Tinder, Women, and the Question Every Investor Should Ask

Natalia Oberti Noguera
Erica Torres Natalia Oberti Noguera

"Do you have a woman co-founder?"

In my time growing a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC and leading Pipeline Fellowship (an angel investing bootcamp for women), I have heard of women founders bringing male employees to investor meetings in order to be taken seriously. But it hadn’t ever occurred to me that men would purposefully hide the fact that their founding team included a woman—until Tinder’s sexual harassment lawsuit broke last week.

When men approach me after a talk/keynote/panel to express interest in pitching Pipeline Fellowship’s angel investors-in-training, I ask them, “Do you have a woman co-founder?” I’m usually met with baffled looks, even though in my remarks I’m very clear that one of the criteria to apply to present at a Pipeline Fellowship Pitch Summit is for the business to be woman-led. Several men have answered along the lines of, “Actually, no, but I have a [female friend/relative] who volunteers [doing something at the C-level that sounds like a full-time job].” I usually reply, “Great! It sounds like she’s adding value and is part of the team, so, once you formalize that relationship by making her a co-founder and giving her equity, I encourage you to apply.”

Then, I spoke at Rosario Dawson’s Voto Latino Power Summit in NYC.

As I was heading into the auditorium to listen to Arianna Huffington, Rosario Dawson, and Voto Latino’s CEO Maria Teresa Kumar, I noticed a man and a woman walking toward me. The guy said, “My name’s Deyvis Rodriguez and I just wanted to let you know that I heard you speak at the pre-SXSW Latin@s in Tech event held in Austin a few months back and you asked me if I had a woman co-founder.” Deyvis went on to share that prior to our interaction, he hadn’t really thought about having or not having a woman co-founder. A few weeks after the event, a friend recommended someone who might be a good fit for his startup. That someone turned out to be the woman next to Deyvis: “Meet Leo Bojos, my co-founder at Stellar Collective.”

I was psyched. The little remix of the White House Project’s Marie Wilson’s “You can’t be what you can’t see” with the opposite of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” had worked. In that simple question—”Do you have a woman co-founder?”—men must acknowledge the lack of gender diversity on their founding teams, often for the first time.

While Justin Mateen didn’t get the #likeagirl memo, I bet there are many more Deyvis-es in our midst. Gender diversity actually adds value to a company, according to an Emory University study, which found that ventures with women co-founders were more likely to generate revenue than those with only men on the founding team.

In 2013, according to the Center for Venture Research, 23% of women-owned ventures pitched to U.S. angels, 19% of which secured capital. And only 7% of minority-owned firms pitched to U.S. angels, 13% of which received funding.

There have been many initiatives to encourage more women entrepreneurs, including seasoned angel investor Joanne Wilson’s Women Entrepreneurs Festival, Shaherose Charania’s Women 2.0 PITCH, and Natalie Madeira Cofield’s Walker’s Legacy, which was inspired by Madam C. J. Walker, the first self-made U.S. millionaire woman, who also happened to be black (disclosure: I serve on the advisory board). I launched Pipeline Fellowship to change the face of angel investing and create capital for women social entrepreneurs. Even Barbie has signed up to be an entrepreneur.

What if, in addition to getting more women to consider entrepreneurship, venture capitalists joined me in asking men pitching to them, “Do you have a woman co-founder?” (VCs, by the way, are not off the hook. Entrepreneurs, I urge you to ask them if they have a woman partner, which isn’t the same as office manager.)

And as an LGBTQ Latina who knows that 93% of businesses pitching to U.S. angels in 2013 were led by white people, I ask different versions of the question, such as “Do you have a person of color co-founder?”

Wondering where to start? Here’s a helpful resource.


Oberti Noguera is Founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale and was named to Latina.com‘s “25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech” and Business Insider‘s 2013 list of “The 30 Most Important Women in Tech under 30.”

TIME Technology and Media

Amazon Refusing To Let Customers Pre-Order Warner Videos

The Lego Movie
Warner Bros. The Lego Movie

"The Lego Movie" is just one of the blockbusters caught up in Amazon's latest dispute with a supplier

Amazon, the so-called “Everything Store”, is refusing to take advance orders of upcoming Warner videos including The Lego Movie in its latest standoff with a supplier, the New York Times reports.

