This post initially ran in Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter about deals and dealmakers.
Jillian Manus, a managing partner at
Structure Capital and a judge on” The Pitch”podcast, had a circuitous course to endeavor capital. Previously in her profession, Manus operated in banking and media, acting as an M&A co-director of the innovation, media and telecom group for Credit Suisse Zurich. She had just transferred to Switzerland when her life turned upside down.
“I was in a domestic abuse scenario that ended with me in the health center for many months,” she stated. “When I came out, I was so embarrassed that I disappeared onto the streets. I had achieved success prior to that, but when someone takes your pride away like that, you bottom out.”
In an interview with Term Sheet, Manus discusses homelessness, sexual harassment in the Valley, and the greatest mistakes early-stage creators make.
TERM SHEET: You mentioned that you were homeless for a period of time. How were you able to come out of that experience & & begin to re-build your life?
MANUS: I resided in shelters in New york city for more than a year. I remained at “hot & & cot” shelters, meaning that you ‘d get a hot meal and a cot. In those days, you were not able to stay in a shelter for more than a few nights, so I was at my 16th shelter when I saw the soup kitchen was not being made use of appropriately. The groups, the volunteers, and the food– it just wasn’t arranged well.
Due to the fact that I had a business background, I entered into the cooking area and began to put everyone on an org chart and began setting in motion people to gather additional food remaining from the regional organisations. I produced an assembly line in the cooking area, and I began to remember who I was and feel like I had something to contribute. Even if you don’t earn money, if you have a function, then you can attend to any difficulty in life. When you have function, you have efficiency, when you have efficiency, you have self-confidence.
You are now a judge on Gimlet Media’s “The Pitch,” making financial investments in Shift and LiquiGlide. You’ve formerly said that you” abhor “Shark Tank since you think it’s predatory. Why did you decide to sign up with The Pitch, which has been referred to as a Shark Tank-style podcast?
MANUS: The format is the same– four judges (or VCs) who are pitched. But my whole philosophy about investor is that I believe it’s about developing people up, not tearing them down. If you have a criticism, follow it with something constructive that can assist them. And that’s what we finish with The Pitch. We’re not like Shark Tank at all– we do not invest $20,000 for 80% of the company. We’re not predatory.
How much do you spend for average?
MANUS: For among the last business we invested in, we put $1.2 million into the company for 20% equity.
Exactly what are a few of the big errors that early phase creators make?
MANUS: One huge one is they do not know their numbers. You got ta know your numbers. We had a founder recently who was doing such a good task pitching till she said, “If we partner with this company, then we’ll own a substantial part of the market.” And we asked about what percentage of the marketplace it represents, and she didn’t know. The exact same opts for if you don’t know your burn rate or if you have no idea of projections, it’s an issue.
Evaluations are another thing. Creators can be found in with these insane assessments, and you state to them, “How did you value your business?” And they state, “Well I spoke to other founders, and they were doing the exact same.” That is not a response. That’s another big problem. You don’t value your own business based on what everyone else is doing.
Sexual harassment allegations have pestered the VC neighborhood in recent months. You’ve found out a lot about this through your unwanted sexual advances hotline. Can you discuss how it works?
MANUS: It’s been going on now for a little bit more than three years. It’s called the “SOS,” and basically any creator, any woman, anytime can text me. It needs to start with “SOS” and a message with what they require. Are they being sexually pestered? Are they in a dangerous situation? Are they being bullied? And do they need a call back right away?
I have actually developed a little black book of all the predators, and after that with the women’s approval, I connect them to other ladies who are in similar scenarios. Together, they’re able to out the predator.
Keep in mind: A Structure Capital representative declined to share the number openly, clarifying that each partner offers their number to portfolio company creators who can then share it with colleagues or others in the market.
What is the most common type of SOS message you receive?
MANUS: There are 2. One is unwanted sexual advances at work to undermine their confidence. Another one is from female founders where VCs anticipate more– whatever from blowjobs to handjobs to hotel secrets. It is that ridiculous.
