Hi there 👋 The Let's Start Up Newsletter has a new name, but the same content!
Welcome to No Longer Overlooked, a newsletter, curated by me, Janine Sickmeyer, a tech founder turned investor. Follow me as I share startup tips, industry news, founders you should know, and investors putting their money where their mouth is.
What's In This Issue 🗞
A brief look into what you'll be reading about
Loneliness and change for entrepreneurs
More on my new fund, Overlooked Ventures
Founders you should keep an eye on
Inclusivity in venture and cameras
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
Something that people don't talk enough about is how isolating it is to be an entrepreneur. Building a startup from scratch takes grit, perseverance, and also a lot of time. The time you used to spend going out with friends is now sucked up by customer discovery and bug testing. But that's what makes a founder special. It's that sense of purpose and determination that is so electric that you can't do anything else.
When I started my first business, I lost a lot of friends. I stopped going out to the bars and tailgating on the weekends and instead I spent my nights drinking a pot of coffee and cranking out code. But that's also how I grew.
My therapist told me once that you can't have change without loss. Losing friends and support from family is something that tells me I'm growing.
This past week since the announcement of Overlooked Ventures, the community support we received had me in tears. I wasn't expecting the response we got and the resounding approval validated our purpose for the fund. But even with all of the positive comments and excitement in my inbox about it, I still suffered mom guilt, leaving me in tears again for a different reason.
I called my mom to cry and she said to me in only a way that she can, "Let me tell you something... you are NOT the first woman to ever experience mom guilt and you certainly won't be the last. I was a working mother and dealt with it my whole life. This is not unique to you. So you just keep building your business and ignore those who don't stand by you. You know what's right for your family." And she was right (as always).
Here's the thing... this fund is what I am meant to do. I know it because when I think about the purpose and the mission, it is so electric that I can't do anything else.
I know I will lose friends along the way, lose support from those I love, and will end up feeling alone. That's what it's like to start something new. But I also know that with time, I will form new friendships and partnerships with others who align with the same mission and we will band together and be so loud about the purpose that we cannot be ignored.
And together, we will be No Longer Overlooked.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Things I care about that I want to share
Over the last few weeks, things have been pretty eventful on our end. As many of you probably already know I just launched Overlooked Ventures with my partner Brandon Brooks. Our new venture fund is focused on supporting historically ignored founders through capital, resources, and connections. On behalf of myself and the entire OV team, I am so amazed by all of the kindness and support the venture and startup community have given us. We're currently taking LP interest for our debut fund, and we can't wait to deploy capital into those who need it the most - overlooked founders. Below you can find the press coverage of our launch and venture fund.
Venture capitalists are leaving more than $4 trillion on the table by not investing in diverse founders. Yes, you read that right. $4 trillion. In 2020, only 2.3% of all venture capital went to women founders and less than 1.0% to startups with a Black founder. Overlooked Ventures was formed by myself and Brandon Brooks to deploy $50M into untapped talent. Read the origin story of Overlooked Ventures investing in 80–100 industry-agnostic startups in tech, tech-enabled, and D2C, with check sizes between $150–250K.
A three-part series from Columbus Business First
Columbus Business First reporter Carrie Ghose covered Overlooked Ventures in not one but THREE articles. Her thorough reporting explained just about everything about the fund, including an introduction to the fund, how we plan to raise $50M for Fund I, and how we're going to generate returns on inclusive VC investing.
Over the last few years, I've had a few different roles. After founding my tech company and acting as CEO for nearly 6 years, my company was acquired. From there on I started angel investing and advising, which led to meeting Brandon Brooks and starting Overlooked Ventures. Learn about my trail in this Forbes Q&A interview.
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out (in the past few weeks)
Ruth Ann Harnisch said that "Finance is the final frontier of feminism." Let's talk about economic equality. Many women aren't investing. In fact, 61% of women would rather talk about death than their finances. But women are regretting not investing. The good news is that investing isn't as difficult as you think, and it doesn't have to be risky.
Historically, cameras haven't been capturing darker skin tones as well as they have lighter ones. Snapchat is changing this by creating an inclusive camera for everyone. Bertrand Saint-Preux is the lead for this creation and has first-hand experienced that the filters have lightened his skin tone or haven't been able to show him in darker lighting. He's changing this so that everyone can be seen by the camera in the way that they want to be seen and how they are.
Naj Austen, the founder of Ethel's Club, created a new social media platform that isn't like the others. Somewhere Good doesn't feel as much like a social network as it does as a "kickback." Instead of mindlessly scrolling, Naj believes people want collectivism in a post-covid world. That's why Somewhere Good is a digital world where we dream, share, cite, and hang together. Somewhere Good just announced that they secured $3.75 million in a seed round led by True Ventures to expand and grow the platform.
