Aileen Lee

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Aileen Lee
Aileen Lee 2014.jpg
Aileen Lee Backstage at Tech Crunch 2013
Born 1970 (age 47–48)[1]
Nationality United States
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard Business School
Known for Founder and Managing Partner of Cowboy Ventures

Aileen Lee (born 1970) is a U.S. seed investor. A venture capital investor, she is the founder of Cowboy Ventures.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Lee coined the often-used Silicon Valley term unicorn in a TechCrunch article "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups" as profiled in a New York Times article. A unicorn is generally defined as a privately held startup that has a $1 billion valuation – something rare (like a unicorn).[11]


Lee earned her bachelor's degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1992. After MIT, she worked as a financial analyst for two years at Morgan Stanley.[12] She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997.[1]


Lee joined Kleiner Perkins in 1999 and was the founding CEO of RMG Networks, a company backed by KPCB. In 2012, she left KPCB to start seed-stage venture firm, Cowboy Ventures.[13]

Lee has made investments in many early-stage companies, including August,[14] Dollar Shave Club,[14] Accompany[13] and Tally Technologies.[15][16][17] She is a public advocate of increasing the number of female founders and investors in the Silicon Valley.[18]

Personal Life

Lee grew up in New Jersey and is the daughter of Cantonese immigrants.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Executive profile". Boardroom Insiders. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  2. ^ Lee, Aileen (2 November 2013). "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups". TechCrunch. AOL.
  3. ^ Schubarth, Cromwell (13 January 2014). "VC Aileen Lee on rarity of $1B tech 'unicorns,' diversity". Silicon Valley Business Journal.
  4. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia (10 April 2012). "Brit Morin Engages $1.25M From Marissa Mayer, Aileen Lee, Founders Fund And More To Launch Her First App, Weduary". TechCrunch. AOL.
  5. ^ "Aileen Lee".
  6. ^ Kolodny, Lora (17 December 2013). "VC in 2014: Kleiner Perkins' Aileen Lee on How Venture Needs to Deliver Better Returns". WSJ.
  7. ^ Perez, Sarah (30 July 2012). "Aileen Lee Almost Done Raising $40 Million For New Seed Called "Cowboy Ventures"". TechCrunch. AOL.
  8. ^ Taylor, Colleen (6 April 2012). "VC Giants, Thinking Smaller: Why Kleiner Perkins' Aileen Lee Is Getting Into Seed Funding". TechCrunch. AOL.
  9. ^ Ryan Lawler (September 26, 2014). "Aileen Lee's Cowboy Ventures Is Raising A $55 Million Second Fund". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  10. ^ Jonathan Krim (March 1, 2015). "Working Their Way Around Male VC Dominance". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2015. “Can we give this to VC firms for free?” quipped Aileen Lee, a prominent venture capitalist who two years ago left her full time work at Kleiner Perkins to co-found her own VC firm, Cowboy Ventures.
  11. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (5 July 2015). "Unicorn: A Fitting Label for Its Time and Place". NYTimes. The New York Times.
  12. ^ a b Bryant, Adam (2015-12-03). "Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures: Aim to See Beneath the Surface". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  13. ^ a b Loizos, Connie. "VC Aileen Lee just offered some very specific advice to female founders looking for funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  14. ^ a b "VC Corner: Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  15. ^ Kolodny, Lora. "Tally raises $15 million for app to make credit cards less expensive, easier to manage". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  16. ^ "San Francisco-based credit card management app Tally raises $15 million - Silicon Valley Business Journal". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  17. ^ "Aileen Lee".
  18. ^ Loizos, Connie. "VC Aileen Lee just offered some very specific advice to female founders looking for funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-12-18.

External links

  • Cowboy Ventures
  • "Aileen Lee Archives - Women 2.0". Women 2.0.

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