Victoria is an active investor and advisor in the innovation economy and Managing Director of Astia, a global organization that levels the investment playing field for entrepreneurial teams with women leaders. As Managing Director, Victoria is one of four members of the Investment Team for Astia Fund, an early stage venture fund investing in women-led companies. Since 2013, Victoria has managed Astia’s direct investment activity through an international LP base made up of family offices and high net worth women and men investing in women-led companies. Under Victoria’s curation, management and investment execution, the group went from two investments to over one hundred, with more than $29M invested by Astia investors alongside over $545M in syndicate. Victoria’s personal portfolio of investments includes over 20 female led companies. Victoria was recently featured in the book “The Intelligent Investor: Silicon Valley” by Allison Davis and Matthew C. Le Merle.
Victoria brings an entrepreneurial background to her work at Astia, as the former founder of a social enterprise in the media space. For her work focused on empowering women and girls in media, Victoria was recognized as an “Action Figure” in Women’s Health Magazine (2007), received The Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund Award (2007), the Harlequin More than Words Award (2010) and was named one of "25 Visionaries Changing the World" in UTNE Reader magazine (2010).
Victoria holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University, and a BA from Stanford University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. Victoria is an Advisory Board Member of Mastercard’s Women’s Business Advisory Council. She is an arts advocate, an avid skier and scuba diver, a former amateur pilot, and mother of two.
Q: What's your investment approach?
I am Managing Director at Astia, where I am a member of the Investment Team for the Astia Fund. Prior to the Astia Fund, I managed our direct investor network, Astia Angels, and invested my own capital as an angel investor. My investment approach is therefore aligned with the Astia approach. Astia invests in companies with at least one woman in an equity-holding position of leadership, holding significant influence. We invest across high-growth industries, building a diversified portfolio across sectors and geographies. All companies must successfully pass our sourcing and screening process – the Astia Expert Sift - to be considered for funding. The Sift leverages wisdom of a highly curated, highly expert crowd to assess opportunities and is designed to remove bias from the process.
Q: What tech trends are you excited about?
I am excited when technology is used to solve the large problems of today, and in particular those relating to inequity and the environment. As one example, I am excited about innovation within fintech that creates more financial access and training to underserved communities. Especially coming out of COVID, there is such a huge need for technology to help reduce the inequalities that have only been exacerbated during this time. We have three companies in the portfolio that are representative of this – Goalsetter, a family savings and financial literacy platform that is especially focused on communities of color, CreditEnable, a platform using AI to facilitate the approval of small business loans in emerging countries and CNote, a platform uniquely enabling institutional investment into underserved communities at scale. I am less excited about the newest chat apps and anything related to influencers and social media. That being said, I would be very excited to back an AI technology that helps me truly and effectively manage my out of control email inbox!!
Q: What's your advice for female founders trying to raise funds for their startup?
Fundraising is all about relationships, and relationships are not built overnight. Start building an advisory network early, as your early advisors can often become your first investors. In general, do not consider a “no” as a forever – consider that a “no for now” and keep that investor updated periodically. If your startup is very early stage, consider joining an accelerator program as they can often provide access to valuable advisor and investor networks, however be sure to do your homework by talking with alumni entrepreneurs so that you select a program that you are confident will be a value-add.
Q: Past investments/portfolio companies you’ve been involved in?
I have over twenty companies in my personal portfolio, which range in stage and sector and all have women in leadership positions. Three have had terrific exits, two have failed, the rest are doing really well. I don’t have a favorite, I like them all and believe the world is a better, more interesting place because of each of them. I really dig all the founders – they have great vision, great integrity and a lot of grit – all of which are necessary for success.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I am now fully focused on the Astia Fund – from raising the fund, to deploying capital, to working with our Fund portfolio companies to help support their success. My goal is for the fund to be so successful that it puts to rest once and for all any questions and doubts around the value of investing into women and inclusive teams!