Laura Rippy '89 to lead Green D Ventures

by Cameron Roller | 2/19/18 2:30am

On Feb. 8, venture capital firm Green D Ventures announced that Laura Bordewieck Rippy ’89 would be taking the lead as managing partner on the group’s fifth investment fund, Green D 5. The move is a departure from venture capital norms, in which only 8 percent of employees at top firms are female.

According to an email statement from Rippy, Green D Ventures started in 2014 with the vision that “more people should invest in venture-backed startups and that it was best done as a community.” Since the group’s initial funding in 2015, it now includes nearly 500 alumni investors, the statement said. Rippy joined the firm as a managing partner in October 2017.

Dartmouth was the “test bed” for this model of investment firm, according to Rippy’s statement, but once Green D Ventures proved that the model of “alumni investing in alumni” worked, founder Michael Collins ’86 spread the concept to other institutions like Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University. These investment groups all currently fall under the managing company of Alumni Ventures Group.

Green D Ventures is funded solely by Dartmouth alumni and invests only in Dartmouth alumni-led companies, creating “a virtuous cycle of Dartmouth folks helping Dartmouth folks be successful,” Rippy wrote in her email.

“Part of the secret of successful venture investing is finding opportunities others miss,” Rippy wrote. “As an all-female investment team, we believe that we have the ability to find some diamonds in the rough that others, in the mostly male venture capital world, will miss.”

Rippy also wrote that according to venture capital firm First Round Capital, companies with a woman on the founding team outperform their all-male peers by 63 percent.

Being a woman has been beneficial in her career, Rippy wrote.

“When I was a CEO, it was so much easier to stand out as a female,” she wrote. “I was pitching [to venture capitalists] who heard dozens of teams present every week. But at that time, only 4 percent of venture capital went to female-led startups. I was memorable, if nothing else.”

As part of its most recent funding round, Green D Ventures invested in Siris Medical, founded by Colin Carpenter A&S’09 Th’09 and Nicholas Mourlas ’92 Th’93. According to the company’s website, the firm aims to optimize treatment delivery and outcomes for cancer patients.

Carpenter said he appreciated the relevance of Green D Ventures’ expertise in health and technology and the locations of the firm’s investors.

“Our investment strategy was to find investors [who] have the mix of a wide range of expertise, but especially expertise in technology and medicine … also, there’s a strong Dartmouth connection to the team,” he said.

Carpenter said that diversity is important for investment teams, supporting Green D Ventures’ decision to form an all-female investment team.

“I think it always comes down to performance, but I think it is always great to have diverse teams and investors from different backgrounds,” Carpenter said.

One of the original investors that Siris Medical worked with, a San Francisco-based firm called Broadway Angels, is also comprised of an all-female group of investors and business executives.

General partner of Cloud Apps Capital Partners Matt Holleran ’89 has worked with Green D Ventures on several joint investments.

“[Rippy] seminally brings [her] operating experience at Microsoft and [experiences from] having been a CEO of a company at scale and having raised capital and been an investor,” Holleran said. “That combination is one we believe in. Having that lens and having someone like [Green D Venture’s principal Lacey Johnson Tu’13], who we’ve interacted with … we think it is the right combination of operating and investing experience.”

According to Rippy, Green D 5 plans to focus on “high-growth companies, typically in technology or life science sectors that are venture capital-backed,” meaning companies that have already found a lead investor.

“Green D is a perfect role for me,” Rippy wrote. “I get to talk with Dartmouth entrepreneurs, Dartmouth venture capitalists and Dartmouth alums about innovation all day long.”

Correction Appended (Feb. 20, 2018): The original version of this article misstated the number of the firm's alumni investors. The article has been updated to correct this error.