Funding What is Uniquely Female
We have been told by major beauty brands, for years, what makes us different can make us beautiful. Although, in the world of funding, it is also what makes us under served. Today, only 3% of venture capital funding goes to female-owned enterprises; here are three underused attributes of femininity that may be the key to making us “uniquely fundable.”
- We Know How to Control a Conversation.
When VC interact with male leadership, they ask questions about vision and potential gain. We need to paint the image and help move the conversation from what they are asking to what we know they need to know about our potential. (And we are good at that – knowing what people need, not want – just ask my kids that want cookies and need broccoli). Don’t play the prevention game in a dialogue.
Entrepreneurs who fielded mostly prevention questions went on to raise an average of $2.3 million in aggregate funds for their startups through 2017 — about seven times less than the $16.8 million raised on average by entrepreneurs who were asked mostly promotion questions. It pays to stop, re-frame, and then answer. Turn questions about risk into a conversation about potential. When my kids say something rudely or ask a question I do not enjoy, I find a very simple “I think what you are asking is…” That works. It really is THAT simple to change dialogue. Studies show answering prevention questions with proactive vision statements with confidence will change not only funding success but higher funding amounts.
- Demanding What We KNOW We Deserve.
My cousin, let’s call her Jessica, is not a materialistic woman. Probably has asked for VERY little jewelry, clothing, vacations, houses, etc. However, when she was in the process of getting engaged, she told her boyfriend in NO uncertain terms, “Do NOT get me a ring less than 2 carats.” In her mind, that reflected what she deserved, and she was NOT going to settle for something less.
I have seen that MANY times with my friends – there was something about that ring that brought out a “do not even think about giving me less” mentality. I LOVE when women recognize their worth and demand it. (Not that a ring determines a woman’s worthiness or reflected by a diamond size – I love that their RECOGNITION of self-worth forced them to advocate for themselves and become unwilling to compromise). When we decide we are worth something, we can demand it with confidence. So, let’s do that for our funding, not our rings.
- We OVERTHINK Risk.
I recently witnessed one of my friends, Susanna, plan a family vacation and I wanted to poke my eye out. She researched every island imaginable, read every hotel review, understood every potential weather system, flight history, etc. She debated, researched, considered everyone’s needs and desires, and then minimized any risk that can threaten her vacation and planned it perfectly. Women are so good at this – we innately look for the risk, the problem, why something can fail or how to prevent injury or disaster. We are so risk-averse and cautious we will ONLY apply for a job when we have 100% of the credentials, whereas men apply with 30%.
We should be HIGHLIGHTING this in our pitches. We are thorough and detail oriented with a serious protective nature of things we create (children, homes, companies, etc.) Investors should be salivating over such well thought out, detail oriented, “I have probably already questioned this business model and put it through 100 more ringers than you ever will” female entrepreneurs.
So, brag about it, women. You come prepared.
And that is the crux of it all. Perhaps we are not getting the funding we deserve because we do not use all our uniquely feminine powers and demand it. Real estate agents will tell you – it never matters what house the man wants – it’s their female clients that typically make the call on the purchase. Domestically, we kill it; we need to do a better job of throwing some elbows and getting the funding we truly deserve because we ARE different, and it should make us beautifully successful.