This means 300: Rise of an Empire, Transcendence, and the hugely popular Lego blockbuster due out on DVD next week are all off limits for Amazon customers.

The company’s dispute with Warner has angered consumers hoping to pre-order The Lego Movie. One customer wrote: “This has got to be the most eagerly awaited 2014 movie being released so far… Amazon may be digging their own grave if they keep this up.”

The company’s block on customers buying Warner movies, which began in mid-May, marks its third attempt in recent weeks to gain leverage over a major supplier.

Amazon is also grappling with the Hachette Book Group over e-book conditions, prompting the retailer to delay shipments and not take pre-orders of Hachette books.

The retail giant’s third feud is with the Bonnier Media Group over how to share the earnings of electronic books. Consequently, Amazon has delayed orders from Bonnier’s backlist.

Amazon’s obstinacy has surprised many — as has the suppliers’ unwillingness to back down. The Lego Movie is considered June’s biggest movie release, and The Silkworm, JK Rowling’s latest novel from Hachette, the biggest book release.

Both Warner and Amazon have declined to comment on the block. Amazon didn’t even feature The Lego Movie in its list of upcoming “Kids & Family” movies. In response to the standoff with Hachette, Amazon released a statement saying such issues with suppliers were commonplace and that customers could always go elsewhere. Neither Warner nor Hachette has yet to reach a resolution with Amazon.





TIME Technology and Media

Netflix Will Stop Shaming Verizon on Streaming Speeds

Netflix Ends Messages Blaming Verizon
Bloomberg—Getty Images The logo of Netflix, the biggest driver of Internet bandwidth, is displayed on an iPhone.

Company still maintains that Verizon is to blame for slow buffering

Netflix said Monday it would stop displaying a message that blames Verizon for slow buffering speeds, five days after Verizon issued a cease and desist letter.

The streaming service still maintains that Internet providers are to blame for slow speeds. But the company said in a blog post that the “small scale test” in which it told consumers about that on screen will stop June 16 while Netflix evaluates “rolling it out more broadly.”

“Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience,” the company said. “Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door — the interconnection point — when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested.”

Though Netflix inked a deal with Verizon to improve streaming speed in April, the public finger-pointing set off a public relations battle between the two companies. And Netflix published of an ISP Speed Index that lists Verizon delivering content at the lowest speeds in the U.S. Netflix says the Index is intended to inform users of their Internet speeds, but the messages that followed—“The Verizon network is crowded right now”—led Verizon to cry foul and dismiss it as a “PR stunt.”

“There is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network,” Verizon said in the cease and desist letter. “As Netflix knows, there are many different factors that can affect traffic on the Internet.”

TIME Companies

Sprint Reportedly Set To Buy T-Mobile in Another Major Merger

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son Attends Earnigns News Conference
Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images Billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Corp., speaks in front of a screen displaying the logo of Sprint Corp. during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014.

The third and fourth largest mobile networks are reportedly nearing a merger that would help them stay competitive against industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T

In a deal that would combine the third and fourth largest wireless telephone companies respectively, Sprint is reportedly close to acquiring T-Mobile in a deal that values T-Mobile at around $32 billion.

The acquisition, which would need federal approval, may happen early this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported on the deal Wednesday night, citing people familiar with the matter. The New York Times and Bloomberg also reported the story Wednesday.

According to those reports, Sprint would pay around $40 a share for T-Mobile, a premium of 17 percent on Wednesday’s closing price. It would also owe T-Mobile about $1 billion if the deal falls through, meaning Sprint’s making a big bet that regulators will allow the merger to pass unimpeded.

The Sprint/T-Mobile deal follows AT&T’s recent move to acquire DirecTV, which would reinforce AT&T’s position as the company’s second biggest wireless provider, following Verizon Wireless. Sprint and T-Mobile may in fact argue to regulators that joining forces is the only way to stay competitive with Verizon Wireless and AT&T in the long-term.


TIME Technology and Media

What’s Behind Apple’s Possible Beats Buy?

If completed, the deal would be Apple's largest-ever acquisition

Apple is said to be looking to bolster its streaming music business with a possible acquisition of Beats Electronics. Why would Apple want to buy the company?

The reported $3.2 billion price tag would be Apple’s largest single acquisition to date. From the iconic Beats headphones to streaming music, the buyout makes a lot of sense: the era of digital downloads is coming to an end and Apple is still without its own truly successful streaming music service.

If completed, the deal would be Apple CEO Tim Cook’s boldest move yet to place his own signature on the tech giant, more than two years after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

Watch the video above for more.

TIME Technology and Media

Facebook Rolls Out a New Plan To Crush Twitter

Mark Zuckerberg arrives for a keynote session on the opening day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Feb. 24, 2014.
Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg arrives for a keynote session on the opening day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Feb. 24, 2014.

Facebook launched FB Newswire, which aims to be journalists' social media resource for breaking news

Facebook announced a new service Thursday designed to make it the primary social media resource for journalists covering breaking news, a direct shot across the bow at Twitter.

FB Newswire is a tool accessible via Facebook that features an updated stream of newsworthy and embeddable public content. This includes photos, videos, and status updates about categories ranging from hard news to lifestyle to celebrity to sports. Journalists can grab that content to use it in their own stories across the web.

Newswire is powered by Storyful, bought by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp for $25 million in 2013, which promised users that it will be vetting all of the content it is providing.

Thus far, FB Newswire has provided content on stories ranging from Kim Kardashian’s views on the Armenian massacre:

To Obama taking pictures with a robot:

Twitter, one of Facebook’s primary competitors, has come to be known as a major breaking news resource for the media. It has built that news-friendly model with strategic hires and tool integration.

TIME Technology and Media

China’s Twitter Wants $500 Million From American Investors

Lionel Bonaventure—AFP/Getty Images The chinese app Weibo's logo is displayed on a tablet on January 2, 2014 in Paris.

The country's Twitter-like messaging service Weibo -- which had 61.4 million users as of the end of December and saw its ad revenue increase by 163 percent to $56 million -- is aiming for a $500 million public offering in the United States

Weibo, China’s Twitter-like messaging service, has filed an initial public offering in the United States to raise $500 million as a wave of Chinese companies flock to American investors to raise capital.

Weibo had 61.4 million users as of the end of December and saw its ad revenue increase by 163 percent to $56 million in the final three months of 2013, Reuters reports. Its target $500 million IPO on either the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq taps into U.S. investors’ eagerness to share in the profits of the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The Chinese search service Baidu most recently filed for a U.S. IPO and Alibaba, a giant internet bazaar, is expected to raise $15 billion in the U.S. this year.

But Weibo conceded in its IPO it faces obstacles at home. The Chinese government’s stringent censorship of online content could challenge Weibo’s returns, especially after a September ruling that metes out up to three years’ jail time for Internet users who knowingly make or share information considered defamatory or false.


TIME California

A Big, Good, Bad Day for Google Buses in San Francisco

Katy Steinmetz / TIME Anti-eviction protestors, including a band called the Brass Liberation Orchestra, block a private shuttle taking Facebook employees to the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Jan. 21, 2013.

The city came one step closer to regulating them, and protestors staged one of their biggest protests yet

Dozens of anti-eviction protestors marched behind a small brass band through the streets of San Francisco on Tuesday morning. The parade stopped at an intersection in a long-blighted, recently gentrifying neighborhood called the Tenderloin. Then the protestors did what has become their signature move in recent months: They blocked private buses attempting to ferry tech workers to their jobs in Silicon Valley, this time at Google and Facebook.

Private shuttles have become the cake in San Francisco’s revolution, a symbol of disconnect as the have-nots rally against a backdrop of skyrocketing rental prices and eviction rates. At a hearing at City Hall later in the day, a committee approved a proposal to allow and organize the growing fleet of vehicles currently using city bus stops without regulation. During roughly two hours of public comments, officials heard from tech workers who ride the buses, working-class residents who drive them and activists who oppose them (not to mention everything they stand for). Then the committee unanimously voted to go ahead with the 18-month pilot program, set to begin this summer.

