Women’s Forum – March 1st, 2017
5:00pm – 7:00pm
THE NEW FACE OF M&A:
Next Gen Women Entrepreneurs
and Investors Leaning In
Moderator: Lee Fan, Vice President, Technology Investment Banking – BofA Merrill Lynch
Carol Sands, Founder and Managing Member – The Angels’ Forum and The Halo Funds
Crystle Wong, Founder and President – Sparxo
Alison Bailey Vercruysse, Founder & CEO – 18 Rabbits
Despite all the obstacles women entrepreneurs face, there has never been a better time in U.S. history to be a woman entrepreneur. The number of women- owned firms has grown 68 percent since 2007, much higher than the national average of 47 percent. Statistics like this continue to indicate progress and greener paths ahead for female business owners. But more work is to be done.
Women-owned businesses receive just 7 percent of venture capital investment money, which is highly disproportionate to their role in the economy. So, why aren’t women-led businesses getting the funding they need?
Please join our panel of experts to discuss ways to overcome these challenges and to explore all the potential opportunities for women to build their own dreams.
BIO: Lee Fan - Vice President in Technology Investment Banking BofA Merrill Lynch
Lee Fan is a Vice President in Technology Investment Banking at BofA Merrill Lynch. She is based out of Palo Alto and covers companies in the Internet and Digital Media space. Working with public companies as well as emerging startups in various subsectors within the Internet industry, Lee has experiences in both public offerings and M&A.
Prior to BofA Merrill Lynch, Lee was an Mergers & Acquisitions Associate at Evercore and Healthcare Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley. She has also worked at Shinsei Bank in Tokyo and Ashe Capital in Shanghai.
Lee holds an MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelors of Science’s degree in Economics from Duke University.
BIO: Carol Sands, Founder & Managing Member – The Angels’ Forum and The Halo Funds
Carol Sands is the Founder and the Managing Member of The Halo Funds. She has spent the last 36 years with investing, entrepreneurial, and/or large corporate institutions. Carol’s career started in the Midwest where she was a bank officer with First Bank Systems and held marketing or sales positions with Motorola andXerox Computer Services. After moving to San Francisco, she was hired into executive positions at Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young) and Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Then Carol founded SandsMarketingPlus, an international sales management and marketing consulting firm with advertising & PR agencies. In 1997, she incorporated The Angels’ Forum Management Company; the parent company for a revolutionary company in angel investing that organizes individual investors with previous entrepreneurial experience to invest as a single entity using a venture capital model for due diligence, mentoring, and board management, called The Angels’ Forum. In 2000, Carol co-founded Halo I, a $25 million venture fund invested in early-stage, Silicon Valley based start-ups, with Ed Esber, Phil Schlein, Craig Sirnio and Ed Berkowitz. With the same core partners, Halo Fund II was launched in 2004.
An annex fund to Halo I, The Halo Opportunity Fund (January 2006) had Carol continuing as the Managing Member. In 2007, Ed Esber and Carol Sands co-founded The Halo Fund III Management Company with Phil Schlein, Craig Sirnio, and Nagesh Mhatre. In addition to her investment-based responsibilities, Carol is the Chair of the Global Women’s Leadership Network, and a board advisor to Facing History and Ourselves. She is a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), an Advisory Board Member for Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE) and the ANZA Technology Network, as well as a member of The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs & Executives (FWE&E) and the Women’s Forum West.
She is also a Director of the Sands Family Foundation which funds early stage and pre-NIH research relating to prostate and ovarian cancers. Carol received her B.A. in Business Administration from The University of Iowa. Click here for more info http://www.halofund.com/index.htm
BIO: Crystle Wong - Co-Founder & President, Sparxo
In the last few years, Crystle has transitioned from working the front lines of events to building technology solutions for the problems she and fellow event organizers face and struggle with. 2017 Marks the beginning of the 7th year with her co-founding team with Sparxo. Who better to build technology that enhances your brand experiences and community around events than event pros themselves? Today, Sparxo has global presence in four countries including Canada, China, Mexico, and the United States.
With it’s plethora of clients around the world, you’ve likely engaged with Sparxo technology without realizing it. Sparxo’s goals are to build your brand and community, not Sparxo’s. If you are just hearing about Sparxo, then Sparxo’s team is doing their job right. Other than traveling the world working with event organizers and companies to utilize technology to enhance their brand, event experience, and ultimate goals, she serves and supports organizations around poverty, homelessness, and youth empowerment.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for LSS Northern California, APAPA San Francisco, Designing a Difference, and the APA Heritage Foundation Committee. She has been notably active in her Church community serving often as a Church reader and Bible study advocate throughout her life. She supports the arts and has been selected to serve on the Friends of Smuin committee.
BIO: Alison Bailey Vercruysse, Founder and CEO, 18 Rabbits, Inc.
Alison Bailey Vercruysse is the Founder and CEO of 18 Rabbits, Inc. From Dallas to Chicago to San Francisco, Alison, the Founder of 18 Rabbits, went from the world of banking to the world of baking. Alison worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, but found her heart was in creating baked goods. In San Francisco, she delved into the pastry kitchen at the acclaimed Citizen Cake as an apprentice under the tutelage of Elizabeth Faulkner, and then learned hands-on large scale production in the pastry kitchen at Taste Catering.
Alison then went on to create Divinely D’lish organic pastries where she delivered scones, muffins and granola to cafes around San Francisco using ingredients from the Ferry Building Farmers Market. In 2004, Alison decided to package the granola and ‘pounded the pavement” to get her granola on grocery stores shelves. In 2005, Divinely D’lish granola was accepted on the shelves of Whole Foods all over California. Alison decided it was time to raise money, go nationwide and develop granola bars. In February 2008, Alison launched 18 Rabbits organic granola and bars. 18 Rabbits was the first bar in Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Dean and DeLuca.
Alison is profiled in the book Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks and Food Activists by Katherine Leiner, 2010. Alison testified in front of the Congress of the United States in September 2012 at the request of the Financial Services Committee on how the JOBS Act could promote capital formation and facilitate public offerings. She also served on the Board of Directors and the Loan Review Committee of Working Solutions, a not-for-profit that provides Bay Area entrepreneurs with access to capital and resources to start or grow a successful business. Alison is also a member of OSC2, a group of organic CPG entrepreneurs dedicated to pursuing solutions to combat climate change. Alison holds an MBA from DePaul University and a BBA from Southern Methodist University.
Members and Non-members: $75/person
5:00pm – 5:30pm Check in and Networking
5:30pm – 6:20pm Panel Discussion
6:20pm – 7:00pm Q&A and Closing Remarks
875 Howard Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA