Female Funders

Female Funders

Female Funders

On a Saturday in September I was joined by nearly 300 female founders and funders from the United States and Mexico at the Hera Venture Summit.

Held at the University of San Diego, the summit was in it’s second year. Hosted by Dr. Silvia Mah, founding partner of Hera Fund and Hera Angels, and Felena Handson, founder and CEO of co-working space Hera Hub, it was an incredibly rewarding event and proved to have a superb ROI. I personally met with and learned from female founders and funders from all over: Venezuela, Italy, Canada, Spain, Mexico, and the US.

I had the honor of interviewing Felena for our Startup Grind local chapter last month. Hera Hub is the first international female-focused coworking space. With locations in San Diego, Washington D.C., and now, Stockholm, Sweden!

The Hera Hub, Fund and Labs perpetuate the opportunities for female entrepreneurship so it only makes sense they created the Venture Summit, where we heard from 48 keynote speakers, quality panels, and interactive discussions all to strengthen female founders and funders, and to empower those interested in enriching their knowledge or becoming a founder or funder.

Trish Costello, CEO of Portfolio, and Co-Founder of Rising Tide Fund (an innovative way to learn-by-doing as an angel investor) kicked off the daylong event with some empowering stories and stats.

The statistics showing female founders are funded less than male founders are not new to us. But one of the many reasons behind the stat was new to me: the “ick factor”. Only a highly sophisticated term could be used in finance to describe viable products/ services that are uninteresting to certain investors.

Trish went on to explain that fund managers in Venture Capital, a long-time men’s-only club, didn’t want to invest in products which were, in the scope of things, highly foreign to them. In the story she told, a new and improved breast pump and productivity app weren’t investment-worthy for a VC she knew because the male investor didn’t want to talk about breasts every Monday morning.

That’s the ick factor.

Fact: Venture capital firms with female partners are 2.5x more likely to invest in companies with women on the management team.

It used to be that 95% of first customers of investable companies were Fortune 100 companies or the government. Investors could easily pick up the phone, call one of their contacts in a Fortune 100 or in the government, and determine right away whether or not the product/service would be bought. And that required industry contacts.

Nowadays 95% of the customers of investment-seeking companies are people like you and me. There is less of a barrier to entry to becoming an investor because the pre-existing connections are no longer required. We know the consumer market because we are the consumer market.

That’s why, in Trish’s opinion, anyone can become an investor in new companies these days.

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Trish went on to describe another new product. The Trak, is an at-home fertility test for men. Imagine who the buyers and investors would be for this type of product. On stage there was even a joke, “Imagine the implications for match.com!”

Women are the purchasers. Women can therefore become the investors. It’s about us having the power to “green light the products/services we want in our life.”

But what’s happening moving forward?

– Women are a force to be reckoned with. Did you know that 2/3rds of the world’s wealth will be female owned for the next 20-25 years?

– And that, “in aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined”?

– Remember The Golden Rule: he who owns the gold makes the rules. Well, Trish went into how the tables will turn: now it’ll be “she who owns the gold changes the rules”.

There’s ample resources out there: SheEO, Portfolia, Hera Fund to name a few.

If you’re interested in becoming an investor or an inventor, take the first step today. Start seeing what sort of businesses and teams are being created, or start your own. Sign up for Ideator and make it happen!

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