Kara Nortman: “We can’t all be flame throwers”
In 2018, it’s become fashionable to identify as a “female VC” or a “female founder.”
It’s even become badass to hold a baby while ringing an IPO bell, or have the courage to take full maternity leave. VCs at major firms like Sequoia’s Jess Lee are even declaring themselves “the girly investor.”
I’ll take all of that from the Silicon Valley I moved to where calling a female VC a female VC was considered an insult. Words matter. So do actions though-- or more to the point, so does capital invested. And I’m anxious to see how many more women get funded as a result of all this arm linking in 2018. Because so far the numbers, and the anecdotes I hear from women raising, are still pretty bleak.
Kara Nortman is one of those VCs who started pulling groups of women together and talking about these issues, before it became the thing everyone was doing. She’s a general partner at UpFront ventures, one of the more outspoken firms when it comes to diversity and equality. (For instance, general partner Mark Suster was one of the only VCs to weigh in on the scandal surrounding VC Shervin Pishevar.)
Still, Nortman’s style isn’t to be a flamethrower. It’s more measured and diplomatic, but also more direct and consistent.
In this episode of our “Uterus is a feature not a bug” podcast we talk to Nortman about how and when to stand up for women in rooms full of men. We talk about how another working mom eased her transition back into work, back when she was at IAC. And we talk about her friendship with other badass women like Kerry Washington.