Redpoint Ventures
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Redpoint Ventures

A Conversation With Tend Celebrating Women

A few insights from Annie Kadavy’s recent talk with Tend!

As we close out Women’s History Month, we wanted to share some thoughts from our recent conversation with Annie Kadavy and some of the Tend team. Tend is a company that Redpoint invested in back in 2019 that is disrupting the dental industry. We talked about everything from the investment thesis in Tend, some learnings about being a working mom, and ideas for how to help elevate each other at work. Tend is a special company for a lot of reasons — one of which is that it consists of 75% women across 21 studios and two corporate hubs!

This online event came together as part of Women’s History Month, but we can agree that it’s important to have these kinds of conversations all year long.

Below are a few excerpts from our conversation that we wanted to share in case helpful to anyone else (lightly edited for brevity!)

Q. As an early stage investor, what made Tend stand out?
We’re looking for companies that can become really big and really valuable. Dental is a massive market, over $100B in spend every year and it’s not going anywhere soon — we’re going to have the dental industry so long as we all have teeth!

It’s also pervasive. People of different ages, backgrounds, and across any geography are seen for their teeth. It has more predictable revenue than a lot of other healthcare categories and the relationship between patient and their providers continues for decades.

We believed that there was an opportunity to build a dental brand that was not just for patients but also, importantly, better for people who want to work in the dental industry.

Q. How do you approach diversity as an investor?
We have a diverse team around the investment table at Redpoint — in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, and background — and that definitely makes us a better team. It also informs how we look at companies through the lens of equality.

When we meet young companies, sometimes it’s two people and an idea or maybe up to about 20 people so far. One benefit of being a very small team is that diversity is still within a team’s control. We talk with our portfolio companies about the importance of diversity and we want to see that they pay equitably across different functions. This is not just because it is a social issue I value, there have been countless reports about how diverse teams build stronger businesses.

Q. As a mom of young kids, I often struggle with feeling like I’m good at my job on some days, and good at being a mom on others, but rarely both on the same day. What advice, if any, do you have to reconcile these push-and-pull feelings that working moms often experience?
A phenomenal entrepreneur and leader (and parent) who I’m both privileged to know and also invest in, Padma Warrior, was one of the first female engineers in her field who worked her way up to becoming the chief technology officer at Cisco. She told me, “It’s not about balance, it’s about integration.”

As simple as those words are, they really unlocked something for me because balance implies equal time.

Q. What advice would you have given yourself as a teenager?
This isn’t so much advice as it is based on science. A Ph.D. teacher I had once had told me that one’s definition of happiness changes every three to five years.

So why would you spend time trying to do things now that you believe are going to make you happier further than five years from now? You’re going to be a different person then! So it’s a waste of time to obsess over that too much. Spend more time in the “now”.

Q. How can industry leaders increase the visibility of all women in the workplace?
I’m on the board of a company called Guild, also run by another fantastic female CEO. They have a remarkable habit of “shining” on each other during group meetings.

During a team meeting together, someone might say “I just want to shine on this other person for a second, because what she’s been doing behind the scenes has been absolutely key to this launch's success.’ It’s not asking for reciprocation. It’s just saying something really great about somebody else’s work publicly. Something they would likely never voice themselves. I always think that that must just make someone’s day.

But more importantly, it becomes a behavior that people see and share and repeat. As a leader at any level at any company, remember to acknowledge what other people do — it really pays forward over and over again.

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Redpoint Ventures

Redpoint Ventures

Redpoint partners with visionary founders to create new markets or redefine existing ones at the seed, early and growth stages.