The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Susan Lyne, AOL
At the Shift: Accelerating Corporate and Venture Partnerships conference in New York at the end of October, Susan Lyne, president and founder of BBG Ventures, a VC firm backed by AOL, said it was “important to get women at the investment table”.
She referenced Jess Lee, Polyvore’s CEO, who had recently joined prestigious venture capital firm Sequoia Capital as its first female investing partner in the US.
Lyne herself had taken charge of a then new AOL investment fund backing female founders in September 2014.
The $10m-$12m Build Fund focused on finding early-stage consumer internet and mobile companies with at least one female founder. One of its earliest deals in 2014 had been a $2m seed round for Beautycon, a US-based beauty media, event and e-commerce company, which in March this year raised $9m from investors including media company A+E Networks.
And she has already been seeing some successes, with Scripps Networks Interactive this month agreeing to acquire online food publication Spoon University, a New York-based digital food publication, for about $10m compared with the $2m in venture funding it raised from investors, including BBG Ventures.
BBG Ventures grew out of AOL’s BuiltByGirls initiative, founded by Nisha Dua, also now a partner at BBG, which “aims to inspire and support women and girls to claim their place in the tech-enabled economy by imagining and building the great products of the future or by tapping technology to power their work, play and passions”. BBG Ventures has just expanded Wave, a programme that pairs young women with mentors in technology companies, to 350 from 150 mentors. Lyne was previously chief executive of AOL’s brands group.
Prior to joining AOL in 2013, she was chairman of online shopping website Gilt Groupe and stepped down from Gilt’s board in February after department store chain Hudson’s Bay Company agreed to acquire Gilt for $250m. Despite being one of the largest exits of the year, it came less than five years after Gilt raised $138m at a $1bn valuation and had total funding of about $290m.
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