Runway is celebrating 10 years of worldwide distribution and 20 years in the tech marketplace, but finding something new is a talent of its own. Our media is to celebrate what is good in life and the people that bring those new flavors to us. For those of you whom do not know Jesse she is a key mind helping shape our future with the world of investing by funding women in consumer businesses from fashion and beauty to healthcare. Jesse has made it her life’s work to change the gender ratio at the CEO level first through her Emmy nominated talk show ‘The Valley Girl Show’ where she was the first talk show to ever make it an initiative to interview 50% women in business and now through her venture capital fund Halogen Ventures. Some of her portfolio companies include: WERK, Flex. Carbon38, BlockCypher, Beautycon & Sugarfina.
You look great today, what are you wearing?
Thanks so much. I depend on Carbon38 for most of my comfortable wardrobe attire, especially while I’m pregnant and larger than usual. Today I am wearing a red Carbon38 dress from their Passport collection. I also like to spice up my work attire with one of my rental items from Armoire, a great rental service for boss ladies like me. Ambika, the founder is trying to take the pain out of getting dressed and keeping you looking fabulous while saving you time.
Tell us about your daily schedule?
My son wakes me up every morning somewhere between 6AM and 6:30AM and demands a smoothie. He is obsessed with the blender so I usually sleepily make him some kind of smoothie while he yells ‘I want to use the blender smasher’ at me in my sleepy haze (for those of you unfamiliar, that is our technical term for the thing in the vitamix that mashes the fruit to help make a smoothie smooth). I then get dressed for the day and try to do at least an hour of uninterrupted email before the chaos begins. My beauty regimen is so fast because I never know if it will be interrupted by my son, husband or someone else. Then COFFEE. At that point I head to our Halogen office or to my first meeting. Depending on the day I usually have a meeting or call with one of our companies, am running around town to meet with an investor or speaking at some kind of entrepreneur oriented event. I think I am a pretty typical working Mom. Today, I had a few back to back networking with other VC funds to share deals.
What is your favorite thing in your closet and why?
I love leather jackets. I definitely collect them. I think my all time favorite item is my All Saints leather jacket, that and the Wonder Woman boots I keep in there. You can really get away with wearing a great leather jacket anywhere and with almost anything. I love it when they are broken in to the point that they fit you like a glove. I will wear them over dresses, jeans, you name it. I feel like myself when I am in a leather jacket and jeans. If I had it my way, I would be in a great pair of jeans, stilettos and a leather jacket every day.
So, what is on your horizon, what is next?
I just closed my first fund for Halogen Ventures which means I basically collected or raised a pool of money from other investors that is now for investing in women run companies like Carbon38, Armoire, Senreve, Vida all the way to our breast pump company Naya Health and our transportation company Hopskipdrive. I am now focused on investing that money and I see fund 2 on the horizon. I’m also pregnant with my second kid.
What are you most proud of? What is your greatest achievement.
First and foremost, my son. He is 2 and a ball of fun. Professionally, I am really proud to have successfully raised a fund focused purely on investing in women run tech companies. Not many people have been successful doing so in the past. Previously I ran a technology talk show that for 10 years called ‘The Valley Girl Show’. We were nominated for an Emmy which I consider a great achievement in another element of my life. I’m also proud of my ability to fly as not many humans can do that.
What is the best product you ever worked with?
There are so many great ones. One of the products I am most excited about right now is Preemadonna, the first NailBot that prints a picture in under 2 seconds directly onto your nail. You could take a picture of the sunset you are looking at and 2 seconds later have it on your nails. The technology is incredible and I can’t wait for you all to see it in the market.
What do you think of crypto-currency and how to you think RUNWAY will fair with its new ICO (RUNWAY COIN) www.runwaycoin.org opening to the public in February?
I’m so impressed that RUNWAY is going to have an initial coin offering! That is fantastic. It is the way of the future and I think it will make the financial world a simpler place and overall the world will be better place. We have a great blockchain company called Blockcypher that is like Amazon web services for blockchain and they are doing incredibly well. I am excited to see what happens in the next 5 years.
What schools do you work with?
I try to stay involved in the schools I attended. I went to a small high school called Menlo in Northern California and I went to UCLA for my BA. I now do a lot with UCLA’s entrepreneurship programs and women’s organizations. My mom also went to an all girls college called Smith that I like being involved with as well. She launched a business plan competition there for universities across the country that has done really well.
Do you work on any non-profits? Tell us about them.
I work with an organization called Bizworld that my Dad started when I was in 3rd grade to teach kids about entrepreneurship. It is now in 80 countries and has taught thousands of elementary students how to look at the world as a business. My grandmother has had Parkinson’s disease for 40 years so I am also involved in the Parkinson’s Institute.
What do you drive on a daily basis?
Hopskipdrive because it’s a safe on demand service for kids and childcare. They are the only ‘uber like’ service that fingerprints which terrifies you when you realize who you are getting into the car with in an uber or lyft. I’m a terrible driver. I may be one of the only people you will ever meet who has gotten not one but 2 speeding tickets for going over 110MPH (they were both on the 5 freeway for those of you curious how I can go that fast in LA). I have drastically slowed down since having kids but I still have friends and family who won’t get in the car with me. I’ve gotten a letter from the governor suggesting I stay off the road.
What kind of pets do you have?
I have a King Charles Spaniel named Archie who I consider to be my first born. He has been with me for almost 12 years and I love him so much. I named him Archie after Archie comic books as I am a huge fan and collector.
If you could only have 1 pair of shoes what would they be?
I prefer to go barefoot. Shoes are overrated. I’m always figuring out how long it is until I can take off my shoes. I take them off under tables, at the movies, at weddings. However, as this is not totally acceptable in my everyday life, I can always count on a great pair of tieks ballet flats because they are as comfortable as being barefoot.
Black Dress- Donna Karan
Blue and white dress: BCBG
Leather Jacket: Margaret O’Leary
Coral Top and Black Skirt: BCBG
Shoes: Sam Edelman and Stuart Weitzman
photo credit : Ricky Middlesworth