Behind Her Empire: Hitha Palepu on Women Founders and the 'True' Failure

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.

Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals CEO Hitha Palepu joins this week's Behind Her Empire to talk about how she became an angel investor focused on women-founded businesses and her latest book, "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris."

Palepu is the daughter of immigrants who came to the U.S. from India. Her father lost his hearing when he was 10 years old. He got through school by lip reading; it wasn't until he arrived in the states he got his first hearing aid.


"All he wanted was the chance to get started in the scientific world. He had his master's in chemistry," said Palepu. He worked scrubbing toilets at McDonalds while trying to land a job as a bench chemist. Her mother left behind a life of privilege in India.

"I think that sums up who I am today, I was born a daughter of incredibly tenacious, hard-working parents who got rejected over and over and over again, and never let that stop them," said Palepu.

With the help of her parent's money manager, Palepu realized she could become a serious investor. It wasn't until about her third investment she felt like calling herself an actual investor.

"I do like to get my hands dirty with my companies and help out however I can. I'm not here to tell them how to run [them], I invest in people that I trust to run their companies," said Palepu.

She learned quickly that women face more hurdles as CEO and investors, as opposed to men, who often get a pass when their companies fail.

"It makes me so mad," she said. "Not only are we not allowed to fail, [but] the business press loves building up a woman CEO or any underrepresented CEO or founder just to tear them down."

For Papelu, business losses don't define failure. "There's just a failure to progress, staying still and not growing and not striving and not learning. That's the true failure."

In this wide-ranging conversation, we hear about Papelu's time in the corporate world, why she ultimately decided to go out on her own, and the many lessons she learned from her first "failure" in the startup world.

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Halogen Ventures’ Jesse Draper on How to Make It as a Woman in VC

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 change their approach to hearing ‘no’.

"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.

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PC Maker NZXT Raises $103.5 Million to Help Gamers Navigate the Chip Shortage

Harrison Weber

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

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

As gamers struggle to get their hands on key components including graphics chips, a PC company that’s offering a workaround of sorts just raised $103.5 million, according to a recent regulatory filing.
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Workers at Activision Blizzard Studio Raven Software Walk Out, Protesting Layoffs

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

Embattled video game publisher Activision Blizzard is facing its third work stoppage in the last five months as employees at its subsidiary studio Raven Software walked out to protest layoffs of its quality assurance testers.

Employees have staged other walkouts in recent months to call attention to Activision’s handling of ongoing complaints of rampant gender inequality and sexual harassment within the company. This has happened in tandem with calls from employees and activist investors for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign over his handling of the ongoing scandal.

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