Nisha Dua

Partner, BBG Ventures and Founder, #BUILTBYGIRLS

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 08, 2016

Discussion

Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
Hi - I'm Nisha Dua, partner at BBG Ventures and founder of #BUILTBYGIRLS. I'm excited to be here. I invest in female founders and consumer start-ups. We think at least half of the next decade's unicorns will be led by women - so we're also passionate about the next generation of female founders - and we're gearing up for the #BUILTBYGIRLS Challenge Pitch Day tomorrow in San Francisco. Ask me anything about the Challenge, backing girls in tech to female founders and investing in consumer start-ups.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Nisha, thanks so much for joining us today! What piece of advice do you often find yourself giving to young female founders and women in general looking to get into the tech industry?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@ems_hodge happy to be here! Young female founders - explore a bunch of different roles, talk to as many people as you can. At #BUILTBYGIRLS we're working on matching high school girls with women (and men) across all roles in tech from product dev, UX/UI to hardware to ecommerce - it's exposure to a variety of different paths that will help them nail what they love, what gives them energy and ultimately help them be successful in tech (great advice for all of us)
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@ems_hodge but practically speaking, we also train young women in the power of networking, introducing yourself to people, expanding your networks, learning from experts - it's a hard skill to learn when you're 16, but it's critical
Nipun Gupta@nipungupta · Veni. Vidi. VC. Podcast
Hi Nisha, congratulations for starting a great initiative for female founders. Are your investments restricted to founders located in United States ? If not, please give us examples of non-American entrepreneurs that BBG has invested in.
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@nipungupta in Fund I we've been focused on the US - we like to spend as much time with our founders as possible, and investing in the US means we can spend quality time with them
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week - who would it be and why?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@bentossell Mark Zuckerberg. Might not be an original answer, but if you want to look at where the world of media is going, you can always look to what Facebook is focusing on - his execution of that strategy, and his foresight is remarkable. However, I might be answering the question "If I got to live inside the brain of a tech CEO for a week" ...
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@nish67 haha valid either way for my question :) thanks!!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered when building and launching #BUILTBYGIRLS? What were some positive and negative surprises along the way?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@tomstocklein 1) Biggest Challenge - being confused with being a coding program; to us code is just the beginning --> we're focused on how to encourage and support young women to be leaders in tech, which could be in any career; 2) Biggest Positive Surprise - the number of men who are some of our biggest advocates. We might be called #BUILTBYGIRLS but the platform is about as inclusive as any movement. Women's movements should not about exclusivity.
Anthony Stylianou@anthony_stylianou · Social Media Manager, CatchApp
Hi Nisha, hope your well. What specifically do you look for when investing in female founders? Being the founder of #BUILTBYGIRLS, what has been the biggest challenge for you in growing the organisation and driving awareness to the challenges? Finally, from the consumer start-ups you have invested in, would you be able to give your top 3 favourites? Looking forward to your reply, Regards, Anthony
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@anthony_stylianou now is the best time to be a young woman excited by tech; we've found that partnering with incredible organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, Kode with Klossy, Girl Scouts, amongst others has been the right way to drive awareness.
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@anthony_stylianou and another point on awareness for the #BUILTBYGIRLS Challenge - the rule is the same for us, as it is for any start-up: go where your audience is. For example, during deadline week, my team of 2 and I spent three days directly messaging girls involved in tech programs to encourage them to apply to the Challenge before the deadline. You have to find your audience, and find them at the right moment of the funnel.
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@anthony_stylianou isn't picking favorites from your portfolio like picking your favorite children? :)
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
Hi Nisha. Thank you for your time today. Do you find that Silicon Valley expresses ageism? @karaswisher often uses the word "mirror-tocracy" describing the scene here. I've worked in tech and education since the early 1990s and (finally) have a consumer product that I want to launch. Any advice for finding angel investor opportunities for middle aged ladies?!
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@mcgrawbridget I think the advice for any entrepreneur is the same when looking for angel investors: 1) find investors who deeply believe in your idea/product/get it; 2) know your stuff back to front - an investor is backing YOU
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@nish67 Thank you. I'll look for you tomorrow at your event. Stat tuned for @CoEnchanted @kickstarter!
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Nisha! What is the best way for a non-technical person to get involved with a venture firm and investing? What are 2-3 steps you'd take?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@theo_dimarhos advising/helping start-ups for free is the best way to start; if they are funded start-ups even better - this will start to get your recommended to VCs as an expert
Honey Raj Varma@raj_ventures · Raj Ventures, R&Ds
Hey Nisha, 1) What criteria do you look for in consumer startups? 2) how do you sum up your next few years vision and mission for the company? 3) Asked already by @nipungupta what groups outside of US have you backed?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@raj_ventures @nipungupta 1) the standard criteria for many investors apply, of course - founders, opportunity and product are key -- but we're really looking for consumer founders who get how to build a great consumer brand, uniquely understand their customer, are always thinking three steps ahead and can execute; 2) we want to build one of the best seed stage funds for consumer tech start-ups, that just happen to be founded by women; and 3) still in the US today, but fascinated by the Indian market
