Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Venture Capitalist Kathy LaPorte Named to California Stem Cell Agency Board

The venture capital world has a “stunning lack of female decision-makers” but the $3 billion California stem cell agency has snagged one for its board of directors.

Kathy LaPorte
Nodality photo
She is Kathy LaPorte, who is a founding partner of New Leaf Venture Partners of San Mateo, Ca., and New York, which focuses on health care technology. LaPorte is chief business officer of Nodality, Inc., a biotech firm in South San Francisco, whose executive chairman is Michael Goldberg, who LaPorte replaces on the stem cell agency’s board.  And she is also a co-founder of Healthtech Capital of Los Altos Hills, Ca., an angel investor group.

The agency earlier this week announced her appointment to the board by California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who leaves office this year.

Kevin McCormack, senior director for communications for the agency, wrote on the agency’s blog, The Stem Cellar,  
“Laporte started out with dreams of being a doctor and, after getting a biology degree at Yale University, she applied to go to medical school at both Stanford and Harvard (she was accepted at both, which tells you something about her ability). But somewhere along the way she realized that being a doctor was not for her and so she started thinking about other directions. The one she ultimately chose was business.” 
A profile of her in the Silicon Valley Business Journal described her as ‘smart, thorough and solution-oriented, Ms. LaPorte has spent nearly her entire professional life in venture capital -- something of a rarity -- and is considered a quick study by those who have worked with her.’”
It was Fortune magazine that remarked last February on the “stunning” shortage of women in venture capital. In September, Business Week reported on a study involving venture capital companies and women. The magazine said,
“Only 15 percent of nearly 7,000 VC-backed companies analyzed had a woman executive. And a paltry 2.7 percent had a female chief executive, the research from Babson College shows.”
LaPorte was also on the board of Affymax, Inc., of Cupertino until 2013. She was there at the same time another stem cell board member, Anne-Marie Duliege, was head of research and development for the firm.  Duliege is currently executive vice president of ChemoCentryx, Inc., a publicly traded firm in Mountain View.

LaPorte also holds an MBA from Stanford. 
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