Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveils a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, women’s rights activist were allowed to leave prison in Saudi Arabia, and Ellevest raises another chunk of cash. Have a lovely weekend.
A reminder: Equal Pay Day is next Tuesday, April 2nd. To mark the occasion, we’re collecting stories from Broadsheet readers about your experiences with the pay gap. If you have a story or opinion to share—and you haven’t yet done so, please send it to Emma at email@example.com. We may use your responses in a future Broadsheet.
• Mo’ money. Yesterday morning, Ellevest announced that it has secured $33 million in additional funding—the biggest raise yet for the Sallie Krawcheck-led investing platform for women.
The round was led by returning investors Rethink Impact and PSP Growth, but what really caught my eye is the sheer number of big name women who joined in: Melinda Gates, via Pivotal Ventures; former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett (also an investor in The Wing); Linnea Roberts of GingerBread Capital; and Elaine Wynn, the co-founder of Wynn Resorts, which—as I’m sure you’ll recall—faced a reckoning over alleged sexual misconduct by former CEO Steve Wynn, Elaine Wynn’s co-founder and ex-husband. (He denies the charges.)
Krawcheck spoke to Emma about the funding—and specifically what it’s like to work with female investors. Raising money from women (many of whom primarily back women-led companies) has gotten more challenging as Ellevest has progressed and started targeting bigger rounds, Krawcheck says: “There is so much fantastic activity for women and allies investing in women at seed and Series A, and you get to bigger rounds and it gets to be a wasteland.”
That’s a facet of the VC world that’s sometimes overlooked. A recent survey of female venture capitalists by the organization Women in VC found that 66% of female investors invest at the seed stage and 71% invest at the Series A level. But look ahead to Series B and growth stage investing—when the dollar figures get significantly bigger—and the numbers plummet (39% and 22%, respectively). It’s a trend that limits the prospects of female investors—and those of female entrepreneurs.
I’ll let Krawcheck speak on that last point. She told Emma that the experience of pitching certain male-dominated firms has been quite eye-opening: “You begin to meet with VC firms where you ask, ‘Tell me about the female CEOs in your portfolio,’ and the answer is, ‘We have one.’” Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Trillion-dollar plan. Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a new policy platform as part of her 2020 run: a plan to invest $1 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure. The candidate’s proposal would rebuild roads, highways, and bridges—a rare bipartisan issue. Wall Street Journal
• At your local Walmart. Bobbi Brown is heading to Walmart. Her line of wellness supplements has been sold on QVC since last year, but a new deal brings the probiotic powders and hair growth gummies to the mega-retailer’s shelves. The line is said to have reached $11 million in sales in its first year. Business of Fashion
• Au revoir, imposter syndrome. Our Trailblazer series continues with Jotaka Eaddy, VP of policy at fintech startup LendUp. Eaddy shares how she conquered the imposter syndrome that struck when she arrived in Silicon Valley—even though she’d already had an impressive career. “There is this idea that you have to be something other than yourself,” she says. Fortune
• A sign of progress? Three women’s rights activists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia were freed Thursday, but the criminal trial they face is still proceeding. The activists, identified by a human rights group as Rokaya Mohareb, Aziza al-Youssef, and Eman al-Nafjan, are accused of “acting as foreign agents and working to undermine the security of Saudi Arabia” for their work advocating for expanded women’s rights in the kingdom. New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Madeleine Macey was named CMO at Liberty, the British luxury department store. Stephanie Coyles joins the board of Hudson’s Bay Company. Leah Chernikoff will be Glossier’s first head of content. The Atlantic hires Johanna Mayer-Jones as SVP, partnerships. Jeanne Gang, an architect known for designing Chicago’s Aqua Tower, won a competition to design the first new terminal at O’Hare International Airport in more than 20 years—making her the first female architect to design a major U.S. airport terminal. Rita McLean was named SVP and CFO of McKesson Technology.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• #MeToo hits the activist community. Even the field of reproductive rights activism isn’t safe from sexual misconduct allegations. Dr. Willie Parker, the well-known physician who travels the South to provide abortions to women unable to access them, has been accused by abortion rights activist Candice Russell of sexual assault. Parker has denied the allegations; Russell described Parker’s behavior as an open secret in the activist community. The Cut
• An important piece of the past. In Oregon, Karin Immergut is a nominee to the federal district court who’s popular on both sides of the aisle. But, as Mark Joseph Stern of Slate points out, an undiscussed piece of her history is her role in Kenneth Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Immergut was a prosecutor with the special counsel, remembered for the invasive questions she asked Lewinsky—something no senator brought up when Immergut testified ahead of the vote on her confirmation. Slate
• Interview with a genius. Karen Uhlenbeck, the mathematician who became the first woman to win the Abel Prize or “Nobel Prize of math” earlier this month, talked to The New Yorker about her incredible career, what she actually does as a mathematician, and gender dynamics in the field. Of being a normal, nice person and not a math genius stereotype, she says: “Some of the young women are absent-minded, crazy mathematicians. But in my day you couldn’t afford to be!” The New Yorker
• Dio’s directive. Susan Dio, the president and chairman of BP America, writes for the Houston Chronicle that it’s essential for the EPA to regulate methane emissions. “There is a clear business case for doing this. Simply, the more gas we keep in our pipes and equipment, the more we can provide to the market,” she says. Houston Chronicle
ON MY RADAR
Elizabeth Holmes needed fashion advice. I suggested a black turtleneck Elle
There’s no afro emoji. These women want to change that New York Times
What Broad City meant to millennial Jewish women The Cut
Will we ever stop debating leggings? Vox