Women Tech Startup Founders: Investors Shouldn't Miss Any More Opportunities!
It's become the stereotypical bad joke. Imagine a geek? You imagine an awkward, bumbling, reticent male, not a savvy female, right? Think of the scores of female CEOs or start-up tech enterprises founded by females. Duh??? There are a few, however, women's numbers still lag. But there is hope that this is changing and that twenty years from now, you will be able to rattle off a number of successful females who have made good and even bested their male "geek" founder counterparts.
What is going to initiate this change? A new funding source which is zeroing in on companies founded by women, a venture which has culminated at the right time. According to Kelly Hoey, one of three women founders of Women Innovate Mobile, investors are missing great opportunities by searching out the next white kid in a hoodie to create a brilliant start-up when it will be an attractive, dark blond in heels.
Women Innovate Mobile is a start-up accelerator. This accelerator invests small sums of money in start-ups. It not only sets up germinating companies in an office for three months, it helps them tweak their business plan. Hoey compares what she and her co-founders do to the world of botanicals, like a greenhouse for start-ups to nurture seedlings and encourage their beginnings in a protected and sustaining environment.
"They get mentoring and they are given access to the networks of resources — that may be funding, that may be expertise," Hoey claims.
The nurturing behavior of business accelerators is not a new concept. Silicon Valley's Y Combinator greenhoused Dropbox and Reddit. Interestingly, the male geek company founder stereotype fits. Only 4 percent of Y Combinator's grants went to start-ups with a female founder.
According to Veronika Sonsev, another Women Innovate Mobile founder, there are opportunities in the mobile space because of design perspective differences. What is appealing to a woman, is of course, different from what is appealing to a man. When one considers how many women use phones "to plan every aspect of their lives," managing their kids' schedules, etc. "given the nature of how women use phones," then there should be no limitations concerning a phone's design and functionality. These avenues have yet to be explored.Continued on the next page