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Andrea Hippeau

Promoting diversity in Venture Capital

WOMEN LEADERS ISSUE

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Andrea Hippeau

“Venture capital is about capturing the value between the start-up phase and the public company phase.” - Fred Wilson.

When everyone starts their day reading newspapers, blogs, online news feed, and bulletin, a venture capitalist starts one's day looking for potential, innovation and thoughtful minds- giving wings to their dreams. One such role- defining venture capitalist is Andrea Hippeau. She spends her day putting faith into founders, walking in their shoes and giving their plans execution flights. Trusting on her instincts and mastering due diligence has got her far in the industry where very few dares to be in!

Chic Career Capitalist

Andrea Hippeau is a Principal at Lerer Hippeau. Prior to joining Lerer Hippeau, she held management and business development roles at portfolio companies The Dodo and Bark & Co. Andrea worked in corporate development while at Advance Publications and managed client relationships for Thomson Reuters. After studying French and business management at Skidmore College, she went on to get her MBA from Columbia Business School.

A healthy eater, Andrea looks forward to her boxes of veggie-based meals from Hungryroot. She is also a dog mom, an equestrian who loves riding, competing and is the co-founder of Free x Rein.

A long-term relationship

Lerer Hippeau is an early-stage venture capital fund. Lerer Hippeau was founded in 2010 and is based in New York City, New York.

The firm considers investments heavily in leading early-stage companies in the media, consumer and enterprise sectors. It seeks to invest largely in startups in New York. The firm supports agile people who have a passion for their company instead of focusing just on metrics. They seek entrepreneurs with product vision, consumer insight, focused execution, and unwavering ambition. “You know that the business is going to change a million times, but at the end of the day, you’re focused on backing really smart and talented people”, Andrea explains.

Welcoming diversity

According to PitchBook data in 2017, only 2.2% of all venture capital in the United States went to companies founded solely by women, only 4.4% of transactions went to female-founded companies and only 11.3% of partners at venture capitalist firms were women.

Lerer Hippeau, on the other hand, has vowed to bring more and more diversity to the business world. The fund has promoted the most female-founded companies in the New York metropolitan area. Their catalog of female-founded companies includes LOLA, Glossier, Dia&Co, Birchbox, andWayUp.

Encouraging women decision makers

Andrea has established herself as a promising venture capitalist. When asked she gave a very unique insight to women entrepreneurs who are trying to raise funds for their company “Seek out female members on the investment team even if they are not at the partner level – they are more influential than you think. When I meet with a female entrepreneur, especially when it is a product or service for women, I can tell that the founder can instantly relax because they don’t have to explain to me how a tampon works (that actually happened with our portfolio company LOLA) or why women love jewelry. It is a great way to get an advocate for your company within the firm”.

When Andrea set herself out in venture capital there weren’t enough women at the partner level in venture capital. It was hard for a junior level woman to get excited about a career in venture capital if she doesn’t see career growth there.

Andrea thus urges female entrepreneurs to be self-confident, follow their instincts and believe in their work. Being a self-starter is also really important. One should learn to follow their gut. She says, “Try to use the fact you’re a female to your advantage, even when it seems insurmountable. Use opportunities directed to you. Take a disadvantage and turn it into an advantage”. And most importantly do what you love, be yourself and never get confused.

“Don’t change who you are because you think that’s what is expected of you. If we were all truer to ourselves, we’d all be a bit better off”

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