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Thanks for all the positive energy from Shane Johnson (Twitter @AlwaysaGoodday1). Yes, 1 person can make all the difference.
Great post from JD regarding his experience and his current projects with female founders: https://medium.com/@JDcarlu/female-founders-151d6d2cc02c
At SSG (ssg.space — slack group) we were discussing the different aproaches that males and females founders have when pitching and recevieing mentoring. It was a very interesting conversation with some greats lessons.
Melinda Byerley ( CEO of TimeShareCMO) participated in this conversation and mentioned: “Many women are really uncomfortable with self promotion. That’s a great idea to be doing in mentoring. You would be shocked at how many women call me because pitching is just so opaque to them.”
The discussion went on about how females founders feel when going to pitch events and conferences. On the subject I asked (and assume): “Do female founders try to approach female VCs/Angels?” This comment/question came from the fact that I tried to reach some female founder meetups with no success. Melinda again was again very clear:
“Not necessary at all. It used to drive me mad when people sent me to female investors because I was a woman. I was doing enterprise software and gender is irrelevant to me. I wanted the smartest money I could find.”
[Click to tweet]
I’m not the smartest money anyone can find. I’m not even a lot of money for what the Valley is used to see. I know that. So I try to be the most helpful money that anyone can find. I take every meeting that someone ask me to have with a female founder and I give them feedback and follow up even when I know I’m not going to invest. Because we need to take the extra step to help.
Why do I really care about this? Well, because I’m born in it. So here is where I’m going to tell you a little about myself and my personal life and how it relates to female founders. I’m one of 11 children. I have 7 sisters and all of them have, in some moment of their lives worked independently. My parents have always encourage us to build our own businesses and skill sets. This is what my sisters have done for years.
My older sister co-owned a “high quality vintage furniture” with her husband for more than ten years. They had two stores and a great brand. The problem was that they had to face an economic crisis that stopped the whole country. Even then she reset her skills to learn accounting and change her career to go to work with a consulting firm.
The second to the top (sister) is an architect who has co-founded her own company with another female founder. They have been growing year after year, now they have expanded to houses and entire buildings. They just moved to a new office. Exciting.
One of my middle sisters created a line of clothing (that carry our last name) that became famous in the country where you could find it in many retail stores and also outside of the country. She lost the company in the crisis but came back to business as a wedding dress designer due to her passion for designing cloth. She is probably one of the best at what she does.
My little sister has her own part-time startup providing professional makeup for brides. She is still trying to figure out if she wants to go all in as an entrepreneur.
The point is that, even if being a female founder is not easy I actually believe in the potential they have to create and build businesses. I have seen it and experienced it myself, in my own family.
Since I have been in the Bay Area (2013) the whole tech industry has been debating about females and discrimination. The Ellen Pao trial this has taken this issue mainstream and it is now known to many more outside of the valley. I think its very important to acknowledge the problem and work towards solving it.
That’s why I want to help female founders in any aspect I can: pitching, strategy, business development, recruiting, marketing, product or fundraising. It’s not only about talking or writing about it but actually taking the time, going the extra mile, and reaching out to help. As of today, I have several female founders that I’m assisting with various aspects of their startups, but the thing is, I want to reach out to many more.
But I need your help. I want to help more women. Please reach out to me and tell me how could I help more. Also let me know how can I help you or someone you know.
Why trust and reach out to me? I could tell you, but it’d probably be better if you’ve heard it from them. Ask a couple of the founders I’m working with:
To reach me: jd[at]phari.co . I’m writing a second part to this topic, showing that we all have our own bias and that we need to work on them.
PS: Please hit the Recommend button and make me smile. Reach to me on Twitter, I’m @JDcarlu
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