Money Talks: How Female Entrepreneurs Can Get Funding

Venture capitalists give only about 5% of funding to women-owned businesses, despite the fact that about 40% of businesses are female owned. Moreover, the average age of an entrepreneur is your late 30s, and that’s often when women are raising young kids, says Amy Nelson, CEO and Founder, The Riveter, during a panel at the Girls’ Lounge at the United State Of Women Summit. Despite these challenges, female VCs share that it is possible to succeed. Here is some of their insider advice on getting funded.
Have conviction to stay in it for the long haul. “It will be a long journey together [funders and founders], and it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I’ve given birth, had a C-section where the anesthesia wore off. This will be harder. Fundraising is incredibly difficult. You have to believe in the core of your soul that the train that is you and your business is leaving the station with or without [the VCs you’re pitching to] on it. You have to feel that conviction. We’re looking for that.” ~Kara Weber, Founding Partner, Brilliant Ventures
Show that you’re open. “Sometimes I’ll throw a crazy curveball at you and I want to know that you’ll role with it…and be able to pivot. [Funding founders] is a partnership of at least 10 years. [Founders] have to remain open to new directions and new ideas.  It’s like a marriage you can’t get out of, so you really do have to feel like you can go through anything with these founders. It’s important when you’re betting on them in the early stages.” ~Jesse Draper, Founding Partner, Halogen Ventures

The Girls' Lounge @ USOW 2018 panel:

The Girls’ Lounge @ USOW 2018 panel

Women help fund other women. “I’m part of an organization called FemaleFounder.org, and I encourage all entrepreneurs to visit. Our goal is to double the percentage of female founders in the next five years…and to double the number of female investors in the next 10 years…We want to get more women to take a little bit of money and invest it in other women. [Women] control more than 80% of the consumer spend…but I think there is a little bit of a confidence gap in taking risks.” ~Kara Nortman, Partner, Upfront Ventures
Know your numbers. “My pitch advice is that I don’t care what your background is, you need to know your numbers. We are looking for reasons to say no. There is nothing that gets you out of that room more quickly than your inability to answer the core drivers and numbers of your business.” ~Kara Weber
Learn from the process. “You’re going to come in and talk to a lot of people who you think are really smart and see a million pitches a month, and they’ll say, ‘Wait, but that doesn’t make sense,’ or ‘I’ve seen this happen 14 different ways and everyone else has failed—why are you going to succeed?’ Take notes and take their feedback. Write down the three to four points you get the most often, and create slides for them. Really commit to what you can learn from the process, and you’ll get better each time as a fundraiser.” ~Kara Nortman
Here are more articles to help you uncover secrets for success:
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Lead With Impact: How To Speak Up And Be Heard
Why You Should Embrace Failure—And Other Wisdom From Actress/Director Aisha Tyler