USJC Women+ Forum & Investing Affinity Group Host Demystifying The Funding Process Webinar

On May 22, the USJC Women+ Forum and Investing Affinity Group co-hosted a virtual webinar and networking event on “Demystifying the Funding Process.” During this highly anticipated webinar, Forum Chair Council Leader Noël Mika Bahamón (Go Rentals) moderated an insightful discussion with USJC members Associate Kay Makishi (Yasu Ventures, ELP ‘13), Board Member Andrew Ogawa (Quest Venture Partners), and Associate Riki Yamauchi (Novastar Ventures, ELP ‘22), who shared their perspectives and experiences from having led venture capital funds targeting different markets and stages of start-ups. The event concluded with breakout sessions wherein attendees had the opportunity to network with each other and the panelists.

This webinar represented the first partnership between the Women+ Forum and the new Investing Affinity Group, fostering partnership within the USJC community and paving the way for future collaboration and education. Key insights highlighted during the discussion included what early-stage funding and how venture capital differs from private equity, differences between regional startup ecosystems (such as the United States, Japan and Africa), important qualities for founders to keep in mind, particularly for those from underrepresented backgrounds, and what it means to invest with the goal of having a positive societal impact.

The Women+ Forum focuses on advancing women and offers opportunities to expand their networks across regions, country borders, and demographics to build new relationships. The group aims to discuss issues and exchange information in a safe and supportive environment, as well as enhance skills for professional career and leadership development. 

The Investor Affinity Group is a collective of venture capitalists, angel investors, and other finance professionals with a focus on start-ups. They host virtual speaker sessions and founder pitch events aimed at fostering collaboration and mutual learning.