There are many in Silicon Valley who’d like to find better ways to integrate female operators and investors into the tech scene but who think it will simply take time – time for more women to enter engineering programs, time for more women to join tech startups, and time for more women to form their own venture firms, as some have begun to do.
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is not one of those people. Yesterday afternoon, Cassidy took the wraps off an idea she’s been working on for the last couple of months called BoardList. In a nutshell, it’s an online repository of more than 600 women who are “board ready” and who, Cassidy believes, can and should be placed on the boards of early-stage startups.
Her argument is twofold: First, broadly speaking, most companies don’t think about an independent board member until they’ve hit their Series C (or even later) funding round. Until that point, they tend to rely heavily instead on advisers. But that’s a mistake, says Cassidy, who has held a variety of operational positions in Silicon Valley over the last 15-plus years and is today the founder and CEO of the venture-backed startup Joyus.