I was on the phone with a female last night at 3 a.m. about a scenario where she was at a party and after that then went to a club. One of the heads of the company, who was much more senior than her, was there too. He was really drunk and he pinned her versus the wall and started searching under her gown. She locked herself in the restroom and SOS’ed me.
Exactly what is the finest thing for a female to do if she finds herself in a scenario like the ones you simply described?
MANUS: It depends. There are 3 various circumstances. One is if you remain in a company meeting and somebody makes a joke. For example, I was being assessed for a board, and I remained in my last interview, and I said, “Any other questions?” Among the guys said, “Yes. I’ve been trying to find out exactly what color underwear you’re using.” For me, I’m older and I’ve handled this whether it was in the film market, publishing, or financing. The one thing I inform women is, “Never ever respond emotionally.” Do not ever reveal them the anger or the hurt. The minute you respond emotionally in a work situations, they take your power. I say that to women all across the board. Anytime you lose your control over yourself, you lose a piece of your utilize. That’s exactly what people desire, however if you don’t take the bait, that’s when you’ll keeping your control by revealing them they have not gotten to you.
Don’t react mentally. Second, aim to get back on track. If you’re not able to do that, remove yourself from the scenario with your chin up, turn your back, and leave. If you desire to lose your mind, do that in the bathroom.
When that male made that underwear comment to me, I could’ve stated, “How attempt you speak like that to me,” however you see, then he would’ve won. He anticipated to obtain to me, and he didn’t.
It’s occurring across lots of industries, however how do you think the tech community in particular can start to attend to a few of these problems?
MANUS: It’s about accountability, but my most significant concern is that the pendulum has swung up until now the other manner in which there are 2 things happening. Males are now having the ability to use this as a reason to not take conferences with women. That’s a big issue.
Ladies remained in defense mode, and after that we went on offense mode. Now, we have to get to the point of remaining in diplomatic mode. How do we produce much better communication between men and females? In the last 3 months, I have actually been getting a great deal of SOS messages from males, too. I think there require to be more online forums where men and ladies talk more openly to each other about all this. The next method to right the pendulum is if we’re not siloed, if we’re not pointing our handguns at each other.
In 2015, ladies got 7% of all venture capital. Structure Capital’s portfolio is made up of 30% female-led companies. Exactly what is the reason for this variation?
MANUS: At Structure Capital, we are not solely concentrated on financing underrepresented entrepreneurs. We are concentrated on investing in creators who have a varied skillset and if that means a female creator, we do not hesitate. We have actually seen a wave of female entrepreneurs, therefore the risk of purchasing female-led business is lastly being recognized. Our fund will invest more in these business since we truly see their results and their ROI. The contribution and intelligence of females are being undervalued and underestimated, and we understand that the companies and the funds who have purchased more female-led business have actually experienced better returns. Presently, we have actually bought 26 female-founded or co-founded companies, averaging 30%.
Exactly what are some market trends in tech today you believe Term Sheet readers should be focusing on?
MANUS: We see blockchain as more than a “trend” as far as locations of financial investment. We see it as the next innovation inflection point for this world as the Internet once was. Although I do think cryptocurrencies are here to remain, we are not buying this “trend.”
We are also seeing AI as an enormous market trend and opportunity as it relates to skills translation like Shift.org who offers active military vets skills training to shift into high development tech business. There is also a big pattern towards health care delivery and the utilization of labor forces, such as activating healthcare and creating more communication for patients and medical professionals. In turn, this develops more predictive and data-driven treatments and agnostics like what we’re seeing with Verily and Apple Watch.
Digital health is going to be a crucial location of tech to see but it’s eventually going to be disrupted by blockchain. We are attempting to invest into more transparency and companies who are producing chances in the gig economy.
Sonia Rina Davies is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, and personal development coach. She is an outspoken advocate of the free market economy and has helped countless clients identify their core values, envision and realize goals that resonate with those values. She oversees several businesses both online and offline.