, they offered internships to 25 young women in Summer 2021 with additional firms participating in the programme on an ongoing basis.

In this podcast we meet with three of those students to discuss their internship experience. 

Shalom Lloyd – From The Kingdom of Essan to Harrods: A Journey of Impact

Shalom Lloyd had a career of over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry and then went on to found two businesses. She is the founder of Naturally Tribal skincare and the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of eMQT. She has been a keynote speaker on the topic of innovation and was a fellow of the Start-Up Leadership Program in London until 2020.

A serial entrepreneur, Shalom studied pharmacy in Russia from the age of 15 and there followed a passion for the pharma industry, which sparked her two start-ups – in beauty and the field of medical research. Each venture is focused also on creating impact and employment in the Kingdom of Esan. This podcast also features in our Diverse Founders series.

Bonus Episode – Adam Demuyakor of Wilshire Lane Capital – On Ghost Kitchens, Self Storage and other Prop Tech Opportunities

Adam Demuyakor is the founder and managing partner at Wilshire Lane Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on PropTech solutions based in Los Angeles California. Born in the US to a family originally from Ghana, Adam started out on Wall Street in investment banking and held a number of private equity and venture capital roles before found in Wilshire Lane. He also holds a number of Board roles and is a Board of Trustee of the education nonprofit 9 Dots.Our conversation starts with his family roots, and the expectations that accompanied his schooling and career choices. We hear how he came to be interested in real estate and how he gained experience in both the private and public side of the business, and ultimately the vision with which he launched his own firm. This is an opportunity for our discussion to dive into PropTech and discuss what the technology that is transforming real estate looks like, and how these theses are playing out. Among some of the concepts discussed are Ghost Kitchens and the new look Self Storage outfits, and we discuss some of the business models that are exciting him most at this juncture.As an early stage venture capital firm, Wilshire Lane Capital, is highly focused on the entrepreneurs and their vision that they support, and many of them are diverse founders themselves. In fact in an industry in which female and black and brown founders are poorly represented, Wilshire Lane is breaking the mould – 36% of their companies are led by women outright, 29% of their companies have a black founder on them, and 79% of their companies have an underrepresented minority or a female in the C suite. Wilshire Lane Capital recently entered into a strategic partnership with Nile Capital which sponsored our original diverse founders and VCs series, and we speak about how these ideas came together. We speak about 9 Dots, a nonprofit, based in Los Angeles, that focuses on providing subsidized computer science courses for the poorest students in the city. Adam shares why this is one of the most fulfilling of all of his roles. Finally, we discuss some highs and lows of his career so far, what Adam looks for in a founder and what it means to pass the “Shower Test”. This podcast will feature in our mini-series featuring professionals from the Ghanaian diaspora as well as our second diverse founders and venture capitalist series.

Constance Freedman of Moderne Ventures – A Modern Masterclass in Innovation through Networking

Constance Freedman is Founder and Managing Partner at Moderne Ventures as well as Moderne Passport – an early-stage investment fund and industry immersion program which is focused on investing in technology companies in and around the multi-trillion dollar industries of real estate, finance, insurance, hospitality and home services. It has just closed its (over-subscribed) second fund at over $200 m. She sits on numerous boards and has received several awards including Crain’s Business 40 under 40 and Chicago Top Tech 50 (on three occasions).

A fascinating discussion of PropTech and how creating a networking and mentorship ecosystem has been the secret to a successful venture capital fund.

Alexandra Noble – Strategy, Purpose and Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders

Alexandra Noble is an independent strategic advisor to financial institutions and charities, and has a particular interest in mentoring the next generation of investment leaders. Her portfolio career includes a consulting role for Pensions for Purpose, coaching and strategic advice to firms, a Chair role at Future-Fit Ltd and roles as a charity trustee and director.

A look-back at an extraordinary career forged in the days before diversity was a theme, and continued now by giving back wisdom to the next generation of leaders, particularly needed in todays complex world.