The media is plastered with all sorts of articles and tidbits about ways women can increase their chances of getting investment funding and closing that gap. Most of it is helpful for first time investment seekers. But to some, it’s basic and unrealistic. Mines may be an unpopular opinion, but in order to get more women funded, it won’t necessarily done by complaining in the media or shaming investors. The gap will only close once women are educated on the process, get the guidance and tools to build solid investible companies, and build leverageable relationships.
[bctt tweet=”If #FemaleFounders want more funding, we’ve got real work to do- ” username=”@talentdiva”]
In the Entrepreneur Magazine article, 3 Ways for Women to Close the VC Gender Gap, the author offers three tips to give women an advantage in raising funds. Granted, the article was written in 2014, but the narrative has barely changed since then. I’m not attacking or blaming the author. But the fact that it was linked in a current article shows that some media outlets have their needle stuck. Why are we in 2016 and the same tips and advice on getting female founded companies still the same? It’s time to tell the truth and create an updated narrative.
It’s dangerous that some of these articles about “closing the VC gap” provide false expectations & no real instruction on how to appeal to investors or how to improve your company in order to get investor attention. To have them tell it, if you do a couple of things, meet the right people, click your heels three times, then the flood gates will open up and rain upon you. Yeah, OK. Hey, does anyone want this prime piece of waterfront property I have for sale? It’s called the Brooklyn Bridge. <insert sarcastic emoji>. Women are getting frustrated and investors are still uber selective and not giving many of them funding…even with those sage tips being fed in articles and blogs.
Let’s Get Real Here
It’s not enough to have a great idea or product. Or to believe that we deserve funding simply because we’re underrepresented. It’s important to understand that at the VC level, the main concern is how is an investment going to generate a return? Investors aren’t investing because you’r fun or you have a cool idea. You have to meet their investment criteria and it’s your job to understand what that is before you approach them. In other words, do your research. You can’t ask just anyone with an investment fund to write you a check. And if your company isn’t investment ready, you won’t get an investment, period.
I’m not saying your shouldn’t diversify who you meet. Of course you should. And you should be making your pitch more aggressive & seek out those who look like you. But also understand what they’re judging. Is your team strong? Does the company have steady customers, does it have traction? Is the company scalable? Can it produce a foreseeable return on investment? If no to any of these then you’re not ready! And at this point, it’s useless to approach most investors.
How Do I Get Investment Ready?
I’m glad you asked. The intricate dance of getting investment dollars does start with who you know. There is no denying that. And unless you’ve done a great job at building mutually beneficial relationships and positioning yourself as an expert in what you do, it’ll be a little harder to start networking cold. But the good news is it’s not insurmountable. This is the time you start getting really clear on what it is you want long term for your company, and who’s in position to help you achieve those goals. You have to take a deep hard look at yourself and your company, then ask the tough questions. It’s not about talking yourself out of pursuing investment dollars as much as it is strengthening your position and leverage for a greater chance of success with investors.
Mogul Chix works with female founded companies to help them grow, scale and become investment worthy. If you feel you are ready to move to that level, you can work with us in one of three ways: 1) Attend our Weekend Intensive in Miami September 24-25, 2016. 2) Join the Mogul Chix Community and take advantage of our 6 month program and continuing education offered to members. 3) Private Consulting services. Contact us today and let’s see which option works best for your needs. Did I just give Mogul Chix a massive plug in my article? I sure did! But it’s my blog so I can do that!
Let’s change the playing field and focus on getting our companies scalable, profitable and investment ready so we can change the narrative. That way you build a great company and the right investors won’t be able to ignore you.
Til next time,
Founder, Mogul Chix, LLC
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Adrienne Graham is the Founder of Mogul Chix (www.mogulchix.com), a global company and community for female founders and women entrepreneurs. She works with female-founded companies to grow, scale & making them investment ready. She is CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org), a growth strategies consultancy for high growth companies. She provides Strategic Business Growth consulting services to companies with high growth potential to assist clients in creating processes and strategies to effectively scale, run, grow and position their business for success. Adrienne is an author, serial entrepreneur and avid techie dedicated to promoting inclusive diversity in the tech, VC and startup community. She is steadily building her empire one company at a time. She is also a Mentor for the Straight Shot Accelerator in Omaha, NE, which helps guide startups into successfully launched ventures.