No Longer Overlooked - Issue 32 | More doors can open once you let that one close 🚪👋🏼
POV: You're a founder building a startup
Hi there 👋 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
How to handle rejections
Updates from OV
Articles that hit the stands
Investors making a change
Founders creating something big
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
Hearing no isn’t fun but unfortunately, it happens all the time in life and in the startup/VC world. Out of the hundreds of applications you send out, you’re bound to get a rejection every once in a while. That doesn’t mean your idea or organization isn’t good enough.
As someone who has received hundreds of nos as a founder pitching VCs and a VC pitching LPs, I’ve gotten a handle on how to deal with rejection.
It’s hard not to take rejection personally, after all it is your company or idea. But it’s important to handle rejection in a way that doesn’t burn a bridge that might help you get a yes in the future. It could just be a matter of timing.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle rejection. Here’s how to make a positive impression after a rejection.
If you think you were the perfect fit for the job, portfolio, or whatever it may be, say that. It will leave a lasting impact.
And if you didn’t get a lot of information about why you were turned down, ask. You might not get an answer, but it never hurts to try.
What do I have to do to change your no to a yes?
Can you share feedback on why you passed?
At Overlooked Ventures, we always say “a no today isn’t a no forever” because sometimes it’s just timing. A VC fund might not have the money in the bank to say yes today but doesn’t want to string you along so out of courtesy, passes, with the hope to stay in touch.
While you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle rejection, you can also tell a lot about a person by how they reject. Some people will lead you on then ghost you, but at the end of the day, you’re better off without them.
More doors can open once you let that one close 🚪👋🏼
The best VCs, LPs, and employers send rejections with empathy. As a founder myself, I know what it’s like to be passed on. That’s why we use our pass emails to give resources and information to help the founder beyond “it’s not a fit.”
It takes a lot of practice to get better at rejections. And the only way to do that is to put yourself out there. Use the rejections to fuel your fire (in private) and build more bridges to get yes’s instead of burning those bridges down.
Read my thread on handling rejections here.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Things I care about that I want to share
Overlooked Ventures published our February Diversity Stats Report earlier this month. We receive applications every day, so this data has changed a bit since we gathered it, however, we are proud of all that we accomplished so far!
Welcome OV’s newest portfolio company, The Difference! Founded by Bea Arthur, The Difference is the first on-demand therapy service for companies and communities. Unlike other providers, The Difference works directly with organizations to provide their members or employees with access to mental health benefits!
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Global funding in January reached $60 billion, according to Crunchbase. Tiger Global Management, Sequoia, Softbank, and other big names led many of the investments in January. In addition to a large sum of venture capital invested, many firms closed on multi-billion dollar funds.
Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton launched her new startup Runner, a labor marketplace that connects startups with operations people looking for part-time work. The platform employs operation folks in tech as part-time professionals under a W-2 classification to provide more protection and stability.
The 230-year-old stock market is moving into NFTs. They filed for a trademark to register “NYSE” as a marketplace for NFTs. Currently, we have no shortage of NFT marketplaces with about 60 companies operating. NFTs are more mainstream than ever, but what does it mean now that the NYSE is getting into the game?
Harlem Capital published its report on the 870 Black and Latino startups that raised over $1 million of venture funding in 2021. Their analysis includes the founders’ biggest round by stage, the industries they’re in, HQ locations, their investors, and tons more!
One of Overlooked Ventures’ portfolio companies was featured in the Alexa Skills Set Blog. Megan Gray, the CEO and Founder of Moment AI, was profiled for changing the way we drive with AI. Read the article to learn more about Megan and the other two founders highlighted!
LendingTree published a study that found only 1% of businesses in Pittsburgh are black-owned. Pittsburgh has one of the lowest rates of Black-owned businesses, with the national average at 2.4%. Brandon Brooks, a Pittsburgh native, was quoted for his thoughts on the findings and his suggestions for change.
Jade Kearney founded She Matters after having postpartum depression while completing her second master's degree at NYU. There was a lack of mental health professionals who could help her navigate postpartum depression as a Black woman.
Business Insider published their list of Black investors putting money into diverse startup founders. These 37 Black VCs are creating change by investing in overlooked startup founders. Brandon Brooks of OV was featured among other Black VCs making a difference!
Venture Forward featured 15 Black VCs who are making a big impact. Although Black VCs are underrepresented in VC, there are so many change-makers who are diversifying the industry. Brandon Brooks was recognized as one of the 15 Black VCs who are rising stars to watch, community catalyzers, and investors making a significant impact.
Garry Tan of Initialized Capital, a San Francisco-based firm that invests in seed startups, was featured in Tech Crunch for his successful track record. The firm and Gary have invested in 19 companies at their seed stages that have become unicorns. The companies include Coinbase, Instacart, and Patreon.
