“Starting a business is a privilege,” says Burton O’Toole, who worked at several startups before launching and then selling AdMass, his own marketing technology company. The company gave her access to the HearstLab program in 2016, but soon discovered she preferred the investment aspect and became vice president of HearstLab a year later. “Empowering some of the smartest women to do what they love is great,” she says. But in addition to rooting in women, Burton O’Toole loves work because it’s a great market opportunity.
“Research shows that women-led teams perform twice and a half times higher than men-led teams,” she says, adding that women and people of color tend to build more diverse teams and therefore they benefit from different points of view and perspectives. He also explains that companies with women on their founding teams are likely to be acquired or go public sooner. “Despite results like this, only 2.3% of venture capital funding goes to teams founded by women. It’s still surprising to me that more investors don’t take this data more seriously, ”he says.
Burton O’Toole, who earned a Duke degree in 2007 before earning a master’s and doctorate from MIT, all in mechanical engineering, has been a “data nerd” ever since he recalls. In high school I wanted to be an actor. “Ten years ago, I would never have imagined this work; I like the idea of doing something in 10 years more than I could have imagined now, ”he says.
When they start a business, says Burton O’Toole, “women usually want all their ducks in a row before acting. They say,‘ I’ll do it when I have this promotion, have enough money, I’ll finish this project. ’But there’s only one Good way, make the leap. “