Alpha Girls – Julian Guthrie

The unforgettable and untold story of four women who braved the male-dominated world of venture capital in Silicon Valley to help build some of the foremost companies of our time.

Join us for an intimate evening with Alpha Girls author, Julian Guthrie. The event is being held at the George Street offices of Atlassian, Tuesday 25th June. Learn More.

The untold story of pioneering women in Silicon Valley.

Described as Hidden Figures meets The Social Network, Alpha Girls is a story of women who bucked the system and found ways to survive and thrive in the cutthroat, high-stakes, male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. Alpha Girls is currently being made into a television series.

“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, bestselling author of Elon Musk

“A much-needed… look at some of the first of those all-too-rare women who made it as venture capitalists in Silicon Valley… Winningly energetic.”

—Publishers Weekly

“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

“Finally, it’s here: a book about Silicon Valley as seen through the accomplishments of the powerful women who, against all odds, made their mark there. Alpha Girls offers an inside look at the true meaning of grit and drive and upends the myth that it is only men who create and build tech companies. For any young woman in search of a role model, or any young man too, Alpha Girls is a must read.”

—Caroline Paul, Author of The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure

A brief history of our Event Partner

Armed with a credit card and a dream, two college friends, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar set out to create Atlassian. In 2002, they didn’t know what kind of company Atlassian was going to be, but they knew exactly what it shouldn’t be—an environment where they had to conform rather than be who they authentically are.

Now, over 15 years later, our team has grown to over 3,000 Atlassians worldwide with offices around the globe. But it didn’t happen overnight. 

Read further about Alpha Girls

Pioneers like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Sergey Brin are held up as the epitome of success in Silicon Valley, the men who created the tech-savvy world we now live in. However, the women who helped finance and build pillars of the new economy like Apple, Google, Salesforce, Uber, and Tesla have gone largely ignored. In

ALPHA GIRLS: The Women Upstarts Who Took On Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime, award-winning journalist Julian Guthrie shares the unforgettable stories of four women who used grit and ingenuity to become superstars in the cutthroat, high-stakes, and male-dominated world of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, helping to build some of the most important companies in America. These women, the “hidden figures” of tech, have been largely written out of history, until now.

ALPHA GIRLS follows the lives and careers of Theresia Gouw, Magdalena Yeşil, Mary Jane Elmore, and Sonja Perkins; women vital to Silicon Valley’s rise and success. With unprecedented access, Guthrie conducted in-depth interviews with the women venture capitalists, industry founders, and major players of tech to reveal Silicon Valley through the eyes of women who succeeded despite the odds.

Magdalena Yeşil arrived in America from Turkey with $43 to her name but would go on to receive her electrical engineering degree from Stanford, found some of the first companies to commercialize internet access and e-commerce, and help Marc Benioff build Salesforce.

Mary Jane “MJ” Elmore went from the cornfields of Indiana to Intel, Stanford and on to the storied venture capital firm IVP. She was one of the first women in history to make partner at a venture firm and would come to IVP’s rescue in its darkest days.

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 beat her to help Accel Partners court Google), before she helped finance and build companies including Facebook, Trulia, Imperva, and ForeScout.

Sonja Perkins, a southerner who became the first woman 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 turned 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 the setbacks, unequal pay, actual punches, betrayals, and the sexist attitudes prevalent in Silicon Valley and in male-dominated industries everywhere.

ALPHA GIRLS pulls back the curtain on the secretive and influential world of venture capitalists and spotlights a power imbalance with profound consequences. The story also brings us inside a nascent rebellion launched by the women of venture capital.

JULIAN GUTHRIE spent twenty years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she won numerous awards and had her writing nominated multiple times for the Pulitzer Prize.

She is the author of three nonfiction books: The Grace of Everyday Saints, The Billionaire and the Mechanic, and How to Make a Spaceship. She lives in San Francisco. ALPHA GIRLS is being adapted for television by Academy Award–winning producer Cathy Schulman.

Other titles by Julian Guthrie

With exclusive access to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison over more than a year, Julian tells the dramatic true story of a decade-long quest to win the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sports and sailing’s greatest prize.

She tells of the colorful history of the America’s Cup, the behind-the-scenes technology and material science race, and the human story of the builders, engineers, and sailors who make it happen. There is insider sailing gossip, yacht club drama, a spotlight on the athletes who perform under pressure and those who cave, and the high-stakes international showdowns on the water featuring the superstars of the sport. 

Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had eighty seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world’s first commercial astronaut.

The spectacle defied reason, the result of a competition dreamed up by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, whose vision for a new race to space required small teams to do what only the world’s largest governments had done before.

Julian Guthrie wrote a three-part series called “The Lost Parish,” for the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007.

The series, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, brought to life the decade-long struggle by a group of Catholics to save their church, St. Brigid.

It was the backbone for Ms. Guthrie’s new book, The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith.