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Funding Female Founders With Tong Gu from Pact

What you'll learn:

Paul and Will are joined by Tong Gu, Founding Partner at Pact, in discussing the lack of funding for women founders and the steps that need to be taken to address this gap.

Tong, who is a computer scientist by training, was once an investment banker, and she also founded a machine learning company, which she grew to 40 people before exiting.

This week, Will and I sit down with her to talk about the nuances of empowering, investing in, and believing in women entrepeneurs.

First, we look at a Bloomberg article that shows that roughly 56% of North American-based investors expect to allocate capital to fund managers who invest significantly or exclusively in women-founded businesses. Tong agrees that the number of initiatives to invest in women has increased, but the reality is not so encouraging. “To quote [the] most recent State of European tech report from Atomico, unfortunately, only 1% of funding [went] to women founders in Europe last year, which was reduced from 2% a year before. So that’s not as positive,” she clarifies.

Tong believes that changing the status quo requires considering three elements: empowering women to enter entrepreneurship, technology, and VC from the time they are in school; investing more in managers from diverse backgrounds and female mentors; and bringing in more female angel investors and limited partners (LPs).

The discussion then shifts towards getting more women into venture capital, as well as some of the challenges Tong has faced throughout her career, often as the only woman in the room. “So far, one of the [biggest] challenges is the [limited] focus on providing funding to diverse fund managers, who can then invest in more diverse founders,” she observes. She also adds that childcare is another challenge, particularly when women want to occupy demanding top positions.

We finally turn to what inspired Tong to found Pact, the various layers of meaning behind the cool company name, and the company’s ultimate goal. As we wrap up, Tong shares her personal journey in the tech and VC spaces, and as always, leads us into the lightning round. Tong explains that human bias is one problem she believes tech can’t solve, and she offers some insightful advice on balancing profit and purpose.

To learn more about Pact, visit the website:
You can also reach out to Tong to get more insights about getting into VC on LinkedIn:

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