After 44 years in the business, celebrated venture capital firm Sequoia Capital has hired its first female venture capitalist.
Jess Lee — cofounder and CEO of ecommerce site Polyvore — has joined Sequoia as an investing partner and will start work on Nov. 7, according to Bloomberg. Lee will also be one of Sequoia’s youngest partners at the firm at 33. Sequoia has been trying to get Lee to join the firm since 2012, Bloomberg reports.
Lee is a former product manager at Google who landed a job at Polyvore after becoming one of the site’s biggest fans. After sending the founders — three former Yahoo engineers — a complaint-filled letter about how they could make Polyvore better, they invited Lee to join the team as an honorary cofounder and later, CEO. Polyvore was bought by Yahoo in 2015.
Venture capital is a notoriously male-dominated field, making it difficult for women to get in front of investors or become investors themselves. Only about 6% of venture capitalists are women, which has actually declined since 1999, when it was closer to 10%.
In 2015, Sequoia Chairman Michael Moritz said in an interview that the firm was open to hiring more women, they just didn’t want to “lower our standards.” After becoming the subject of Twitter backlash, Moritz apologised, telling Bloomberg, “I know there are many remarkable women who would flourish in the venture business. We’re working hard to find them and would be ecstatic if more joined Sequoia or other firms.”
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