Susan Liu

How to Find Startup Success
July 9 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: The Power of Positive Feedback

Whether you’re in charge of employees at your startup or simply leading a monthly book club, there’s an invisible task you definitely don’t want to ignore: inspiring others. If the Zumba instructor leads the class with a scowl and drill-sergeant lingo, you’re probably going to switch to a more uplifting class, right? The same idea applies to the workplace. One of the easiest ways to inspire your team is to highlight when something’s going right and when someone’s done something well. For instance, which of the following statements inspires you to try harder? “Why haven’t you completed that project yet?” or “Great progress! Keep it up!”


If you’re an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to stay optimistic when your talents and ideas stillaren’t recognized in the same way as those of your male counterparts, especially when it comes to landing that all-important business investment. Funding, which can be integral to getting your startup off the ground, isn’t exactly a level playing field for women these days. And maybe that has something to do with the investors themselves. According to AngelList, only about 7.4 percent of angel investors are women. It’s about time for some change.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Susan Liu, Principal at Scale Venture Partners

Since that number is so dang low, we jump at the chance to share the stories of women adding a bit of a female touch to the funding field. One of those ladies is today’s enterprising Woman to Watch, Susan Liu, with venture-capital firm Scale Venture Partners.

With a degree in economics and experience in the investment-banking industry, Susan has turned her financial expertise into magic for the tech startups Scale Venture Partners invests in. She’s particularly focused on tech startups that have what it takes to scale in the software-as-a-service and mobile markets.

Scale Venture Partners usually looks to startups that have demonstrated traction early on. Indeed, Susan says there are a handful of specific traits that successfully funded startups display. First, it’s all about the metrics, my friend. Staying on top of your revenue growth rate and sales efficiency are key to getting a VC’s attention. Additionally, Susan says venture capitalists are kind of like parents: They want to see you using your money wisely before they give you any more. Also, be flexible and continue to innovate since much is likely to change in your given market during the life of the investment. If your business is exactly the same in year five as it was in year one, that’s probably not a good thing. And paramount, Susan says, is to keep the focus on your customers and stay humble.

Those are tips to live by in the startup space, especially given they come from a financial whiz who definitely knows her stuff. Once she earned a spot at Scale Venture Partners, she quickly became an integral part of the investment team. Prior to her work with Scale Venture Partners, she held a job advising software and consumer internet companies. She’s also a founding member of mentorship-focused nonprofit Women in Network, which encourages women in and entering the professional workplace.

As a millennial woman in the West Coast venture-capital industry, Susan has no doubt had to fight her fair share of uphill battles. She demonstrates that she’s definitely earned her place at the table through her savvy investments and work ethic, characteristics that even earned Susan a coveted spot on Forbes’ 2018 30 Under 30 Venture Capital list. Way to go, Susan!

Securing investment for your business can be a strange and confusing world to navigate. Principal of Scale Venture Partners, Susan Liu, answers the questions we either don't know or haven't thought to ask. Here are her five tips to secure venture capital investment for your next small business. Click this link or if you're listening via podcast, head over to!


While the world of investment can be complicated, supporting women in business is pretty straightforward. As angel investor Kelsey August said:

“If we want more women to succeed in business, then we need to help them obtain the necessary funds to grow their companies.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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