The Higher Bar for Technical Female Founders

by Janet DeFrino

I have been an angel investor for nearly ten years. Over that period and more frequently of late, I have seen some amazing technology companies led by women— Oculogica, Next Shift Robotics, Onboard Dynamics, MouSensor (Yesse), FINDMINE, and Meet Elise to name just a few. The women leading these companies are not only technically brilliant but also business savvy – they must be.  Because they’ve chosen to focus on a so-called “non-traditional” industry for women, their bar is higher, and they have risen to the occasion.  

Recent research performed by another female tech founder, @danielaperdomo of goTenna, collaborating with DaniGrant of USV, analyzed over 20,000 funding rounds for 13,000+ U.S. start-ups between 2014 and mid-2019 and unearthed some nuances to the well-publicized female funding gap. By now, it’s well understood that women-led businesses receive only 2% of venture capital allocated in the U.S. But what Dani and Daniela found in their analysis of CrunchBase data, was that when the product or service delivered by women was FOR women, female founders receive their fair share of venture dollars. 

It’s those founders who are delivering products or services in industries which are “non-traditional” or, worse yet, “deep tech” that are dramatically underfunded–$0.46 and a whopping $0.25 on the dollar compared to male founders.   If you’re interested in reading more about their research look   here .

So what to do if you have the temerity to create a business around a technology?   

Meetings with VCs is not a time to be modest.  Dazzle them with your technical expertise.  Make it clear early and often in your meetings that you deeply understand both your technology and how it translates to your business model and financial results.  Use data to make your point. VCs think in and are impressed by numbers – use their language to make your case. 

Communicate with clarity and confidence….that’s your path to getting your fair share.

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