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Message from the CEO

A call to action - and a response!
Sharon Vosmek
Sharon Vosmek
CEO Astia

This spring the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation published "A Rising Tide: Financing Strategies for Women-Owned Firms," by Susan Coleman and Alicia Robb. For me their research was a clear call to action.


Based upon the Kauffman Firm Survey data, they found that -


"Men raised 27 times more equity from outsiders during the first year of operation!" (punctuation by authors.)


This was shocking to me. How were women intending to compete in a market where their competition may have 27 times the capital - in year one alone?! It simply cannot be done.


I am frequently asked about the dearth of women entrepreneurs - but I think we are asking the wrong question. In fact, Coleman & Robb found an increasing number of women were starting and succeeding in high-growth firms. They also noted that women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men - but they are doing it without the necessary money to win!


What we need to be asking is - why aren't women playing big?


We know from the same research that:

  • Women were NOT more risk averse than men
  • Women were less likely to seek angel funding than men, nevertheless women who did seek angel funding had an equal likelihood of receiving it
  • Women were more likely to seek and receive funding from women angel investors
  • Women have the capacity to learn how to raise equity investment

So here is the Astia response!


Astia intends to add capital to our mix. Starting in early 2013, you will see the launch of an Astia Fund and an Astia Angel network.


This response is not only based on the Kauffman research but by listening to you -  the Astia community, the Board of Trustees, the Global Advisory Board, and of course, the Astia companies. 


The Astia Fund will be a fund used to invest in the best-of-breed companies from the Astia program.


Astia Angel will be a network of individual investors, also committed to investing in the best-of-breed Astia companies.


Both the Fund and the Angel group will pursue above-market investor returns and both are committed to the model of investing in select companies who are sourced, screened and selected by you - the Astia community. We will continue to be committed to increasing the number of women-led companies raising capital via the Astia Global Entrepreneur Program together with the generous engagement of our 2000+ Astia Advisors around the globe. Essentially we are taking what we have been perfecting for the past 13 years - and that which has produced a greater than 60% funding success rate for the companies selected - and adding our own capital to the mix. 


And you can join our call to action!  Men and women in the Astia community are invited and encouraged to participate. Contact me directly [sharon@astia.org] to discuss the Fund and for Astia Angel contact Amy Gips [amy@astia.org], Founding Managing Partner, Astia Angel.


You can expect to hear more from us as we solidify the opportunity that these present to entrepreneurs, investors and the Astia community.




Sharon Vosmek, CEO

Astia Company News
Meet Astia's Newest Applicants

We have two exciting opportunities for you to connect with Astia's newest applicants:


Astia's Call for Applications just ended and we have begun the process of screening our companies. If you have not received an email asking for your help in selecting Astia's next exceptional cohort and you would like to contribute, please email Carolyn Beaty, Program Coordinator, directly (carolyn@astia.org).


Please also join us on Monday October 22, 2012 to meet the selected cohort. Astia sponsor, Fenwick & West will be hosting the Global Entrepreneur Program Opening Reception at their offices in Mountain View, CA. Please RSVP for the Opening Reception here:  http://fall2012openingreception.eventbrite.com/.


To receive updates on these and other event invitations tailored to your expertise and industry experience, please fill out this brief questionnaire: 


Astia Company 18 Rabbits Featured in Interview on CNBC

Astia company 18 Rabbits was featured in an interview with Rory Eakin, founder of CircleUp, on CNBC's The Disruptors. 18 Rabbits has successfully received funding through CircleUp, a crowdfunding platform for emerging consumer companies. 

PROFUSA Receives NIH Award for Transformative Research

PROFUSA logo PROFUSA has been awarded a Transformative Research Award from the NIH; competitive funding given "to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms."  They will receive over $4M for a biofeedback monitoring project in collaboration with Texas A&M and UCSF.  

Avaxia Biologics Issued New Patent

Avaxia Biologics was recently issued a new patent: "Antibody Therapy for Modulating Function of Intestinal Receptors and Methods of Treating Diabetes and Obesity." This is a very important patent for the company as it helps to establish the breadth and value of their underlying antibody technology platform.  

