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Stitch Fix CEO says there are not enough female 'decision-makers at the top'

  • "My path as an entrepreneur has not always been easy," Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake told CNBC.
  • Lake is notably the only woman to lead a tech IPO this year.
  • She still holds about 15 percent in Stitch Fix.

"My path as an entrepreneur has not always been easy," Stitch Fix Founder and Chief Executive Officer Katrina Lake told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" Friday about being a woman in Silicon Valley.

"My hope is that now that there is such a broader conversation about the challenges of many people in many industries across ... tech — my hope is that the conversation moves things forward."

Lake was once sexually harassed by an employee of Lightspeed Venture Partners, which was an early investor in her company. Justin Caldbeck, the harasser, eventually resigned from Lightspeed.

"I think in venture capital and in tech we still have a gender issue," Lake said Friday. "There are still not enough women who are venture capitalists. There are still not enough women who are decision-makers at the top."

Stitch Fix shares began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange at $16.90 apiece Friday morning, having priced at $15 the night before. The stock popped more than 20 percent on its debut before retreating and closing up only 1 percent, at $15.15 a share.

Lake is notably the only woman to lead a tech IPO this year, and she still holds about 15 percent in Stitch Fix.

Lake said she hopes Stitch Fix can demonstrate "what success can look like with a real diverse team."

Stitch Fix is a play on an increasingly popular "subscription box" model, in which customers pay to have regular — often monthly — shipments of goods. These business models are attractive because companies can forecast revenue, but many have struggled to balance sales against steep marketing costs.