She-VC"We do not invest in women just because they are women, they really were the best choices"
"We do not invest in women just because they are women, they really were the best choices"
Bar Dor, Associate at TLV Partners, shares her story, her opinions, and concerns on juggling a family and a career
Bar Dor, Associate at TLV Partners, does not have a typical background for someone in venture capital. Her army service was not in unit 8200 (she served in Moran, a small unit which specializes in firing accurate missiles) and she studied law and accounting, completing an internship at the Supreme Court of Israel as a law clerk to Justice Neal Hendel, including working as his legal advisor in his position as the chairman of the Central Elections Committee of the Knesset.
Once she decided she wanted to move away from conflicts and disputes and into a space of creation, she joined TLV Partners where she is currently an associate.
What does an associate do?
Dor explained that the position is different in every VC depending on the structure of the firm and the trust you receive. “In TLV Partners an associate has four hats. Sourcing and sorting deals, holding the position as an observer on some of the boards, helping conduct due diligence on interesting companies and assisting portfolio companies with their needs. I love hearing the ideas founders have and their solutions, it's great to see how the human mind works."
When asked how many women work at TLV partners, Dor proudly states: “There are 66% women in the firm and 50% of the partners are women. Rona Segev is the firm's co-founder, which is extremely rare for a VC to have a founding female partner." When asked how many of their portfolio companies have female founders, Dor doesn’t hesitate and replies, “20% are founded by women, it's not 50/50 yet but it is a positive trend. The top of the funnel is getting broader. Also, we do not invest in women just because they are women, they really were the best choices.”
Founded in 2015, TLV Partners is a $820 million generalist VC firm investing in early stage startups from multiple sectors. They tend to lead rounds and their key perspective is that founders are the ones that build great companies, not VC's.
Have you ever felt that being a woman has affected your career?
"I have. But generally speaking, I try not to treat myself in a restrictive way, and that was also the case in the environment where I grew up. I have three brothers that treated me the same, for better or for worse. My parents treated me equally as well, and my friends were always divided into about 50% women and 50% men. I guess it helped me move forward with my career without feeling that my gender restricts me in a substantial way".
CTech's She-VC series follows the stories of various female partners and senior managers in venture capital firms 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.
Who is your role model?
“I usually take inspiration from different people. However, if I have to choose then I would say Lauryn Hill." Hill is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer. She is often regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. “She made a name for herself in the hip hop and rap industry which is a total boys club and she was one of the first to do so. I also love that she doesn't try to change her feminine characteristics to fit into a male world. She stays feminine. In her music the lyrics touch on deep feminine subjects like motherhood. Also, the structure of her music is very melodic, very round. She is non-apologetic and isn't trying to fit in. When looking at women I admire this core quality - the ability to stay feminine in a masculine environment and thrive."
Dor (32) is in a relationship, not yet married, and when asked if she is concerned about juggling family and her career in the future she replied: “Of course, I think that as women we were raised to be the leaders of the family. One of the things that drives me crazy is when I hear people ask my friends if their husbands are helping with the kids. You would never hear that question asked the other way around. I see myself as a feminist and this gets under my skin. Either way, I am sure it is going to be one hell of a ride even with the most equal of partners."
What tip would you offer women who are just starting out?
Dor smiles and replies: “I have some rules in life for those first career steps that really helped me. First of all, don't be afraid of taking risks. I know it sounds like a cliche but it worked for me. I was amazing in practicing law and yet I started from zero. It was painful, but I needed to have courage and take risks. Also, find mentors that are encouraging yet objective - balance is important. Allow for different mentors at different times in your career. In addition, you need to ‘own it’. When you are certain of your path, take ownership of the entire process, others won't do it for you. And finally, the most important thing is to choose a workplace for its people. If you want to learn, succeed and grow you have to be in a place where people want you to learn, succeed and grow. It will be impossible otherwise. A title, salary and brand are important but should not be first on your list."