Astia Sponsor Spotlight
Microsoft BizSpark Renews Support for Astia 

Astia is delighted to announce that Microsoft BizSpark has renewed its sponsorship of Astia for the upcoming 2012-13 year. Read more about  our partnership. Microsoft is a long-term supporter of Astia and our companies, spanning a global involvement from the US west and east coasts, in the UK and Europe, and beyond. Microsoft provides support to Astia through the BizSpark program, hosting events, enabling Microsoft leadership and expert engineers to act as Astia Advisors to companies, and promoting the essential work that Astia is doing worldwide. We are excited to be working on some very valuable additions to our partnership so watch this space!  

Asset Management Renews for 8th Year in Support of Astia


Astia is thrilled that Asset Management has renewed its support for an 8th year! With particular thanks to Pitch Johnson, who championed the original sponsorship and relationship and to Rich Simoni, who has been a longstanding Astia community member - serving on the technology committee, screening & selecting companies, speaking on panels, serving as an Astia Advisor and providing key strategic guidance to the organization as we have evolved our offering. Thank you!

Astia Events
About Astia in Michigan, hosted by Inforum and Ernst & Young


Please join Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek for our About Astia event in Michigan. The About Astia will be hosted by Inforum and Ernst & Young Detroit on Thursday, September 27, 2012, from 4:30-6:00 pm.
There is no fee to participate but attendees must register in advance with Inforum to clear building security. To register please contact Kristen Linegar at klinegar@inforummichigan.org or 313.578.3227.
Call for Application for Astia Angel Training Program


Astia Angel is currently seeking applicants for its training program that teaches women how to make angel investments through a comprehensive curriculum developed and taught by the Astia community.  Angels who complete the training program receive an experienced angel advisor and a one-year membership to the Astia Angel investor network.
The angel training program will kick off alongside the Astia entrepreneur program on October 25th.  For more information please contact Amy Gips at amy@astia.org.
Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek to Moderate Panel at Toigo Groundbreakers Conference

 The second annual Toigo Groundbreakers Women in Leadership conference will build on what was started by the foundation in 2011: Stories from inspiring leaders, perspective and advice for thinking about where you are, and where you'd like to go. Toigo created Groundbreakers to bring together senior leaders (and those on their way), share insights and inspire each other. From business trends and public policy to philanthropy, it's an opportunity to engage in conversation and learn about new areas outside your current "domain."

Astia Notes Guest Blog: MBA Grads Should Look to Startups

Astia Guest Blogger, Julianna Davies is a researcher and writer for the online MBA resource, http://www.mbaonline.com. She suggests that instead of looking to larger and more established corporations, recent MBA graduates set their sights on the startup community in order to find positions with growth potential and plenty of learning opportunities. Julianna picks up on a theme mentioned on Astia's blog, namely that startups allow for more freedom for their founders to develop the skills they need to succeed.  


Read the full post here>>

Astia Seeking Talented Program Manager 
Astia is currently seeking a talented Program Manager with exceptional relationship-building skills to join the Astia Team. If you would like more information, please email sneha@astia.org with Astia K30 Job Description in the Subject Line.
Astia Partner Spotlight
FT Financing Innovation Conference: Discount for Astia Community

Astia has partnered with the Financial Times for the upcoming FT Financing Innovation conference taking place on December 6, 2012 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. We are pleased to offer the Astia community a 20% discount for the conference (please use marketing code: FTASTIA). 


For more details, including agenda and speakers, visit: 


Women 2.0 PITCH NYC Conference and Competition


Attend Women 2.0 PITCH NYC Conference and Competition and network with 800+ men and women in tech at PITCH NYC Conference & Competition discussing the "New Entrepreneur Economy". Learn from talks given by leading women of tech companies and startups including Meebo, Songkick, Adafruit Industries, DailyWorth, Maykah and more.


Startup competition finalists will pitch live onstage to judging panel and audience for prizes. Participate in lunchtime mentoring and more!


Save 20% on PITCH NYC tickets with discount code "ASTIA" when you register here: http://pitch.women2.com

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