Maya Horgan Famodu is the founder of Ingressive Capital, but at the beginning of her career, she didn't always have success. Her firm is a $10M fund and is based in Lagos, Nigeria with a history of backing Nigerian fintech companies. As a former JP Morgan Chase employee, Maya Horgan was optimistic about breaking into the VC industry in Africa, but she hit a lot of roadblocks along the way.
Anjali Sud, the CEO of Vimeo, took the company public this week on May 25th. Her son gave her good luck hugs just before she rang the opening bell. In the first quarter of 2021, Vimeo reported $89.4 million in revenue and $3.3 million in net profit. Congratulations to Anjali Sud and Vimeo for this huge win!
Maria Gilfoyle, a gen z mental health advocate and a Venture Fellow at Armory Square Ventures, has been tracking mental health tech startups and created a list of over 100 of them. In this article, she gives a rundown of mental health in the U.S., how the pandemic has changed the conversation, and how technology can improve mental health.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the week
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Walk the Walk 💰
Investors putting their money where their mouth is
Collab Capital, founded by Jewel Burks, Justin Dawkins, and Barry Givens and based in Atlanta, just closed their first fund! They plan to write checks between $500–750K in 50 startups over the next 3-5 years.
Shila Nieves Burney was pretty close to giving up on venture capital after losing out on a big deal. But she was encouraged by her daughter to keep going, so she continued and is currently working on raising $25 million, already backed by a big name like Bank of America.
Shwetha Pai of OrgAnalytix, Adam Brown of ClinArk, Allen Woods of Mortar, and Candice Matthews Brackeen of Lightship Cap are teaming up to bring diversity to their startup community. They're spearheading initiatives and programs to make DEI a part of Cincinnati's identity.
It's 2021. We aren't putting up with investors who are making comments about pregnancy. Joanna Griffiths disqualified all investors who questioned her pregnancy and raised over $50 million.
Silicon Valley Magazine named Sarah Kunst of Cleo Capital as a VC taking over the world, among other amazing women in venture capital. Check out her Twitter thread to see more VCs who were featured.
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Founders making moves
Bre Cruickshank, CEO & Founder of Radical Girl Gang
Bre Cruickshank founded Radical Girl Gang, an online marketplace to shop for emerging women-owned brands. The platform is on a mission to amplify women entrepreneurs. Every purchase a customer makes on Radical Girl Gang supports the advancement of women entrepreneurs. Bre Cruickshank is leading the movement to shop women-owned. Radical Girl Gang has everything From clothing, jewelry, home goods, and more featuring brands like High Sun Low Moon and Feminist Goods Co. And I have to mention that their website is dreamy!
Jhanelle Elissa, Founder & CEO of Jiive
Jiive is an events platform for real-life community and live experiences. Founded by Jhanelle Elissa, a creative performer with 10+ years of experience in the events industry, Jiive is hosting events already in New York, Chicago, Florida, and California. In a post-covid world, Jiive is focused on improving socialization and helping strengthen social bonds. This subscription-based events platform and app includes Jiive hosted events and individual hosted events. Keep tabs on their website to see when Jiive comes to your city!
What Founders Need to Know 🤔
Advice and resources you didn't know you needed.
Copy that leads to conversions: Jeremy Moser has written over 100 landing pages and home pages. He wrote out 10 copywriting tips that are sure to help you get conversions like adding in a How it Works section or asking compelling questions.
The Chief of Staff role in Silicon Valley: Julia DeWahl served as a Chief of Staff at OpenDoor as they scaled to 800 employees. The Chief of Staff role is an important one, here's everything you need to know about it and how to hire someone to fill it.
Playing the Long Game in Venture Capital: Venture capital often values youth and quick wins. However, the long game is beneficial upfront. Mark Suster explains how joining and investing in late-stage companies brings great returns.
Getting good at data: If you want to get good at marketing, you need to get good at data. Mastering marketing metrics and Google Analytics are a great way to start.
5 Steps to More Inclusive Consumer Research: Build a proactive and honest relationship with BIPOC consumers with great research. Learn how to get started in this guide from our friend Nagela Daniels at SLCo & Agency!
Sales isn't always product-market fit: Just because you're making money, doesn't mean your product fits the market. Jai Malik defines product-market fit as "how" you generate revenue.
Funders Funding Funds for Founders 🚀
Carta Ventures is a firm that invests in emerging fund managers with a goal to be one of the first checks in a fund. They partner with investors as LPs and build the future.
Bain Capital is now funding young VC firms in addition to funding young startups. The firm just announced a $350 million fund for growth-stage opportunities and investing directly into emerging managers.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
AllRaise is tweeting out Forces of Nature Fridays to celebrate founder wins!
You shouldn't be asked to finish a meeting when you're going in labor.
Founders: do not ever pay to pitch!
If you want to learn more about venture capital, order this children’s book for adults or kids.
Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time. And don’t forget to share No Longer Overlooked with your community!