Allison Baum venture capitalist
Remember that time you were stuck on the tarmac for hours or sitting in a café in Paris, and you struck up a conversation with a stranger? Something ‘clicked’; you felt you’d known them forever and in that moment the walls came down?
For the past four months my mind has kept returning to Tokyo, to a conversation I shared with Allison, a young American expat (and total badass). There was something familiar about her. We had an immediate connection, although we’d never met. She was open and funny. We drank giant mugs of filtered coffee in her living room. We could have chatted for hours.
At one point, Allison said to me, “I want to change the world in the biggest way I possibly can – because I believe it’s possible, that it’s needed, and otherwise what’s the point of being here?”
Such grandiose, clichéd statements typically sprout from the mouths of naive youth and first year law students. Many people resolve to change the world. Few succeed. After our conversation, I have no doubt that Allison will.
Life of 3.14159
“I am driven by a strong and sometimes detrimental sense of curiosity, as well as a desire for freedom, growth, connection, and meaning.”
A League of her own
Trade offs and burnouts
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”
Bringing tech education to Asia
A fresh start
Gender equality in a man’s world
“I get that you’re going to be into me because you’re an older man and I’m an attractive young woman but that’s not how I’d like this to go.”
In a nutshell, what does a venture capitalist do?
“Venture capitalists are the gatekeepers who decide which bright, young entrepreneur or new innovation to throw their support behind.” Canadian Business
Being a fervent advocate of the f-bomb, do you ever swear in meetings?
Sometimes. There is a fine line between being yourself and being sensitive to your surroundings. I usually catch people off guard with my four letter vocabulary skills, but I reign it in when I can tell it will be counterproductive in a given setting.
What advice would you give to a woman entrepreneur thinking of going at it alone?
Allison Baum venture capitalist – what she has achieved already will astound you
Aside from the prospect of coffee, what fuels your innate drive and makes you bounce out of bed in the morning?
So, why is your venture capital fund based in Tokyo?
What were you like as a kid?
So, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
“Why are we trying to fit into the system? Let’s create a new system. But it takes us saying, “Hey, it’s not our fault that we can’t fit into this; the world has to change, too.”
Was working for a big institution like Goldman Sachs always on your radar at University?
If you could change anything about your career path, what would you change?
Working for the bank must have been tough at times, what was the biggest challenge?
“I remember going over to my boyfriend’s apartment, he opened the door, and I started sobbing.”
Sure. Do you recall the exact moment you had this realisation?
What’s been your greatest career challenge and greatest success as a woman entrepreneur so far?
What’s your biggest bugbear in the corporate world?
What is something most people don’t know about you?
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Having worked in male dominated industries your entire career, have you been on the receiving end of any inappropriate comments?
“People don’t know what to do with me in Japan. It takes a lot of time to get them to trust me and see my value.”
We need standard responses for these scenarios, don’t you think?
“We have to find subtle ways to speak up and change minds without compromising ourselves.”
Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in Japan as a female entrepreneur?
“I changed dinner meetings to lunch meetings, I started building a community of people I wanted to meet instead, started running more events.”
What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
How’s the dating scene in Japan?
Have you always been in tune with your gut? If so, how did you cultivate it as a woman entrepreneur?
Finish this sentence: female empowerment is…
Where will you be in 10 years’ time?
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple with a slight edge.
Got any favourite brands?
How would your best friend describe you?
When you took General Assembly to Hong Kong, did you ever doubt your ability to pull it off?
How do you turn these ‘doubt days’ around?
Burnout is common these days, particularly for a woman entrepreneur, has it happened to you?
Is there someone you look up to?
What does success mean to you?
Are you a woman entrepreneur with a question for Allison Baum? Go ahead and ask in the comments section below.
Allison Baum venture capitalist