|Born||1970 (age 50–51)|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
Harvard Business School
|Known for||Founder and Managing Partner of Cowboy Ventures|
Lee coined the often-used Silicon Valley term unicorn in a TechCrunch article "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups" as profiled in The New York Times. A unicorn is generally defined as a privately held startup that has a $1 billion valuation or more – something rare (like a unicorn).
Lee earned her bachelor's degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1992. After MIT, she worked as a financial analyst for two years at Morgan Stanley. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997.
Through Cowboy Ventures, Lee has made investments in many early-stage companies, including August, Dollar Shave Club, Accompany and Tally Technologies. She is a public advocate of increasing the number of female founders and investors in the Silicon Valley.
In 2018, Lee co-founded All Raise, a nonprofit organization which seeks to increase the amount of funding that female investors receive. The organization was founded as a collective by more than 30 venture capitalists who advocate for increasing the presence of women in venture capital. Lee described the organization's importance in saying “We believe that by improving the success of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem, we can build a more accessible community that reflects the diversity of the world around us.”
Awards and Recognition
Lee was invited to speak at the 2018 Code Conference put on by Recode and additionally at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. She also spoke at the 2019 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit. and is recognized as a speaker for the organization Lesbians Who Tech and the Female Founders Conference.
Lee has appeared on Forbes' list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women (position #97 as of 2020) and the Midas List in 2020 (position #80), 2019 (position #82), and 2018 (position #97). She also appeared on Time's list of 100 Most Influential People in 2019.
- "Executive profile". Boardroom Insiders. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
- Lee, Aileen (2 November 2013). "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Schubarth, Cromwell (13 January 2014). "VC Aileen Lee on rarity of $1B tech 'unicorns,' diversity". Silicon Valley Business Journal.
- Tsotsis, Alexia (10 April 2012). "Brit Morin Engages $1.25M From Marissa Mayer, Aileen Lee, Founders Fund And More To Launch Her First App, Weduary". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Kolodny, Lora (17 December 2013). "VC in 2014: Kleiner Perkins' Aileen Lee on How Venture Needs to Deliver Better Returns". WSJ.
- Perez, Sarah (30 July 2012). "Aileen Lee Almost Done Raising $40 Million For New Seed Called "Cowboy Ventures"". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Taylor, Colleen (6 April 2012). "VC Giants, Thinking Smaller: Why Kleiner Perkins' Aileen Lee Is Getting Into Seed Funding". TechCrunch. AOL.
- Ryan Lawler (September 26, 2014). "Aileen Lee's Cowboy Ventures Is Raising A $55 Million Second Fund". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
- Jonathan Krim (March 1, 2015). "Working Their Way Around Male VC Dominance". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
“Can we give this to VC firms for free?” quipped Aileen Lee, a prominent venture capitalist who two years ago left her full time work at Kleiner Perkins to co-found her own VC firm, Cowboy Ventures.
- Manjoo, Farhad (5 July 2015). "Unicorn: A Fitting Label for Its Time and Place". The New York Times.
- Bryant, Adam (2015-12-03). "Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures: Aim to See Beneath the Surface". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
- "Recode: Women in tech are held to tougher standards than men — and that has to change, investor Aileen Lee says". 3 October 2016.
- Loizos, Connie. "VC Aileen Lee just offered some very specific advice to female founders looking for funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
- "Pando: Aileen Lee on hiring Ted Wang and making VC more "human"". 24 January 2017.
- "Fast Company: Tech's Actual Gender Numbers Are Vague And Grim. A Small Tweak Could Change That". 10 March 2015.
- "TechCrunch: Cowboy Ventures just rounded up $95 million for its third fund".
- "Pitchbook: Q&A: Aileen Lee on Cowboy Ventures' latest fund, getting women on her cap table and what keeps her motivated".
- "VC Corner: Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures". www.startupgrind.com. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
- Kolodny, Lora. "Tally raises $15 million for app to make credit cards less expensive, easier to manage". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
- "San Francisco-based credit card management app Tally raises $15 million - Silicon Valley Business Journal". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
- "Aileen Lee". angel.co.
- Loizos, Connie. "VC Aileen Lee just offered some very specific advice to female founders looking for funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
- "Fast Company: This is how we get more women in venture capital". 20 September 2018.
- "TechCrunch: All Raise wants to increase the amount of venture funding female founders receive".
- "TechCrunch: Cowboy Ventures' Aileen Lee says enough with favoring the 'good guys'".
- "GeekWire: Silicon Valley VC Aileen Lee offers advice to Seattle: Make technology more equitable".
- "Nasdaq: Silicon Slopes: Aileen Lee, Cowboy Ventures Founding Partner". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Lesbians Who Tech Speakers".
- "Female Founders Conference Speakers".
- "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
- "The Midas List 2021". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
- Chaykowski, Kathleen. "Meet The Top Women Investors Of The Midas List In 2019". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
- "Forbes: Meet The Top Women Investors On Midas In 2018".
- "100 most influential people 2019".