dot.LA Summit: Women at the Top on How to Expand LA's Tech Scene

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

dot.LA Summit: Women at the Top on How to Expand LA's Tech Scene

As women in tech and venture, Kara Nortman and Robyn Ward heard a lot of nos when they started out. No we won't fund you. No, we don't have positions.

But, it was the yeses that kept them going.

"We have to expand the tent, we have to figure out how to continue. The tent needs to get bigger every day. If every one of us every day can find one more woman to bring into this tent, in some way it gets bigger and bigger," Nortman said.


Tucked away at the corner of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, with a backdrop of the ocean being disrupted by the revving of car engines, the panelists took hold of their mics and loudly welcomed dozens of attendees.

Nortman is the managing partner of Upfront Ventures, one of Los Angeles oldest and most prestigious venture firms. Ward is the CEO of FounderForward, a firm specializing in training and coaching for entrepreneurs and executives. Both talked to Dustin Rosen, managing partner at Wonder Ventures about what helped them rise to their position.

Ward's has had 20-plus years experience in the technology startup space and said it has largely been one occupied by white men. But she sees that changing.

"I walked in here today and I just reveled in the amount of women, the amount of people of color, the age. It was such a diverse group here today. And that wasn't how it was five years ago," Ward exclaimed.

Nortman said when she and Robin first started, there were "the five guys you go to for advice or the five guys you go to who built a tech company."

While there seems to be a rise in women entering the tech scene, statistics show that women in the industry are still grossly unrepresented. Female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high of 7.4% in 2020 according to Pew Research. And female founded startups still make up less than 3% of all those getting capital.

Rosen asked what men can do to support women and the upward trend of women in the tech industry.

"One of the ways that I would like men to think about this has to do with the culture they're building from and actually moving beyond diversity and actually moving into inclusion," Ward said.

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Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Netflix's New Culture Memo Addresses Censorship and Corporate Secrecy
Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

Netflix promised change after its poor first-quarter earnings. One of the first targets: the Netflix Culture document.

The changes, which Variety reported on Thursday, indicate a new focus on fiscal responsibility and concern about censorship. While promises to support honest feedback and open decision-making remain, the memo’s first update in almost five years reveals that the days of lax spending are over. The newly added “artistic expression” section emphasizes Netflix’s refusal to censor its work and implores employees to support the platform’s content.

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‘Raises’: Mahmee Secures $9.2M, Wave Financial Launches $60M Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Raises
Image by Joshua Letona
In this week’s edition of “Raises”: It was another slow week on the deal front, but one maternal health startup, with a mission to fight maternal mortality, landed a deal with growth equity business Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles-based investment firm is launching its 8th digital asset fund of $60 million.
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