An unforgettable story of four women who, through grit and ingenuity, became stars in the cutthroat, high-stakes, male-dominated world of venture capital in Silicon Valley, and helped build some of the foremost companies of our time.
In Alpha Girls, award-winning journalist Julian Guthrie takes listeners behind the closed doors of venture capital, an industry that transforms economies and shapes how we live. We follow the lives and careers of four women who were largely written out of history - until now.
Magdalena Yesil, who arrived in America from Turkey with $43 to her name, would go on to receive her electrical engineering degree from Stanford, found some of the first companies to commercialize internet access, and help Marc Benioff build Salesforce. Mary Jane Elmore went from the corn fields of Indiana to Stanford and on to the storied venture capital firm IVP - where she was one of the first women in the US to make partner - only to be pulled back from the glass ceiling by expectations at home. Theresia Gouw, an overachieving first-generation Asian American from a working-class town, dominated the foosball tables at Brown (she would later reluctantly let Sergey Brin win to help Accel Partners court Google), before she helped land and build companies including Facebook, Trulia, Imperva, and ForeScout. Sonja Hoel, a Southerner who became the first woman investing partner at white-glove Menlo Ventures, invested in McAfee, Hotmail, Acme Packet, and F5 Networks. As her star was still rising at Menlo, a personal crisis would turn her into an activist overnight, inspiring her to found an all-women's investment group and a national nonprofit for girls.
These women, juggling work and family, shaped the tech landscape we know today while overcoming unequal pay, actual punches, betrayals, and the sexist attitudes prevalent in Silicon Valley and in male-dominated industries everywhere. Despite the setbacks, they would rise again to rewrite the rules for an industry they love. In Alpha Girls, Guthrie reveals their untold stories.
“A revelatory, riveting journey into a part of Silicon Valley's history that has been overshadowed for far too long. Through vivid prose and artful story-telling, Julian Guthrie brings to life the nuanced tales of the struggles and successes of women in the technology industry." (Ashlee Vance, best-selling author of Elon Musk)
“Julian Guthrie is a mesmerizing storyteller, weaving the life stories of four dynamic women into a page-turning yarn. We don’t just read of but feel the outrageous and often clueless male slights and insults, the double standards and blatant sexism endured by women in the blustery, male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. Yet Alpha Girls leaves you awed by their resilience and their professional feats. A stirring tale of triumph.” (Ken Auletta, acclaimed author and New Yorker staff writer)
“An extremely important addition to the literary canon of Silicon Valley, told through the honest and specific stories of a handful of individual women. Beautifully done.” (Po Bronson, number-one New York Times best-selling author of What Should I Do with My Life?)
“The women of Alpha Girls had to grow some thick skin to survive and succeed. And succeed they did. Alpha Girls will reshape how you look at women in finance. A must read for women and girls interested in changing the world.” (Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest)
“If you read one book about women in business, Alpha Girls should be the one. Julian Guthrie has written another dazzler." (Peter Diamandis, New York Times best-selling author, Founder and Executive Chairman of XPRIZE)