How r/wallstreetbets created the opportunity of a lifetime for startups and VCs

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Financial outcomes aside, numerous takes on the r/wallstreetbets x Robinhood showdown over GameStop — from the David and Goliath face-off of retail investors versus Wall Street, to the hypocrisy presented by Robinhood’s name, to the rare bipartisan condemnation of the trading app’s actions. I published my last piece, the Democratization of Financial Markets, right before Robinhood and other brokerages shut down trading. My message now is more important than ever.

Powerful forces are trying to hinder the rise of the retail investor, but the cat’s out of the bag, and she’s staying out.


Driven by an unprecedented amount of accessibility.

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Photo by Lloyd Blunk on Unsplash

Reading Fred Wilson’s blog post, The Revenge of Retail, this morning inspired me to get these thoughts down on paper.

First, a point for clarity. Markets are ruthless and it is likely a lot of retail traders are going to lose their asses treating the markets like a casino. Underneath that, though, is the rise of something I’ve been waiting to see for a very long time: a new power dynamic born out of a generational shift and technology’s ability to drive democratization and accessibility of information, data, and financial markets and tools. …


Emerging tech meets ESG

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Image via Topl.co

Two of my recent posts discuss the tailwinds in ESG and that transparency is the key to it all. Still, one critical question keeps me up at night: How do we ensure that the transition to a more sustainable future actually delivers on the social and environmental mandates it promises?

As a VC investor passionate about driving impact, I decided to highlight one of our portfolio companies working to answer this exact question.

If you’re a startup, I hope you can use this case study as a guiding framework. I’d also love to hear from you! …


Democracy is fragile. “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman is our call to action.

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Photo via Associated Press

Someone asked me why I cared so much about watching the entirety of the inauguration ceremonies. I didn’t know how to respond at first — Now I do.

For the first time in the past four years, especially over the last two months, and in particular during the last two weeks, I realized that our democracy is fragile. I can’t speak for my whole generation (because of my privilege) but maybe, just maybe, this is our wake-up call.

The rhetoric of unity instead of hate…


And a mega-market opportunity for tech startups.

Written & researched in collaboration with Gabi Skoff.

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Photo by Marc Schulte on Unsplash

My post last week discussed some of the recent forces driving ESG into the mainstream. This transformation is no shallow trend; it reaches deep into the heart of the financial services sector, with significant backing on an institutional level. The ESG revolution has arrived. But while behavioral changes and leadership support are fundamental to creating systemic changes, a sustainable transformation with holding power cannot be supported without the proper tools. And in this new normal of ESG integration, transparency will be key.

Gaps and Risks to Sustainable Change

While data supporting the ESG revolution abounds, the gaps in data…


A sociological analysis of how Millennials, Social Media and a Global Pandemic transformed the ESG trend into a key pillar for investors.

Written & researched in collaboration with Gabi Skoff.

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Photo by JING GUO on Unsplash

What does it take for a trend to become a norm? That’s a complex sociological question, but a simple answer is that the trend in question demonstrates continued value extending into the future. Sustainable investing is here to stay, and the infrastructure, mechanisms, and consumer demands developing around it tell us it’s not going anywhere.

ESG investing centers on three namesake pillars: (E)nvironmental, (S)ocial, and (G)overnance. Today, a growing share of investment processes, products, and active ownership practices are integrating ESG principles. Over the last seven years, the popularity of sustainable investing has soared…


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Image via Women in VC.

A fresh report by Women in VC, The Untapped Potential of Women-led Funds, is hot off the press, making it the newest reinforcement to a growing movement of increasing diversity in venture capital. The report, published today, paints a poignant, data-driven picture of the current state of gender equality and diversity in venture funding and urges that we are now at a critical juncture for enacting change in this space.

The report’s motivating question is one that also keeps me up at night — How come the funding stats for female founders have not been improved by the influx of…


How to use your anger to motivate action and align your values with your work

Written & researched in collaboration with Gabi Skoff.

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Image via hbr.org

A funny thing happened to me early on in my current relationship. My partner pointed out that whenever the topic of sexism came up in conversation, my entire energy would change. My body would have an actual physiological response, as emotions clouded my brain. After some reflection, I realized my response was triggered by resentment from an entire life dealing with sexism, gender biases, and societal constructs.

Women — no matter how far up the ladder, they may climb — face constant pressure from these same taxing constraints every day, as evidenced by the Vice Presidental Debate and the commentary…


The unconventional opinion that rage can drive progress

Written & researched in collaboration with Gabi Skoff.

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Image by Taylor Swift / YouTube via Insider

Last night’s presidential debate is exactly what a lack of emotional control looks like. The chaotic shouting match, finger-pointing, and name-calling demonstrated, among other things, the double standard women face when it comes to expressing emotions in a professional setting. The hypocrisy of the moment was not lost on writer and lawyer Jill Filipovic, who commented on Twitter that Biden’s plea to Trump, “will you just shut up, man?” marked the line of the night. “I so feel for Hillary right now”, Filipovic posted, “because I’m positive she wanted to say that and couldn’t”. “You have no idea”, Clinton responded.


Exploring the economic impact of gender bias in the world of venture capital and startups

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Image via The Atlantic

Let’s start this series off by unpacking the problem of implicit bias in business terms. Understanding the data, both empirical and experiential, is essential for understanding the lens through which I write.

As almost all of my male friends and counterparts can attest to, I believe and consistently vocalize that biases are maintained if we do not confront them head-on.

While I believe…

Samantha Lewis

Venture Capitalist at Mercury Fund. I can’t resist founders who care deeply about the problem they are solving, as I do. Opinions my own.

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