Bao-Y joined Target Global in 2017 and is one of the leaders of Target’s growth-stage investment practice. She has a particular focus on companies in the Edtech, Consumer and Software industries and has led our investments in companies including Lepaya, Crisp and Elopage.

Bao-Y joined Target from Morgan Stanley’s Mergers & Acquisitions team where she advised companies in the TMT, Financial Services, and Industrials industries in both London and Sydney. She began her career as a graduate trainee at Postbank in Germany. She holds an M.Sc in Finance from Imperial College London and a B.Sc in Business Administration from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. A German national, she is also fluent in English & Vietnamese.

Bao-Y has been widely recognised for her achievements in Handelsblatt’s list of the 50 most influential women in the German Tech Industry, Forbes’s 8 Female Venture Capital Investors To Watch List and numerous other publications.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role.

I’m an Investment Partner at Target Global writing checks between €10-30m for scaleups across Europe and Israel. Target Global is a pan-European technology investment firm with more than €3bn in AUM. We invest in companies across all stages of their lifecycle, from pre-seed to pre-IPO across five predominant sectors: fintech, consumer-enabled tech, SaaS, health tech, and mobility.

Since 2015, we’ve backed global winners including Delivery Hero, Revolut, Rapyd, and many others. Although I am a generalist investor, I am particularly passionate about edtech, the future of work, and SaaS companies. I currently sit on the boards of Crisp, Lepaya, Elopage, Flo, Amboss and Palta.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Throughout my career, I have always tried to be intentional about what I want to achieve in the mid-term while having a longer-term vision that aligns with my values. However, I appreciate that life is full of surprises and there are a lot of external factors that I cannot control so I try to be as open-minded as possible. What I’ve found invaluable throughout my journey has been tapping into my network to help me make informed decisions about where I want to go next.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

As the saying goes, the path to success is never linear. And like so many others before me, there have been many setbacks – especially when I’ve attempted things for the first time. To overcome these moments, I tend to give myself a bit of time to be angry/sad/disappointed and then try again (but with a different approach or an interim step in between). I once read that if you keep on trying the same thing, you keep on getting the same results, so I try to be flexible in my approach while never losing sight of my goal.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m especially proud of successfully exiting one of my portfolio companies. Venture capital cycles are quite long so having worked with the company from the initial investment all the way through to exit and experiencing so many highs and lows with them throughout was really exciting and rewarding.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success?  

Having champions. I think having mentors and leaders to look up to and support you is so important, especially early on in one’s career. It is thanks to one of my champions, believing in me and trusting me with “stretch” assignments, that I was able to grow tremendously when I first embarked on my career in finance.  I am a big believer in the fact that working with great people is what builds the most “equity value” in a career. Thus, having someone who is invested in your success and someone who champions you throughout your career is a huge leg up career-wise.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology? 

Take advantage of the many free resources available out there – from newsletters to blogs, courses, events, podcasts and everything in between, there are so many ways to learn more about the industry and keep up to date regarding the latest trends and happenings. Also, don’t be shy to connect with someone you admire in the field you choose to pursue – I have always found that people are surprisingly generous about sharing their time and knowledge with people early on in their careers who are hungry and motivated to succeed in the industry.

What barriers for women working in tech are still to be overcome?

Although we are seeing an undoubtedly rise in the number of women in tech year after year, the C-suite and leadership teams of many tech companies, especially early-stage deep tech companies, do not always reflect this positive trend. I am regularly surprised to discover that in this modern age, just how many companies exist with all-male leadership teams. The only solution I see to fundamentally shifting this reality is for all leaders and executives to hold themselves accountable and truly embrace the power and benefits of having a diverse team while ensuring that their own team is reflective of this.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think young women who find themselves embarking on a career in a heavily male-dominated industry, need to embrace having men as their champions and mentors. While we often tend to feel closer to / want to be mentored and championed by people that we feel are more similar to us, there are enormous benefits that can emerge from learning from those who may have had a very different journey to the top but are invested in the future success of women. I am also a big believer in making the workplace and working conditions more favourable for women with young children.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

I would track gender diversity more transparently and encourage companies to be open about how many women work in the organisation, how many women hold leadership positions, etc. I believe that setting goals and tracking progress would hold organisations more accountable and ultimately lead to the turning point of gender diversity becoming a given.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

I am a big fan of “How I Built This” but am regularly blown away by all the new exciting podcasts that are emerging in the tech and venture space. I also love to read Medium articles which often break down complex technical concepts in an accessible and succinct way. For example,  I recently read an awesome one on how vector databases work and why they exist in the context of AI.

Read from our other inspirational women here.