BroadMic Season 3 Kicks-Off with a Conversation Between Two Former College Roommates
Who would have thought that twenty years ago, as college roommates at UCLA taking engineering courses, the only two women of color in the room, Erica Duignan and Alicia Thomas, would one day be kicking off BroadMic Season 3 as host and guest? Last week they sat across the table in the BroadMic studio: Erica as an investor, Alicia as an entrepreneur.
I’ve known Erica for over a decade from our experience in the early days at Golden Seeds, where she was a Director, managing deal flow, and I was an angel investor in women-led tech startups. What struck me then was Erica’s exceptional ability to cut to the chase in every entrepreneur’s presentation to articulate the top 2 or 3 risks that should concern us as investors. In the intervening decade, Erica has successfully navigated the high stakes world of early stage venture capital, and established herself at the center of the New York tech ecosystem. Few may know that she is also in high demand as a sought-after judge in numerous televised appearances on business pitch contests, a la Shark Tank.
Let’s face it: Alicia Thomas isn’t the most experienced entrepreneur to be on BroadMic, but she may have the most grit. As an early entrepreneur with only a seed round under her belt, she readily acknowledges that there’s still a long road ahead of her. Alicia epitomizes the grace and confidence that investors love to see in the entrepreneurs they fund: a quiet authority, passionate about her business, tenacious and disciplined in her approach. Her ‘can do’ attitude is best exemplified in these two quotes from her interview, “just get on the road” and “don’t tell me why you can’t, give me 10 reasons why you can!”
What was special about being in the studio with Erica and Alicia was the fun they had together talking about Alicia’s experience building Dibs. You could feel the unspoken respect they have for each other, and for what they’ve accomplished as two women – yes, WOC – in venture capital. At one point in the conversation, Alicia referred to having had “about a hundred” different investor meetings last fall when she was raising her seed round for Dibs Technology, almost all were with white men. She followed by saying she met with only two women investors and, you guessed it, one of them was Erica.
Let’s do better!
Alicia Thomas is the founder and CEO of Dibs, a B2B digital platform that gives studios quick and easy access to real-time pricing for the boutique fitness classes their clients want. A former developer and director of data strategy at Citigroup, Thomas chose to start a company in the fitness industry because she knew she would have a competitive advantage. BroadMic host, Erica Duignan, and Thomas discuss what she’s learned about focus and “getting it done” when it comes to fundraising, her advice for female founders, and her perspective as a woman of color in tech.
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