In 2013, Aileen Lee coined the term unicorn to refer to the growing field of startups with $1 billion valuations. At the time, she was a year into her role as a founder & managing partner of Cowboy Ventures, & her team was preparing a now-influential internal report examining how (and how often) companies with these massive valuations tend to emerge. Her summary of the report, published by TechCrunch, revealed some insightful datapoints, such as: Only a minority of unicorns ever made a fundamental pivot, most unicorn founders started their companies in their 30s (not their 20s), & more founders & co-founders came from Stanford than any other single institution.
Her team's research also revealed that only 2 of the 39 unicorns they studied had female co-founders, a finding that catalyzed her advocacy for increased diversity in technology startups. She is a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the representation of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem.
Prior to founding Cowboy Ventures, Lee spent more than a decade at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She earned her BS from MIT & holds a MBA from Harvard University.
This appearance by Aileen Lee is part of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. Join us live as we bring founders, investors & industry influencers to center stage & invite them to share what it takes to become a disruptor.