Lydia Hylton Explains Why She Joined Bain Capital Crypto Despite This Tweet – TechCrunch
Last month, on International Women’s Day, Bain Capital Crypto announced a $560 million crypto-native fund with an all-male partnership.
While all-male teams are an unfortunate commonality in business and crypto, the irony of the seamless announcement of a day dedicated to representation was quickly met with backlash on Twitter. That was enough to prompt the Bain Capital executive Stephane Cohen to apologize and affirm the team’s commitment to “hire women, invest in women-led projects, and be a driving force in the industry to champion the creativity and genius of women, non-binary people and people of color”.
Just over a week later, Bain Capital announced that it had hired the investor from Redpoint Ventures Lydia Hylton, who previously worked for Bain as a consultant before getting into tech as a data scientist at Facebook. In early 2021, after earning her MBA from Stanford, she joined Redpoint to help grow her crypto practice.
She spoke to TechCrunch last week, setting the record straight on the “difficult” optics of her career transition — and explaining what she plans to accomplish and who she plans to hire at her new gig.
Hylton, who has been on the job for four weeks, admits there was “definitely an error in judgment” on the part of the Bain Capital Crypto team for the launch on International Women’s Day given the composition of the team. But she says she’s not a diversity rookie: “I met the team in January and actually signed my offer before all the International Women’s Day stuff happened. .” The reason she was not included in this funding announcement is that she had not yet shared her plans with Redpoint, she said.
As Hylton watched the backlash on Twitter, she described her “natural fear” of people thinking she was hired as a reaction to the mistake. “I’m the elephant in the room,” she added.
Although the first week was “difficult” for the investor, she says she is ready to take the plunge.
Crypto started out as an intellectual curiosity for Hylton, who began learning about the space as decentralized finance – not NFTs and DAOs – took off as a concept. The interest turned into a career in investing when she realized that crypto and decentralization can “mobilize communities” in ways that traditional businesses could not.
As for crypto-skeptics, people who don’t believe decentralization or building on the blockchain matters, she thinks most pushbacks come from a privileged place. The war in Ukraine, Hylton notes, highlights how important it is to have decentralized sources of power in times of conflict and misinformation.
Hylton’s focus eventually made him want to join a company that was more technically crypto-focused, as Web3 founders need quite different types of support when it comes to building. She also wanted to join a platform that could help founders before and after launching a token, another nuance of web3 cap tables. Hylton declined to provide specific details about what her role as “partner” entails, such as whether she has a stake in the fund or check-writing capabilities, but said “all partners have the same responsibilities. in sourcing, directing and supporting investments.”
At Bain, where Hylton will focus on DeFi, Consumer and DAO-focused applications and protocols, she hints that she won’t be the only female partner on the team for long.
“All I can say is that I was 100 per cent confident that I wouldn’t be the only woman on the team for long, and that will definitely show up shortly as well,” she said. . “This perception of bro culture in crypto [versus] my experience with this team couldn’t be further from that,” she adds.
If Bain moves more aggressively to diversify its ranks, it would put Bain in the company of a growing number of crypto outfits working to address the lack of diversity in the industry.
Former Andreessen Horowitz partner Katie Haun recently announced an initial $1.5 billion fund to support crypto startups. Female partners such as Reach Capital’s Jomayra Herrera and Lightspeed’s Mercedes Bent bring a crypto lens to their established ventures — and this public spreadsheet only shows a fraction of the number of women of color building in the industry in the spotlight. There are even a number of DAOs – Decentralized Autonomous Organizations – dedicated to inclusion, with the Komorebi Collective focusing on supporting female-only, non-binary crypto founders.
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