Rise of Female VC Fund Managers with Sutian Dong

Sutian Dong, Venture Partner, Female Founders Fund. Previously Partner at Female Founders Fund, First Mark Capital. NYU Stern Alum. Now, she is starting something new.

Prior to F3, Sutian was an investor at FirstMark Capital, a leading early stage venture fund in New York City. She invested broadly across the internet and cloud landscape, including sectors such as healthcare IT, fintech, enterprise SaaS, and ecommerce.

Previously, she was Director of Marketing for Norisol Ferrari, a New York ­based couture and luxury outerwear brand. She also held Sales and Marketing positions at MarketFactory, a FirstMark portfolio company developing software applications for high­ speed trading platforms.

Sutian holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Episode- 1 The Rise of Women VC Emerging Fund Managers with SUTIAN DON

Here are the topics we discussed in the episode along with the time in the video when it was mentioned

Women in VC Community: 0:35m

1. Women in VC has been very instrumental in creating an inclusive community at a grass-root level, whether it is sharing deal flow, LP resources, VC socials or mentorship platform with Techstars. Tell me what was missing in women in VC community before that led you and Jessica to create such movement.

Preparation for VC Industry: 3:54m

2. VC is a very hard industry to prepare for. There is no MBA or coursework that prepares you for early stage or late stage investing. Tell me about your past experiences that helped you to be in emerging fund manager role.

Market change and opportunities for new fund managers: 7:04m

3. As you are starting your new journey into fund of funds, tell us what you aspire to be as a fund manager. Can you elaborate about the new market opportunities for emerging fund managers who are creating their own funds like you? And how the market has changed in the last 5 years?

Bias and prejudices in VC Industry for change catalyst: 12:48m

4. Venture Capital is one industry that has not been disrupted.. As we are seeing more people bringing movement into this industry how do you see biases and prejudices that played in the past come in effect for people like you who are catalyst for change.

Liquidity as LP from fund of fund perspective: 18:27m

5. Venture Capital is one asset class which is also cyclical. The boom-bust cycle, appetite for high risk but it also has a lock up period for Limited Partners for as long as 7-10years unlike hedge funds where LPs can redeem their capital out of market panic. For many of us we look investment as permanent capital that protects from erratic market behavior and good investments need long term commitment. Liquidity has been an issue for LPs for a long time, as someone who is planning to start a fund of fund, how do you approach the liquidity position.

Thinking Model and LP Resources: 22:56m

6. It is said that venture capital is all about identifying patterns in time. Yet some of the bigger ideas are unpredictable and sometimes those investment decisions can be non-consensus among Partners. To invest in such unpredictable big ideas one has to learn and see things differently, analyze markets that others are finding it non-sexy to invest. I think venture capital is not a job but it is a lifestyle. So how do you prepare yourself for such a lifestyle. What learning habits that you have or acquired ? How do you analyze various thinking models? What are the LP resources that you read and follow.

Short questions:

Never Have I Ever: (related to previous investment decisions)

Never have I ever said no to a startup investment run by a single founder - Single founder myth

Never have I ever said no to a startup because I loved the product and hated the founder - Founder market fit

Never have I ever been in a board meeting and hated the outcome but did not say anything - Board discussions

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