She-VC“In a startup you are selling a product, as VCs we are selling ourselves”
“In a startup you are selling a product, as VCs we are selling ourselves”
Sharin Fisher, Partner at Fort Ross Ventures, explains why it is important to build your network and shares how she did so on her journey to success
“I will be honest, I think it is harder for women - still. We need to work harder to succeed. However, I believe this will change soon,” said Sharin Fisher, Partner at Fort Ross Ventures, when asked if she ever felt discrimination as a woman throughout her career.
When asked how it can change, Fisher replied: “People talk a lot about STEM and I agree it is important. However, I believe we need to change the perception that the only way to get into a VC is through STEM. Some of the most successful investors I know came from different backgrounds such as media, finance, consulting etc. They have a unique perspective and, for a VC, domain expertise is an advantage.
“An additional way is through mentorship. I believe having more mentors for young women will definitely drive change. Women should work on building their network, finding people who believe in them.”
Fisher is speaking from experience, moving to Silicon Valley to work with a seasoned investor during her journey. “There I learned a lot about GTM (Go-to-Market) execution in early and growth stage companies, how to add value, board dynamics, etc. I’ve broadened my network by building relationships with top tier VCs in the U.S., LPs, and C level decision makers at Fortune 500 companies. In a startup you have a product - as VCs we are selling ourselves. You need to build a network of people that believe in you and trust you.”
Fisher joined Fort Ross Ventures two-and-a-half years ago through her mentor, Dan Avida (Opus Capital). “He invested in some great companies such as Solaredge and Sisense. He believed in me and he opened doors for me. He also introduced me to my current partners. Having someone betting on you and opening doors for you is invaluable. Sadly, in Israel it is not that common.”
CTech's She-VC series follows the stories of various female partners and senior managers in venture capital funds in Israel. Only 16% of partners in Israeli venture capital firms are women, and only 9% are investing partners. This poses a liability regarding how many female founders will be able to receive investments and it speaks to the industry as a whole.
Similar to many others in the field, Fisher started out at the IDF’s 8200 unit where she co-founded and led the main training program for cybersecurity experts. “I got to meet and work with the smartest people who, later on, became the most successful founders and investors in the industry. It got me excited and interested in the VC world. The thought of working with exceptional founders and investing in companies that change the world felt right,” she said.
Fort Ross Ventures is a global fund, managing $600 million across several funds. Focus is placed on early growth stages such as B and C rounds. There are five partners located in Israel, the U.S. and the UK. Recently, they launched a late stage fund which has more of a pre-IPO focus and Fisher is a partner in both funds, leading investments end to end.
How are you promoting change?
“I am helping three young female entrepreneurs raise their Seed round by introducing them to angels and VCs in the U.S. I really hope I will be able to invest in them in the future,” said Fisher, proving she is practicing what she is preaching.