Renée LaBran - Women Founders Network
Women Founders Network provides capital, visibility and mentorship for female founders. Our annual Fast Pitch competition awards cash and services to women entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Accelerator, Women entrepreneurs, Startup, Women in Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Women in Technology, Startup Competition
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Renée LaBran

Idealab, Board Director; Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners, Partner

Background

I am currently a business advisor, board director, and investor. I have 25+ years business experience as a management consultant, operating executive for a major media company, and venture capitalist. I got involved in tech early on at the Los Angeles Times, where I co-founded CareerPath.com (now CareerBuilder) and was its first CEO, as well as Cars.com. After the Times, I was a founding partner of two VC funds, Rustic Canyon Ventures, an early stage tech fund, and RC/Fontis, a later stage fund focused on consumer products, including natural food and beverage and personal care. Most recently, I have served as advisor and mentor to start-up CEOs at Idealab, a 21 year-old tech incubator in Pasadena, and currently serve on their Board. I am Governor Brown’s appointee to the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California, as a non-attorney public member. I also serve on the boards of Sambazon, Direct Lending Inc., and WhiteCoat Health Care, in addition to advising and investing in a range of consumer and technology businesses. I am a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School.

Q: Why did you join the board?
A: I was one of only a few female VC partners for many years, during which time I saw how few women came to pitch, and how even fewer got funded. WFN was a chance to provide a showcase that was missing for female entrepreneurs.

Q: What have you learned?
A: It is still an uphill battle. But I love the way women come together as a community to support each other if you provide the platform.

Q: What most excites you about WFN?
A: Being able to involve more women (as entrepreneurs and as investors) in the start-up world, which is really the growth engine of our economy, particularly in Los Angeles.

Q: What types of startups really excite you?
A: I get excited by all types, but I especially enjoy consumer facing start-ups where I can see how much my friends and family love the product, and also companies that utilize really cool new technologies that not many people know about yet, but can change the landscape. And most importantly, I love working with great entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do!

Q: A few tidbits and random facts:

  • I am a CA native, born at Camp Pendleton, CA
  • I have 4.5M lifetime miles on American Airlines
  • Dating myself, but my first computer was one of those cute Macs – I had the upgraded 128K memory!