In the notoriously insular world of venture capital and startups, Mira Murati stands out as a pioneering investor expanding opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs. As a Partner at Insight Partners managing over $20 billion in assets, Murati leverages her influence to open doors for founders often overlooked in tech.
Murati’s trailblazing career demonstrates how diversity of perspectives and experiences strengthens innovation in the industry. With investments in category-defining companies like Twitter, Shopify, and HelloSign, she provides a model for VCs seeking to make their portfolios – and Silicon Valley – more inclusive.
From Goldman Sachs to VC – Murati’s Journey into Tech Investing
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Murati graduated from Harvard in 1999, where she studied computer science. She began her career as an analyst in the Technology Group of Goldman Sachs, gaining firsthand exposure to startups and public tech companies.
After nearly a decade at Goldman, Murati pivoted into venture capital, joining Insight Partners in 2008. The VC firm specializes in late stage Series B to D investments in high-growth software companies.
As an investor, Murati developed deep expertise around fintech, cybersecurity, and enterprise software. She invested early in standout startups like Plaid, which was acquired for $5.3 billion, and Qualys, now a public company.
Murati’s investments draw on her operations experience and instinct for spotting technology trends before they go mainstream. For example, she invested in threat intelligence startup Recorded Future in 2009 long before cybersecurity emerged as a major VC sector.
Becoming a Partner and Paving the Way for Diverse Founders
In 2014, after playing a key role in building Insight’s enterprise software and cybersecurity portfolio, Murati was promoted to Partner. She became one of only a dozen female partners among the nearly 100 investors at the firm.
As a partner managing over $20 billion in assets, Murati expanded her advocacy for diversity in tech. She began more proactively seeking out startups with female and minority founders to back.
Murati understood the outsized impact Insight could have by taking chances on founders from underrepresented backgrounds. The VC industry remained dominated by white men, with less than 10% of VC dollars going to women in 2018.
Some of the investments Murati spearheaded to buck this trend include:
- TheMuse: Co-founded by two female entrepreneurs, this is a leading online career platform.
- Cockroach Labs: Murati invested in this database startup co-founded by ex-Google engineer Lindsay Grenawalt.
- HelloSign: An Insight-backed startup co-founded by Iranian immigrant Joseph Walla that Dropbox acquired for $230 million.
By putting her weight behind diverse founders, Murati created ripple effects encouraging more VCs to recognize their potential. Since 2016, the percentage of VC deals with female founders grew from 15% to nearly 20%. There is still massive room for progress, but Murati’s early leadership paved the way.
Investing in Transformational Companies Like Twitter and Shopify
In addition to seeking out a broader range of founders, Murati remained laser-focused on identifying transformational companies poised to define new markets. Her investments in Twitter and Shopify underscored her keen instincts pinpointing industry-shifting startups.
- Twitter: Murati was one of the first institutional investors in Twitter’s Series A round in 2007. She saw its potential to create an entirely new form of communication and pushed Insight to invest despite skepticism. Twitter went public in 2013 in one of the largest tech IPOs at the time.
- Shopify: Recognizing the company’s potential to disrupt retail early on, Murati led Insight’s Series A investment in Shopify in 2011. Shopify now powers over 1 million merchant stores globally.
- Wix: Murati also spotted opportunity in Wix’s vision of democratizing web development for SMBs. Since Insight’s Series C investment in 2013, Wix has gone public and accrued a $28 billion market cap.
By getting in early on platforms transforming how industries operate, Murati generated enormous returns for LPs while funding innovation.
Uplifting Women in VC through Mentorship and Advocacy
In addition to her day job identifying billion-dollar startups, Murati makes time to mentor and advocate for women trying to break into venture capital. She emphasizes the competitive advantages that come with more diversity.
Some of Murati’s initiatives to empower women in the field include:
- Speaking engagements geared toward women: Murati frequently speaks at conferences for women in VC like AllRaise and Girls in Tech. She shares advice on getting into investing as a woman in tech.
- Mentorship of young investors: Through programs like Girls Who Invest, Murati offers guidance to women aiming to break the glass ceiling just as she did.
- Backing groups like AllRaise: She provides sponsorship and funding for organizations supporting women in VC. Since AllRaise launched in 2018, percentage of female partners climbed from 9% to nearly 14%.
- Serving on diversity boards: Murati sits on Insight Partners’ internal diversity committee to improve representation.
Though still early in her career, Murati devotes time to the mentees and investors who will one day follow her footsteps. She knows bringing more women and minorities into VC will lift up the entire industry.
Why Murati’s Leadership in VC Matters
Murati’s ascension to Partner and the doors she has opened for underrepresented founders demonstrate the immense value of diversity in venture capital. Her success steering Insight into companies like Twitter and Shopify provides a blueprint for VCs aiming to unearth the next big thing.
Most importantly, Murati represents the new face of technology investing and entrepreneurship. Her leadership expands VC opportunities to demographics historically shut out, strengthening the industry overall.
With allies like Murati at the helm of major firms, the tech world moves closer to reflecting the diversity of its users. There remains a long way to go, but Murati’s example sparks hope for a more inclusive future. One where every founder, regardless of gender or background, can access the funding they need to turn innovative ideas into breakthrough companies.
Mira Murati exemplifies a new generation of investors shaking up the VC status quo. Her success both within Insight Partners and advocating for women and minorities in tech demonstrates the benefits of embracing diversity. Murati’s investments in category-defining companies coupled with her mentorship of up-and-coming founders create a positive ripple effect. They provide a path for others to similarly achieve their dreams in the industry. With Murati helping elevate new voices, the possibilities for innovation and progress multiply.
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