We sat down with Elizabeth Galbut of SoGal Ventures to learn more about her biggest influencers, what drove her to start SoGal Ventures, and how she overcame her biggest challenge.
There is a massive opportunity to intelligently invest in female fund managers and female startup founders that are tackling this large whitespace.
Co-founder and managing partner of SoGal Ventures
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are the entrepreneurs we have the opportunity to work with at SoGal Ventures. We see over 3,000 deals a year and only invest in 0.5% of the startups we evaluate. Whether or not we invest in a company, each founder that pitches to us is extraordinary – they are taking huge risks to build a product, create value, and solve important societal issues that need to be solved for the greater good of humanity. I have enormous respect for these visionary changemakers.
What drove you to start SoGal Ventures?
We believe investing in women is one of the few remaining investment arbitrage opportunities. Only 2.7% of venture capital goes to startup teams with women leadership. Less than 7% of venture capital partners are women. Yet 80% of consumer decisions and 85% of healthcare decisions for individuals and their families are made by women!
As an entrepreneur, what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
When we first started SoGal Ventures two years ago, many of the individuals we spoke to criticized our decision to start our own venture capital firm. We were only 24 and 26 years old at the time, and what we planned on building was quite divergent from the traditional venture capital firms of the past. A major truth in entrepreneurship is – if everyone agrees with and understands what you’re starting to build, it likely means you’re not truly innovating.
What are some of the things you have learned about yourself that surprised you most?
I’m an introvert who often has to act extroverted for many aspects of my job such as speaking at large conferences, ensuring my voice is heard during board meetings, and selling our firm to potential portfolio founders. This means I must be cognizant to take the time to reflect and recharge. I’m also deliberate and mindful in structuring my day and travel schedule so that I have the time and space to independently think about important business decisions.
How would you complete this sentence: “If I could spend 30 minutes with my favorite singer, it would be…"
Selena Gomez, as she’s a fighter and survivor. She faced her personal healthcare challenges with grace and strength, and no one can dispute she’s the full package - brains + talent + beauty!
My favorite part of the day is….
The night and early morning hours. I’m a night owl and most creative from 9pm to 3am when the East Coast is sleeping. My SoGal Ventures partner, Pocket Sun, is headquartered in Asia with a +12 hour time difference, so it works quite well for our partnership. We tell our portfolio founders that there will always be at least one of us available 24/7. With that in mind, my favorite part of any day is strategizing with startup founders on how to improve and grow their businesses.
This does not reflect their experience as an SVB client and is only a personal story.