VEN·TURE CA·PI·TA·LIST (VC)
An investor who either provides capital to startup ventures or supports small companies that wish to expand but do not have access to equities markets.
Called the "most powerful woman in startups", VC Ann Miura-Ko is the co-founder and partner of Silicon Valley VC firm Floodgate.
She was an early spotter of ride-hailing unicorn Lyft and also invested in machine intelligence software maker Ayasdi and Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired in February 2016 for a reported more than $400 million.
While Ann's story isn't exactly a "f*ck-up", it should definitely be shared. We're talking about a bigger story here: the massive gender gap in tech, and how Ann Miura-Ko overcame it.
"If anything, I've changed career paths probably more times than most people ever will in a lifetime." Ann thought she was going to be a doctor (she took the MCAT), a lawyer (she also took the LSAT), or a graduate from business school (and then she took the GMAT).
However, an unlikely event happened. While giving tours of her campus at Yale, she ended up showing Lewit Platt, the CEO of Hewlett Packard around campus.
During the tour, he offered her the opportunity to shadow him during her spring break. She took him up on the offer.
When she returned back to her college campus, Lewis sent her two photos: One was a picture of herself, sitting next to Lew, talking to him. The second picture was Bill Gates, who had visited that week. He was sitting exactly where she had sat.
After that moment, not through words but through photographs, someone suggested to her that maybe she should dream a bigger dream.
In the earliest stage of her career, the term "investor" was lacking a diverse mix of people. There simply weren't women Ann Miura-Ko could look up to.
"There isn't a multitude of people where you could just point to that person and say, 'That's the person I am going to be in 10, 20, 30 years.' And I think that's what's tough." - Ann Miura-Ko.
While things are changing for women in the startup and VC world, the percentage of women-founded venture-backed companies globally has plateaued at approximately 17 percent since 2012.
However, Ann soon became one of the top VCs in the industry. Some of Ann’s investments include Lyft, Ayasdi, Xamarin, Refinery29, JoyRun, TaskRabbit, and Modcloth.
Now, in addition to serving at FLOODGATE, Ann serves on the Yale Corporation Investment Committee and is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Stanford University.
Moral of the story? Stop stressing and start enjoying the journey of discovery.
"I used to always try to have a 10-year plan, which was totally excessive... What I discovered along the way was that my career was emergent. I actually only knew the next step, and I only knew it when I found it." - Ann Miura-Ko.