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Black Opal Ventures’ Founder, Dr. Tara Bishop, Participates in the Venture Capital Panel at MIT’s Female Founders Pitch Competition

The MIT Sloan Club of New York held their annual Female Founders Pitch Competition earlier this month featuring panels on venture capital and entrepreneurship.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, the MIT Sloan Club of New York held its annual Female Founders Pitch Competition, bringing together founders, investors, experts, and sponsors. This event signifies a broader initiative to drive awareness and address the gender discrepancies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This year, eight finalists with MIT affiliations pitched their ventures, with Nicolette Driscoll, Co-Founder and CTO of NeuroBionics, taking home the first-place prize. 


Dr. Tara Bishop, Founder and Managing Partner of Black Opal Ventures, joined a panel alongside Gabriella Garcia from Two Sigma Ventures, Stephanie Campbell from The Artemis Fund, Victoria Grace from Colle Capital, and moderator, Laura Rippy from Alumni Ventures. The panel delved into the promising aspects of the startup ecosystem, offered advice for female founders, discussed future trends, and shared their favorite media. Dr. Bishop shared advice for founders, irrespective of gender: build a company with a large market, differentiated product, a proven team, and notable product-market fit. She also shared her perspectives on unconscious bias and unique challenges of being a female founder. Dr. Bishop noted that fewer women may be successful repeat entrepreneurs, women may not have the same networks as their male counterparts, and women often underplay their companies and abilities. She offered advice on how female founders can overcome these challenges including playing up start-up experience, tapping into unique networks, and delivering pitches with confidence. On a positive note, Stephanie Campbell shared positive statistics for funding for female founders and an uptick in funding for women-led VCs in 2023. 


Dr. Bishop reflected on her time as an undergrad at MIT and the support network the MIT community has provided throughout her career. Her Black Opal Ventures co-founder, Eileen Tanghal, was a college classmate, and their support of one another facilitated the launch of Black Opal.  



The MIT Sloan Club of New York is a mission-driven club that hosts a wide range of events in the greater New York City area.  Leveraging both the Sloan and MIT communities -- including graduates, fellows, professors, deans, and other affiliates, the Club's events range from lectures and presentations by distinguished professors, CEOs, and other experts; to fireside chats with successful entrepreneurs and domain experts in important topics-of-the-day; round-tables composed of luminaries in a particular field; and of course, social gatherings. 

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