Katy Steinmetz for TIME

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency estimates that private shuttles bound for tech giants like Google, Facebook, Intuit, LinkedIn and Yahoo — and other destinations — are making about 4,100 stops per day in the city. SFMTA employees have been fielding regular complaints from residents about the vehicles holding up municipal buses, causing traffic jams, blocking bike lanes or simply being signs of change that San Franciscans don’t want. After years of research, the transit authority unveiled a plan earlier this month to bring more order to those shuttles, outlining permitted routes and charging $1 per stop.

Citizens speaking out against the proposal called the $1 fee a “joke” and an insult, many comparing the price point to the $271 fine that a car driver would be given for parking in a city bus stop. By the activists’ math, companies contracting private shuttles owe the city roughly $1 billion, a figure reached by multiplying that fine over years that shuttles have been in use. SFMTA’s math is based on their estimates of how much it will cost to actually run the program that permits and oversees the shuttles; by state law, city employees emphasized, they cannot charge more than it costs to recover what city spends to regulate any parking—even if it’s a fancy, two-decker bus parking on its way to Silicon Valley.

At Tuesday’s hearing, supporters of the shuttles argued that commuting en masse minimizes the workers’ environmental impact and reduces traffic congestion. Opponents countered that while tech workers might not be driving cars, low-income residents pushed out of San Francisco by landlords renting to the highest bidder were now forced to drive. “It’s not a luxury,” one Google worker said. “It’s just a thing on wheels that gets us to work.” Critics replied by arguing that rental prices have increased along the tech bus routes, contributing to displacement of lower-income residents, and demanded that companies contribute money to affordable housing in an effort to offset that kind of cost.

Katy Steinmetz / TIME

City officials, who inevitably have loyalties to tech companies bolstering the economy and residents who voted them into office, have been forced into the role of referee. City Supervisor Scott Wiener spoke at the beginning of the hearing and noted that commuting had been going on long before Google buses roamed the road. “These shuttles are providing a valuable service for many residents of this city, who depend on them to get to work every day,” he said. “I know there is a lot of frustration and anxiety in the city right now around the cost of housing … blaming tech workers in not a solution to our housing problems.” Carli Paine, the SFMTA employee spearheading the plan, tried to make it clear that the majority of private shuttles actually operated within the city, rather than going from the city to Silicon Valley, and that they’re not just taking well-paid engineers to Mountain View. Many shuttles are contracted by universities, hospitals and even minimum-wage employers like Wal-Mart.

But while logistical details of the pilot program were the reason for having the hearing, they also had nothing to do with it. For many residents, the high-ceilinged room at City Hall was a forum for airing much bigger grievances about inequality, for articulating angst against an industry attracting bands of well-paid workers to town while long-term residents are losing their homes. “These companies are filthy rich,” said a resident born in San Francisco. “We need to squeeze them for everything they’re worth.” Some speakers wanted the buses to be banned and for companies to take the money spent on shuttles and funnel it into the city’s transportation budget — advice the committee approving the proposal didn’t find too compelling.

A similar difference in approach played out at the protest that morning. While some activists made careful arguments about the tornado of wealth, growth and housing shortages that has thrown the city into an affordability crisis, others held a giant sign with a much less nuanced message: “F*** off Google.”

TIME Technology and Media

Netflix’s Gain Is HBO’s Loss in Subscriber Wars

Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for Netflix

According to a new report from the NPD Group, streaming services have seen a 4% rise in subscribers over the past two years

Updated 9:01 pm EST

People can’t get enough Netflix. According to a new report, the streaming video service and others like it have been gaining subscribers as premium pay networks like HBO and Showtime have been losing them.

The NPD Group, a global information company, says over the past two years, the number of households subscribing to premium networks has fallen by 6%. Online streaming subscriptions, however, have risen by 4%, according to their report.

According to the report, in August 2013, 32% of American households paid for premium networks like HBO or Showtime and 27% subscribed to on-demand digital services. While Netflix is the most widely used service, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime are gaining in popularity.

“It’s fair to say … that some of the shift that you’re seeing is probably caused by Netflix,” Russ Crupnick, a senior vice president of the NPD Group told the Los Angeles Times. “Some of this could be caused by the economy. It could be people looking at their cable bills and saying, ‘I can’t afford this.'”

Update: Showtime, HBO and Starz disputed the results of the study on Tuesday.

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