Increasing diversity in the startup ecosystem by providing the education, tools, and community founders need to create investor-ready pitch material and a platform to help investors easily find those founders.
Hello First name / there!
We are three days out from Thanksgiving and six from the first night of Hanukkah. Someday research will reveal how the pandemic created an anomaly that caused time to both slow and speed up simultaneously.
Let me waste no time in introducing you to Lily Macomber, our new Community Lead! She joins us full-time from Netcapital and is soon to be a freshly minted Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business MBA. Lily is bursting with passion and energy for making the startup ecosystem more inclusive and I can't wait for you to get to know her!
If you've read previous updates, you've likely inferred that I like breaking down data. I saw the chart below posted on Twitter recently by a prominent VC investor and had a visceral reaction. Women, Black, and Latinx founders receive 2% or less of venture capital funding and have been historically overlooked specifically at the pre-seed and seed stages of financing.
There is a lot of talk right now about how VC is flooded with money and there's never been a better time to fundraise. That's true, but as this chart makes clear, only if you are raising at a later stage. This means that all that money everyone is talking about is going to the same homogenous group of founders who have been traditionally funded.
The VC conference where this was presented did not include any data about the diversity of the recipients of later-stage capital. They did respond to my tweet and said they will look into it for future events. It is critical for those within VC to include diversity data. Not only do we need more public discourse on a social justice issue of equality, but funding recipient homogeny also indicates lost innovation and missed economic gain.
Read on for upcoming events, replays of past ones, and don't miss our featured founder at the end! Not listed below are all of the pitch workshops we're running for incubators, accelerators, and university entrepreneurship programs where we cover pitch deck basics as well as presentation elements related to confidence and bias. Let's chat if you run a program and are interested in providing this content to your members.
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for helping us. I appreciate you.
Allison Byers, Founder & CEO
Updates & Events
Click on an update to learn more.
In Your Words
Each newsletter features the perspective of one of our members. Most are currently raising and I encourage you to reach out to them.
This month’s featured founder is Kimberly Evans, Founder & CEO of Just Her Rideshare. Kimberly has never taken a rideshare alone because of the safety concerns, and upon learning that nearly 40% of women have reported uncomfortable encounters, she felt compelled to do something about it. Kimberly is serving both sides of the market by creating a safe alternative rideshare for women and by providing an opportunity for women to earn revenue in a safe work environment.
Kimberly is a force and has been featured by the press multiple times, including on the Nasdaq Tower, has won multiple awards, has attended prestigious accelerators, and is nearly ready to launch after intense development.
"Entrepreneurship and business ownership has been part of my life for over 20 years and I don't have the luxury to quit. As a Black woman founder, I feel obligated to teach and inspire others to become founders. You have to be cut from a different cloth, because it's not easy, but it allows you to explore, create, and build something that you can potentially share with the world, which connects your experience to someone else's experience.
Raising capital was new territory for me as I had bootstrapped my previous companies. It has been difficult so far because as a Black woman founder, I am measured by different standards. The risk factors seem higher for me regardless of my educational background, business acumen, and previous successful businesses. Even with great ideas, I don't fit the mold of who investors typically write checks to.
I challenge investors to take the same chances on us as you would the young white Harvard male graduate with a great idea. And, if you think small investments do not impact what we do, I can tell you that you are wrong. Every bit helps us to move the needle forward and gets us closer to where we can get traction and meet metrics that can only be acquired in the market. Dr. Shante Williams said it best: "Give us the same freedom to fail."