Allison Long Pettine, founding partner at adastra.ventures and managing partner at Ridge Group Investments, shares advice on how women entrepreneurs can maximize funding potential. Her advice includes being authentic, investing is a two-way street, and don’t leave the good stuff on the cutting room floor.
In India, more women are taking jobs at venture capital and private equity firms. In fact, the proportion of women at these firms grew from 15% in 2018 to 23% in 2021, according to a report by WinPE-BCG. PE/VC firms in India aren’t seeing as much growth in Senior levels, however, more women are joining at the entry level across the operating and investing sides.
Elliott Robinson, Partner of Growth Equity at Bessemer Ventures and Board Member at nonprofit group Blck VC, spoke at the 2022 Upfront Summit in Los Angeles about the diversity BS in venture capital. During the conversation, he shared how VC can do better and support Black founders and venture capitalists.
Morgan Stanley recently held a panel discussion featuring alumni from POCIT (People of Color in Tech) where they talked about access to funding, the Black wealth gap, and other challenges unique to Black founders. Read this article for the key takeaways of the panel.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Walk the Walk 💰
Investors putting their money where their mouth is
Stronghold, a payments infrastructure company, just launched its $100 million venture capital arm where it will be deploying capital into underrepresented founders, fintech, and web3.
Techstars launches accelerator program for underrepresented founders in partnership with Build in Tulsa.
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Keep an eye on these founders making moves
Rachel West | LitCheck
Solo bootstrapped founder Rachel West started LitCheck to make nights worth remembering. Now available in Atlanta, people can download the app, and based on their preferences, the app will suggest venues. Users can also rate the litness of venues and earn points! Rachel is also an Associate Product Manager at the Bleacher Report and attended Emory University!
Melanie Anuchi | Minwo
Melanie Anuchi is equal parts business and techie. She left her job as a Technical Product Manager in General Electric's Data Science Products division to build MINWO, a DE&I tech company that is centralizing Black business development with its AI-powered platform, Rialto. Rialto is a community-as-a-service platform that helps people Hustle Forward by connecting them to networks and tools and resources.
New Funds Announced 🚀
Better Tomorrow Ventures recently closed on its latest fund, which is $225M and fin-tech focused. The San Francisco-based firm was founded by Sheel Mohnot and Jake Gibson.
Former NLF player Marell Evans launched his $30 million VC fund, raising the first $20 million in just a few weeks. The firm is primarily investing in pre-seed and seed-stage B2B software companies in both the U.S. and Latin America.
Taylor Greene, formerly at Lerer Hippeau and Collaborative Fund, launched his new fund, which is a $50M seed-stage venture fund investing in promising (mostly) New York City-based founders that are leading the city’s strongest categories: fintech, healthcare, and consumer.
Forerunner Ventures debuted its first fund in 2012 and just launched its newest fund, totaling in at $1B. They are committed to serving founders and consumers over the next decade!
Hunter and Satya of Homebrew Ventures announced Homebrew IV(ever), an evergreen investment vehicle composed of their capital. They will commit capital into companies that they can put their sweat and reputation behind.
Serena Williams raised $111 million for a new venture fund! Three-quarters of its portfolio company founders come from underrepresented backgrounds.
Diversify your LP Portfolio
Invest in Africa
If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio, consider backing a venture fund that invests in African startups, like Ajim Capital founded by Eunice Ajim!
Eunice Ajim is the Founding Partner at Ajim Capital. She is a Cameroonian-American tech entrepreneur and investor with experience ranging from start-up funding and management to leading a $10M+ revenue tech startup. She is an angel investor and advisor to several African tech startups. Eunice is raising for her $10M fund at Ajim Capital, focused exclusively on backing the best African-founded B2B and B2B2C technology-driven companies across Sub-Saharan Africa at pre-seed and seed with typical check sizes of $25K to $150K.
What you need to know
Mercury, a bank for startups, launched Raise to connect Seed, Series A, and DTC startups with top investors for guidance and access to capital.
Managing people is no small feat, and there’s always room for improvement. Andreas Klinger, CTO at OnDeck, shared his advice and thoughts on people management.
Leaders don’t have to choose between compassion and performance. Here’s why according to Harvard Business Review.
Here’s how to launch an enterprise go-to-market engine in a product-led growth organization from Elliot Robinson of Bessemer Venture Partners.
When you’re funding, there’s a strategy to capital calls. Read this thread from Elizabeth Yin to learn more.
There’s a lot of jargon in the VC world. But don’t worry - VC Guide has you covered with their dictionary of common VC terms.
Community Asks 💬
Requests from our friends
Blooming Health is looking for introductions at Value-based Healthcare providers with a Medicare/Medicaid focus [including accountable care organizations (ACOs)] or people that might be connected to the space.
Startup Events 🎤
Talks & events you don’t want to miss
Hustle Fund is hosting An Oasis for Investors in Saratoga Springs, California! You’ll hear 15+ speakers over 2 days and casually chat with other startup investors. Learn more about the event and RSVP here.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.