Female founders historically have faced challenges in raising venture capital compared to their male counterparts. This gender imbalance in venture capital funding has been widely documented and is a worrying problem in the entrepreneurial and investment landscape. Many organizations and investors are actively working to address these inequalities. Women founders and their supporters continue to push for change.
Let’s look at five key actions female founders can take to improve their prospects when seeking venture capital.
Make use of special communities
The community is there to help. In every city and in every country there are a number of groups and initiatives out there that support female founders. Many gather investors who focus their investments on women-led startups.
- Examples for female-interested investors: investorinnen.com, FIN, aaia
- Examples of female founders communities: femalefounders.com or Female Founder European Hub, female tech leaders, The Next Women
Use your strengths to address potential investors
Classic pitching at events is one way to get access to investors. But there are other ways too. Women tend to be strong in people skills, building cooperation, and networking. If you’re good at this then use it to your advantage.
- Leverage your own community and network to get invitations to your target investors.
- Get access to smaller set-ups of startup-investor matching events.
- Ask others to talk about your startup in front of potential investors so that you’ll get invited.
- Do startup-investor PR.
Make sure that you have a well-balanced and diverse founder team
Solopreneurs are a no-go for investors. All the risk is associated with one person. Get Co-Founders on board and aim for a diverse team. Diverse teams perform better because they combine a wider set of skills and experiences.
Get in contact with your role models and use their contacts
Have a look at your industry and region and identify your female-led startup role models. Reach out to them, interact, and learn. A good starting point is the winners of the last pitching contests.
Find international inspiration here: 20 best female-founded startups going for expansion, or at The Engine, Google LaunchPad Accelerator for female founders.
Improve your business-soft-skills
Negotiation, pitching, and selling might not be the things why you found a startup but they are necessary skills and can be learned. Start small, practice, and get some training to become more confident. Simply look around the startup ecosystem of your city or ask other founders. Typically, there are many offers for special workshops for pitch training and negotiation training available.