‘Look at It as a No For Now’: Halogen Ventures’ Jesse Draper on How to Handle Rejection as an Entrepreneur

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

As the founding partner of Halogen Ventures, Jesse Draper and her team are betting big on early-stage, female-founded companies with billion-dollar potential.

In this episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, Draper discusses how she deals with rejection as a VC and how women can gain self confidence as entrepreneurs.

"Don't look at a no as a bad thing. Look at it as a 'no for now’. Or maybe you're not talking to the right person. And also, you can turn it around," Draper said.


Draper’s firm, Halogen Ventures, focuses on investing and growing consumer tech companies led by female and co-ed teams.

Before launching Halogen, Draper had a TV series called "The Valley Girl Show" where she interviewed entrepreneurs including Mark Cuban and Richard Branson. While she did get to talk to some female founders there, she said many were too early in their careers to be featured.

Draper grew up with an investor mindset from an early age. At around 10, her father bought her a share of Mattel because she loved its popular doll product, Barbie.

But even with that early exposure to markets, Draper said she had a difficult time entering the venture capital world as a woman. Networking became important as a way to be taken seriously and make the connections she needed to make.

"You know, this isn't talked about enough: You have to lose a lot of money to make money in VC. And I think people need to understand that you can't go out, raise a fund and invest in, like, five deals," Draper said.

She is a fierce advocate for investing in women and the opportunity for using technology and innovation to solve some of the biggest issues facing women and families today. Halogen Ventures, launched in 2015, now has more than 70 companies in its portfolio, including theSkimm, Babylist, ThirdLove and The Flex Company.

Jesse was listed by “Marie Claire” Magazine as one of the ‘50 Most Connected Women in America’. She is also a regular commentator on Cheddar, CNBC and CNN.

In this episode, Draper gets candid about why she didn’t think she could be a venture capitalist and how she overcame her own struggles with imposter syndrome and she shares her advice for anyone looking to manage burnout: delegate and make time for rest.

Hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast. Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA Engagement Intern Joshua Letona contributed to this post.

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Introducing 'Moves': Our New Weekly Recap of Job Changes in LA Tech

Molly Wright
Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics’ student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA’s Daily Bruin.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

This is the first installment of Moves—a weekly feature highlighting job and career changes around the Los Angeles and Southern California tech ecosystem.

Moves is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here. And if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing sharmineh@dot.LA.

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Shipment Tracking Startup Route Claims Unicorn Status After $200 Million Funding Round

Harri Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Ecommerce shipment tracking startup Route—which is based in the “Silicon Slopes” hotbed surrounding Salt Lake City but has a growing presence in Los Angeles—is now claiming unicorn status after raising $200 million in new funding at a $1.25 billion valuation.

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Workers at Activision Subsidiary Raven Software Form Labor Union

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Photo by Amr Taha™ on Unsplash
Workers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software have formed a new labor union and are seeking voluntary recognition by the Santa Monica-based video game publisher, just days after it announced plans to sell itself to Microsoft for nearly $70 billion.
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