Tell us about the professional journey that took you where you are today. What major lessons did you learn along the way?
I started off my journey in the tech and finance world in 2011 on the venture debt team at Silicon Valley Bank. I joined when there were around 20 people in the bank. It was an exciting time because I got to be a part of a bank being built. Being a part of a small team, I had the opportunity to work on deals from start to finish and learn the ropes quickly. Working with tech companies at different stages led to me really catching the startup bug. I wanted to learn more about the technical side of the companies we were financing. So I decided to learn to code on my maternity leave with my second child and set up a coding school for mums, called Mums in Tech. On my 3 year journey running it, I met so many brilliant female founders who weren’t getting investment. I decided I wanted a seat at the table and wanted to help change the stats.
What motivates you?
People. Since I was a little girl I have wanted to help people and help them achieve their dreams and see the best in themselves.
Who are your role models and why?
I have so many. I am naturally drawn to people who achieve despite difficult situations. I am not a quitter and love to see women smashing down barriers for others. My mum and grandma were my first role models. They always spoke their truth and stood up for what was right. I have carried that through with me as I have gotten older and strive to pass that on to my children.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I have 3 kids, so on a typical day, my youngest (who is 2) will wake me up at 7 am. If it’s a school day I usually help the kids get ready for school and organize breakfast. I am lucky to have an incredible nanny who comes in to help on the days I work (3 days a week). I normally check twitter for news and then watch the local morning news. My inbox is always a bit out of control so I always skim it to make sure I haven’t missed anything critical. I then look at my diary which usually consists of calls with entrepreneurs, other investors or a webinar. I also try to block out time for me to just do general reading and market research. I tend to work from 8.30 am until 5 pm. I try not to book any meetings past 5 pm as I really do believe in spending that quality time with my kids before they go to bed at 8 pm. I tend to keep my phone far away from me so that I can give them my full attention. Once they’re asleep I tend to either read or watch tv.
What do you wish founders knew about before meeting you? What about female founders specifically?
Luckily for them, I have written so many blogs so they can read a lot about me before the meeting. I really love it when they come in and have seen that I have been in their shoes as a founder and understand that I’m on their side. I want them to succeed, so they already have an advantage when talking to me.
What are the major trends you are seeing in your space?
We’re seeing e-commerce do really well with consumer behaviors changing. It’s really interesting to see people who wouldn’t ordinarily have looked to shopping online adopting it and possibly sticking to it going forward for convenience. I’m also seeing a spike in mental health-related apps. With more people feeling anxiety and searching for a sense of normality and community, I expect this category to do really well.
What are you most excited about these days?
I am personally excited about this heightened sense of inter-connectedness online. I feel it could be a great opportunity for founders who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to find a space to be seen or heard. There are so many advocates and champions of change that are helping to amplify voices. We all have a responsibility to ensure no one gets left behind and there is accountability in everything we do.
What do you look for in a potential investment?
I am personally looking for something special in the founder. I love spending time getting to know what makes them tick, how they will attract that first hire, how they will grow their teams and also how what they are building will positively change the world.
How do you find and curate your deal flow? What are the most effective ways for a founder to connect with you?
A lot of my deal flow comes from my network which is varied. It’s other investors, accelerators, founders in my portfolio, inbound and outbound. I love reading articles or listening to a podcast and learning about a founder and reaching out to them and making that connection. Founders can easily reach me on twitter @juneangelides
I’m really excited about all our portfolio companies. I’m all about bringing people joy so companies like Lick, Papier and Bloom and Wild really stand out for me because they have created such beautiful and engaging customer experiences when purchasing their products. These are products that arrive and make you happy instantly – beautiful paint and wallpaper for your house, beautiful notebooks and cards and stunning flowers. So much thought has gone into building great cultures at their companies which is really important to me. They have diverse teams and everyone always says that they are great places to work.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
Being a founder is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. I personally wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for communities like Ada’s list, Mums in Tech, DevelopHer, Diversity VC who all encouraged me and provided me with the tools I needed to succeed. Most importantly I would encourage everyone to look after their mental health. Don’t burn out. Every once in a while, take the time to reflect on what you have achieved and allow yourself to feel proud of it.