Last month two American startups founded by women, has entered the club of “unicorns” — startups with a valuation above $1 billion Both projects target women as clients and customers — an influential U.S. consumer group. In one of them, a beauty company Glossier, D round totaling $100 million invested known representative of the “old guard” of the venture capital market Fund Sequoia Capital (among his successful investments — investing in Apple in 1978 — approx. Forbes). Rental company clothes for women Rent the Runway raised $125 million from institutional investors Franklin Templeton, Bain Capital and T. Rowe Price. Does this mean that venture capital has begun to get rid of preconceptions about female startups?
The statistics and the reasons for the gender gap in the venture capital industry and the field of technology startups, we examined in a previous article. The new figures for last year show a slight progress in the representation of women in venture and about the stagnation in start-UPS. 2018 was the year of mega-funds — the “funds of a billion” when all the traditional players have formed funds several times larger than the previous, and the vector asked the Japanese Softbank, with its Fund of $100 billion, This led to larger transactions and inflated estimates of startups. In Fortune found that all 10 of the largest venture deals 2018 in the U.S. market were signed with start-UPS whose founders were men.
The characteristic difference in the size of the largest deals with the other side. In the top ten largest transactions with the founders-men, according to Pitchbook and Fortune, a manufacturer of electronic cigarettes JUUL with a round of $12.8 billion, an automotive company Faraday Future — $2 billion, the service for finding a taxi Lyft — $1.7 billion, Uber 1.25 billion, computer game developer Epic Games — $1.25 billion, again JUUL — $1,235 billion, WeWork coworking — $1 billion, the VR start-up Magic Leap — $963 million, grocery store Istacart — $871 million, construction company Katerra — $865 million
In the top of transactions with the founders, the figures are significantly lower, the major — platform-marketplace for products from independent designers and artists Minted — several times smaller than the last in the previous list, and is only $208 million, followed by biotechnology company Humacyte — $150 million, and online store luxury The RealReal — $115 million biotech startup Insitro — $100 million, service for weddings Zola — $100 million, The women’s co-working Wing — $75 million biotech project Humacyte — $75 million cosmetic brand, Pat McGrath Labs — $60 million medical company Nohla Therapeutics — $56 million, the financial startup Defi Solutions — $55 million For the assessment and Pitchbook All Raise in 2018 482 startups founded by women, has attracted $2,88 billion of funding, as in the previous year, 2.2% of the $130 billion of venture financing in the US market. The proportion of women among startup founders is 9.2%, according to published in the February study RateMyInvestor and VC Diversity.
Difficulties and success secrets of women developing startups that are common to those who have already entered the range of companies in a billion, and who are just starting their journey. That’s what I noticed by reading the history of startups, and mingle with founders of our portfolio companies.
Passion and personal experience
Enthusiasm for their project and understanding his perspective on a personal level usually help to create a company around which formed a community of interested buyers and loyal customers. Will it rise to the unicorn or will remain a small business depends on many factors. But in both cases, will allow its founder to feel successful. ADI Tatarko, Houzz co-founder, along with her husband Alan Cohen launched the site for interior designers, implementers, and providers of repair work and their customers after experiencing problems when building your own home.
The project team built an effective community on its platform for quite a long time did not speed up the monetization. At the forefront of the founders put the convenience and benefit of all participants. As a result, the fascination with the idea helped to create a massive marketplace with tens of millions of users, which investors have valued at $4 billion
Arianna Huffington, the former owner of a successful project — publication the Huffington Post, has decided to reconsider life priorities after due to lack of sleep and fatigue lost consciousness and was injured. She sold for $315 million in its media asset, became less to work, wrote several books about the benefits of sleep, and in 2016 founded a startup Thrive Global media platform and the marketplace to improve quality of life. Two and a half years the project has attracted $122 million investment from funds and private investors.
To ignore the obstacles
Many of my friends are entrepreneurs from Russia say that they feel in the start up environment as a fish in water and do not think about the barrier because of gender. In 2014, Ellen Rubin and Lazarus Vekiarides founded startup ClearSky Data involved in remote data storage. For four years, ClearSky Data has attracted nearly $60 million in venture funding, and major clients — Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Nuance Communications, and Unitas Global. Before this project, Rubin launched a software company CloudSwitch, which then bought one of the largest U.S. mobile operators — Verizon.
The entrepreneur does not like to discuss gender issues in a business context — “what obstacles you had to overcome in the technology sector as a woman,” “what head is better — male or female”, and “worst of”: “how do you manage to combine work and family.” About it she wrote in a blog post his company on the trail of a panel discussion where I participated. More productively, says Ellen, to discuss how to attract funding, how to speak honestly to employees about the challenges of a startup, and that in a difficult situation plan B is not enough, more needs to be a plan C, D and possibly F.
Mariam Rofougaran was born in Iran, in the childhood I dreamed to become a scientist and win the Nobel peace prize, and moved to the United States, became the only woman on the thread at the University of California in Los Angeles. “First of all, I thought about studying and never allowed to get my belonging to a gender minority was affected,” — said Mariam in an interview. She is now the owner of over 200 patents and is the author of numerous scientific publications. Created with his brother a company to manufacture chipsets Innovent Systems managed to sell over $440 million, one of the world’s largest manufacturers Broadcom. Their new startup has already attracted millions of venture capital investments.
To overcome the limitations
To be a real fighter and not to bow to any difficulties, if necessary, showing flexibility and inventiveness that is inherent in any business. Women in business can meet its own special obstacles, but they can choose their attitude to them and act. Founder of fashion startup Stitch Fix Katrina lake shares the difficulties of fundraising in the venture capital industry. At a conference she was listening to an investor who told me that does not like to hold discussions in a stuffy office, preferring to listen to startups at home in the Jacuzzi for a beer. “I always felt that I am an independent man who can fight in any battle under any conditions, and can achieve success on their own, but it looked really systemic obstacle,” says Katrina. There is also information about what one of the members of the Board of Directors of the company, the representative of the venture Fund, was excluded from the Board due to inappropriate conduct. But in 2017, Katrina rang the famous bell at the opening of trading of the NASDAQ stock market in honor of the IPO of the company.
For the founder of the company for the analysis of genetic tests 23andMe Anne Wolitski hard day came when she received a prescription American regulator, the FDA (Agency of the Ministry of health and social services — approx. Forbes) to suspend the promotion of its tools of risk analysis diseases. Colleagues recall that it was received with great stamina and focus on improving tests and returning them into circulation. Some of them eventually managed to defend for others the work continues. Investors value the company at $1.7 billion According to Anna, in childhood she had never heard that a woman should only do one thing, or something not supposed to do. Transparency and honesty in the environment helped her grow into a leader with the same qualities and aspirations, says the businesswoman.
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