Floodgate is a successful Palo Alto, Calif. based venture capital firm, and its co-founder Ann Miura-Ko has been termed as "the most powerful woman in startups." This title doesn't come easy, Miura-Ko successfully invested in many lucrative ventures including Lyft, Ayasdi, Modcloth, JoyRun, Refinery29, TaskRabbit, and Xamarin.
What is most impressive is Floodgate’s date of conception, 2008. It was at the height of a world recession where money was scarce, and Angel’s were not writing big checks due to their unstable foundations. Them Miura-Ko and her partners set up Floodgate. When asked what was the difference between 2008 and today? Miura-Ko answered that the setting behind their inception was based on the vacuum of finding venture cash in the markets. There was also one fundamental difference in the markets back then and today. Previously it was taken for granted that any new venture started with a threadbare budget, where founders lived in attics and employees were given options rather than cash. Today this is no longer the case; start-ups cost more to establish, employees demand a wage and not a dream and fundraising takes into account a viable financial statement, not a fantasy based on a penny to riches story.
Regarding Lyft, Muira-Ko invested into this company when it was only a fledgling start-up with an estimated value of $5 million. Muira-Ko stated that she has known ad holds a close relationship with Lyft's founding partners and believes that their corporate culture focusing on drivers and the integrity of the service is what will ultimately make it a bigger and more successful company than Uber. According to Muira-Ko, Lyft's step by step expansion is not based on a conservative view of the marketplace but by a defined business plan of action that allows Lyft to focus on what is important every step of the way.
Apart from Floodgate’s rideshare investment, they have investments in many diverse fields, ranging from brain microscopes to materials for clothing. She is also an exponent for woman power in venture capital industry claiming that her company has received up to 20% more female pitches, while most other companies get around 1% to 2% pitches from women-based start-ups. In her opinion, this is both a complete to her as well as a major issue for women in the industry. Muira-Ko emphatically states that women should approach every spare of funding and not seek out the feminine touch.
Muira-Ko reminisces about Floodgate’s past, remembering that the founding days were rife with issues such as unclogging a toilet, which both she and her partner Mike would take turns in doing. She is also happy that her company specializes in such a diverse scope of investments. By taking a wider view of the market, limited partnerships allow for partners to bring diverse knowledge into the business and as such provide a wider referral base and wider trust in investments.