Patrick Heffernan@patrick_heffernan
Hi Nisha, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! I'm really excited to see the #BUILTBYGIRLS finalists tomorrow - can you share more info on the finalists, what they have designed and how you think they may help more young women be empowered?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@patrick_heffernan we're blown away by the calibre of finalists tomorrow - we have everything from a 'neighborhood watch' style platform that helps crowd source safety buddies for college kids feeling unsafe to a young woman from Kansas who is using facial recognition software for early Parkinsons' diagnosis
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
Hi Nisha, thanks for chatting with us! 1. What have you found to be unique and inspiring about investing and working with women in tech? 2. Why did you choose to focus on investing in consumer startups? Are there specific skill-sets or a vision that you have that is well-suited to the consumer market vs. B2B? 3. As an investor, what have your portfolio companies taught you that you now use to evaluate future deals?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@charles_kunene 1. Women are consummate problem solvers - they approach a problem they have faced and find a way to fix it - they're the dominant users of the internet/mobile, so they have a unique symbiosis with the end user. Also, they're lean and capital conscious start-up founders.
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@charles_kunene 2. We focus on consumer because that's what we're obsessed with. I am a maniacal consumer, and so is my partner, Susan Lyne. What gets me going is - how do you create the best consumer experience, and make someone's life better/simpler/more delightful. What do you need to back that up? Building a great brand, understanding how to build a sticky product before you start paid marketing, nailing unit economics, using data and feedback loops to constantly iterate your product
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Nisha, and thank you for taking our questions today. 1. What kind of tools/websites do you use or consult to identify experts to help you with your investments? 2.Where do you look for startups in nascent industries (e.g. press/academic journals, events, websites, etc.)?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@candriopoulos the quickest answer to 1) and 2) is people over tools, websites, journals - every time. Finding experts, and looking for new and nascent start-ups is all about finding people who know more than you do. I am constantly meeting with people who know more than me, learning from them multiple times over and then asking them to introduce me to people who know even more.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
@nish67 Thank you so much Nisha for your insights.
Hi Nisha! Thanks for joining today. Would love to hear more about how you come up with the idea for #BUILTBYGIRLS Challenge?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@cgeesey Thanks Courtney! in 2015, after we launched the program, we realized that there were all these girls around the country building things as part of their coding programs - and as we talked with Reshma Saujani the CEO of Girls Who Code, we realized there were very few places to showcase them - or help these girls take them further. That was the genesis of the idea, but it really evolved when we decided we could have girls judging girls - our judges every year are 17 year old girls we've spent time giving a summer 101 in the fundamentals of VC and start-ups. That's empowering for all the contestants.
Casey Moynagh@caseymoynagh
Hi Nisha, thanks for your time today! How does the team at #BUILTBYGIRLS help the winners of the Challenge see their products through future development after Pitch Day?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@caseymoynagh thanks! It takes a village - we enlist the help of expert VCs and tech folks over the next 6-12 months. Tomorrow at the Challenge VCs from Shasta, Maveron, Kleiner and General Catalyst including @nbt @ will give feedback on their products; in the next 6 months Susan and I will do 1:1 mentoring sessions with the winning team; and we connect them with experts who can help develop their products. Last year's winners, Study Pea have already connected with folks at @ringly @spotify and @getquirky to help them with the development of the their hardware device
Kenny Knox@cukknox · Intellectual Property Attorney
Hi Nisha: What role does intellectual property play in determining whether to invest in a consumer start-up?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@cukknox depends on the start-up; it's not relevant to all, but there are cases where it drives huge value. Take our company @thesiscouture who are re-engineering the stiletto as high performance footware
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What do you think some of the biggest challenges are in making the next gen or female founders passionate? How do you plan to do it :)
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@bentossell I think they already ARE passionate; we had over 500 girls submit to the #BUILTBYGIRLS Challenge from across the country!
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@bentossell But, what we focus on at #BUILTBYGIRLS is helping young women understand that code is just the beginning - there are numerous ways to be a leader in tech - we expose them to a variety of careers and help them think about how technology can drive their success and fuel their passion - we do this through internships at BBG Ventures, monthly meets, our new advisor program, and the Challenge. Young women are incredibly passionate about tangible problem solving, so it isn't a far stretch
Stephanie Burke@stephburke10 · account associate
Hi Nisha. Thanks for taking the time. How are you judging the participants in the #BUILTBYGIRLS Challenge tomorrow? What qualities are you looking for in these founders?
Nisha Dua@nisha_dua
@stephburke10 the finalists are judged by our Girls Who Fund interns - five 17 year old girls who did a summer apprenticeship with BBG Ventures, learning the fundamentals of startup and VC 101 over 4 weeks. They learned from over 40 expert VCs and start-up founders as well as sitting in on pitch meetings. They'll be looking at 1) innovation; 2) potential for success in the market; 3) creativity; 4) technical application and for the Let Girls Build track of the competition which covers projects that use technology to improve access to education for girls around the world, 5) impact