Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Internet whisperer Mary Meeker reveals her latest predictions, the maker of Ambien spars with Roseanne Barr, and Melinda Gates talks about why she’s investing big in women.
Also, a bit of exciting Broadsheet news: Fortune’s delightful Claire Zillman (@clairezillman), a co-chair of our upcoming Most Powerful Women International Summit London and a veteran member of team MPW, is officially coming aboard as co-author of The Broadsheet. Please give her a warm welcome—and send her all your juiciest tips—at Claire.Zillman@fortune.com. Meanwhile, I’m headed out for a week of vacation. Have a wonderful Thursday and I’ll see you in June.
• Melinda talks money. Fortune‘s Polina Marinova (get her deals newsletter, Term Sheet, here) talks to Melinda Gates about her decision to venture into venture, quietly investing in female-led or minority-focused VC firms such as Aspect Ventures, Female Founders Fund, and Defy Partners.
“I am a big believer in disruptive innovation, but it’s been incredibly disappointing to watch how few women-led businesses are getting funded,” Gates told Polina. “Ultimately, if we want more innovation and better products, we’ve got to put more money behind women and minorities. That wasn’t happening, so I decided to step in and see what I could do to help a little bit.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Gates—who is, of course, also the co-chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—talks about everything from the impact of the #MeToo movement on the VC world, to the industries she’d like to see get more fundraising dollars, to the way she handles people who expect her husband Bill to be the Foundation’s real decision maker.
I particularly like this tip for how female founders (and really all of us) can help make sure they get the credit and authority they’re due:
“She needs to surround herself with people who have her back, who know she is the leader—man or woman. As soon as the person turns to the male at the table, he would reference back to the female founder and say, ‘Jane actually knows the answer to that. Jane, you and I were just talking about that. Tell them what you think.’
You do that once or twice and the people at the table will stop asking him the questions and realize that she’s the one that knows this business deeply, and she’s the one who has credibility.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Minding Meeker. VC and former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker presented her Internet Trends report at Recode’s Code Conference yesterday. The rather unimaginatively named report has become a much-anticipated annual institution, and this year’s version is full of interesting morsels about smartphones, home assistants, and the ever-growing amount of time we’re all spending online.
• Call in the marshals. U.S. marshals have served former Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon with a subpoena to compel her to testify before a Senate committee. Simon, who resigned from Michigan State in January amid questions about the school’s employment of Larry Nassar, had voluntarily agreed to testify at the Senate committee’s hearing on May 22 regarding sex abuse in sports. But after the hearing was postponed, Simon’s lawyer refused to accept service of the subpoena on her behalf, prompting the marshals to get involved.
New York Times
• A cast of creatives. Fast Company‘s annual list of the most creative people in business is out. A few women who caught my eye: production designer Hannah Beachler (Black Panther, Moonlight, Creed), Amazon Go mastermind Gianna Puerini, and Vice News reporter Elle Reeve.
• Zzzzz. As predicted, Tuesday’s Roseanne Barr news-a-thon continued yesterday, with the comedian attempting to blame her racist message on “Ambien tweeting.” That prompted Ambien maker Sanofi to throw some Twitter shade of its own: “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication,” wrote the company.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Ms. Kardashian goes to Washington. Kim Kardashian West met with President Trump at the White House yesterday to discuss prison reform. The (current) reality TV star has said she would not bring family members or cameras along. Among Kardashian West’s priorities for the meeting: making a legal argument to Trump for why he should pardon Alice Johnson, a 62-year-old great-grandmother serving a life sentence without parole for a first-time drug offense.
• Invest in black women. Axios points out that while there are at least 43 Democratic black women running as challengers for U.S. House seats, only one—Lauren Underwood of Illinois—has the backing of the national campaign organization. Despite African-American women’s long history as a solid Democratic voting bloc, now that “they’re running for office in overwhelming numbers… some feel the party isn’t investing in them.”
• More on Mario. The sexual harassment allegations against Mario Batali continue—Eater spoke to a number of women who say they were groped by the chef, and in a couple of cases, have published photos or video from the encounters. The story notes that this report brings the total number of women accusing Batali of some form of sexual misconduct to 18.
• Skimm textt? The Skimm, led by co-CEOs Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, has launched a Q&A texting service (staffed by humans rather than bots) that will allow its paid app subscribers to ask questions about the news, solicit tips (like how to ask for a raise) or get advice (say, should they drop their cable subscription).
ON MY RADAR
IBM pledges $30 million for techies to fight natural disasters
52 women accuse former USC gynecologist George Tyndall of sexual misconduct
I’m Heather Dietrick, CEO of the Daily Beast, and this is how I work
89-year-old woman with 12 children graduates college