Startup culture gets a bad rap—boys’ clubs, long hours, and overwork are some of the stereotypes associated with early stage companies trying to make it big. But in reality, startups have a lot to offer women who seek innovation, are making career changes, or want highly engaging, hands-on work.
Because startup life often lands you on a small team, you as an individual contributor have a big voice and the opportunity to learn a lot of new tasks firsthand. You own impactful projects, and you help to build company culture. The more women who join startups, the less likely it is that startup stereotypes will thrive.
And here’s the best news of all: InHerSight wants to make that happen for you. From June 22 to June 24, we’re partnering with DC-based venture firm Revolution and its Rise of the Rest Seed Fund on the Tech Talent Tour, a free virtual career fair featuring jobs at game-changing startups all over the U.S. Whether you’re in engineering, marketing, biz dev, or another field, this event has opportunities for you to explore new and exciting avenues for your career.
We spoke with Amira Ouji, director of portfolio engagement for Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, about why you should put this event on your calendar ASAP.
Before we talk about the event, tell us about you. What do you do for Rise of the Rest?
One hundred percent of my time is dedicated to connecting our portfolio companies to resources that will help them scale. I provide strategic input on fundraising needs, facilitate connections to the right customer base, deliver educational opportunities and support their talent needs. Prior to joining Rise of the Rest, I was the head of startup services at MetaProp—an early stage venture capital (VC) firm that focuses on real estate technology, where I built their Startup Services competency from scratch and led their 22-week accelerator program from end-to-end. Before joining MetaProp I was at Newark Venture Partners.
What is Rise of the Rest, and what is the Tech Talent Tour?
Rise of the Rest (ROTR) is a nationwide platform focused on spotlighting regional startup hubs. It is part of Revolution, the D.C.-based venture fund led by Steve Case, cofounder of AOL, and includes two ROTR Seed Funds that invest in early stage, high-growth companies across the country. The ROTR team executes a strategy of partnering with regional ecosystem leaders and coinvestors to build and scale the next wave of transformational companies. Since 2014, the ROTR bus tour has traveled to nearly 45 cities, engaging tens of thousands of people on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and startup opportunity all across the United States.
The Funds are backed by an iconic group of investors, executives and entrepreneurs, including Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, John Doerr, Sara Blakely, and Ray Dalio and are invested in more than 150 companies across 70+ cities.
Currently, 100 of our ROTR Seed Fund portfolio companies are hiring for 1,000 open roles across 50+ cities.
The inaugural Rise of the Rest Virtual Tech Talent Tour is in response to the nonstop conversation around the migration of talent. “Work. Live. Play. Rise.” is our theme as we seek to offer a broad cross-section of job seekers a window into what it is like to work, live, and play in cities across the country while also exposing people to great job opportunities in the tech and startup community..
Through a virtual format, we believe there is a special, high-impact opportunity to engage thousands of prospective job seekers in a dynamic and informative conversation about opportunity across America.
How do you decide which companies are included in the tour? Besides being startups, what makes these organizations special?
Post-investment support at ROTR is dedicated to closing strategic and operational gaps to help every portfolio company achieve “growth equity.” For a handful of our companies, finding the best talent is the next step in achieving the level of growth for which they are striving. We thoughtfully and strategically handpicked each company that is participating in the tour based on their current (1) stage, (2) hiring needs, and (3) participation requests.
The companies we invest in are uniquely designed to be the next generation of successful companies where geography is no longer a barrier.
The Tech Talent Tour includes jobs in a variety of industries, but also a lot more than that. How can women make the most of their experience during the event? Tell me the highlights you wouldn’t want to miss if you were attending yourself.
Show up, and show out. Speaking from experience, women have to raise their hand to be seen. The Tech Talent Tour will conclude with a Virtual Career Fair featuring 30+ companies across eight industries. This is a chance for women to meet with CEOs and hiring managers at companies looking for new employees. While we will be featuring women-led startups at the career fair, I’d encourage women to join men-led startups too, and ask questions about what role diversity plays in their hiring process.
As investors, what role does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) play in your company evaluation process and what role do you see DEI playing in a company’s success?
Diversity in venture is critically important to helping to optimize outcomes for startups and VCs. The industry has to do better in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ecosystem. According to Morgan Stanley, VCs are leaving a $4 trillion opportunity on the table by bypassing founders from underrepresented backgrounds. This data points to a powerful opportunity to energize our economy and our communities, simply by taking steps to level the playing field when it comes to VC investment. We’ve always said that Rise of the Rest is about more than just geography: It is about ending the cycle of money going to the same kinds of people for ideas informed by the same kind of upbringings, educational backgrounds, and life experiences.This has always been important to us, and we believe our portfolio reflects the diversity of this country more than others, but we recognize that we have a long way to go. We—and the entire VC and startup communities—must do better.