Sharon Vosmek: How Making Money Can Be An Articulation Of Your Values

www.forbes.com
5 min read
fairly easy
Across the globe, funding for female founders lags that of male founders. While in some countries and sectors progress has been made, you could be forgiven for feeling despondent about pace of change. The antidote for despondency is 30 minutes with Sharon Vosmek.
Astia Annual Meeting & Portfolio Gathering Photo © Show Ready, @showreadyp

Across the globe, funding for female founders lags that of male founders. While in some countries and sectors progress has been made, you could be forgiven for feeling despondent about pace of change. The antidote for despondency is 30 minutes with Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, managing partner of the Astia Fund.

Astia, a global organization that works to level the investment playing field for startups, recently launching a $100 million dollar venture fund to invest in high growth companies that have women in a position of power and equity. Vosmek has been investing for the last 25 year and describes what she does as "a very personal articulation of my values."

Vosmek is emphatic that making money doesn't run against her ideals – her ideals are why she's made money. "As an investor, I've made a lot of money," says Vosmek. "I want to start there, because that's what investors do. Equally, I've driven a lot of innovation to market and I don't mean 'I' personally – I mean I've backed some incredible entrepreneurs." As an example, she mentions Alydia Health, which was recently acquired by Merck for $240 million. "Alydia Health has not only a phenomenal innovation for doctors to save lives, it is at a price point that can be used both in developed markets like the U.S. and the U.K., and emerging markets," she says.

"This is a device that when you walk up and down Sandhill Road and talk to VCs, you might have heard, if you had been sitting by my side: 'Hmm, a medical device for childbirth, that sounds like a niche market," says Vosmek. "'Aren't you ignoring half the market if you are only serving women?' Never mind this is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide and there are no good alternatives."

So why the lack of progress? "It has far less to do with men wanting to keep women out, as it has to do with different personal, social, life experiences, giving a different lens to what…
Philip Salter
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