How these ladies founders raised tens of millions in a male-dominated startup area

The phrase “It’s a person’s world” takes on extra that means when funding from enterprise capitalists to startups based or led by a girl is taken into account. 

African startups raised roughly $5 billion in 2021, but lower than 1% of the cash raised went to startups with a feminine founder or CEO. This development additionally performs out globally, the place simply 2.3% of funding went to women-led startups in 2020. 

One of many causes typically given for this mismatch is the shortage of ladies as function fashions. So, we spoke to seven ladies who’ve raised at the least $1 million from traders over the previous three years, they usually shared their prime money-raising ideas.

Goal women-led funds

There’s no knowledge to again this up, however many of the VCs you’ll meet are males. That is regular as people are hard-wired to assist individuals who appear like them. Naturally and maybe unconsciously, they find yourself funding males and only some ladies. 

Luckily, it’s getting simpler for girls to boost cash as extra ladies launch enterprise capital funds focused at them. 

“There’s an artwork to fundraising. The very first thing that an investor is attempting to search for is the founders and group members. There’s a likeability issue there. They want to have the ability to relate to the founder. The story is totally different when an all-male group is attempting to guage an all-women group,” says Damilola Olokesusi, Founder and CEO of Shuttlers, one in every of Nigeria’s oldest transport tech startups.

Damilola Olokesusi, CEO of Shuttlers. Supply: TechCrunch

Nelly Chatue-Diop, Founder and CEO of Ejara, a Cameroonian fintech startup, shares the identical opinion however warns that merely going after ladies traders isn’t sufficient. 

“You must do your due diligence. Don’t suppose that they’ll be higher as a result of they’re ladies. Many of the ladies VCs that assist ladies are very vocal about it. Search for these, and your possibilities will enhance.”

On the flip aspect, Chioma Ugo, Co-founder and Head of Progress at fintech startup, Prospa, believes that ladies ought to unfold their nets broad. Elevating funds is usually a numbers sport, and the extra traders you converse to, the extra possible you’re to get optimistic responses.

“I’ll say, speak to as many traders as attainable simply because the extra folks you speak to, the upper your possibilities of elevating cash,” she says.

Clear up a viable downside

Traders fund companies to get returns on their investments. Consequently, they at all times look out for firms that may scale. Subsequently, no matter gender, traders will typically put money into companies that promise beneficiant returns.

Jessica Anuna, CEO and Founding father of Klasha, believes that having a big market in Nigeria makes it simpler to construct such companies for Nigerian entrepreneurs. Her startup offers cost choices for companies in Africa.

Jessica Anuna, Founder and CEO of Klasha

“I feel that creating an organization that solves an issue for a big addressable market is vital for achievement. Fortunately, there are 200 million folks in Nigeria, so we’ve a big addressable market. 

“We even have totally different issues across the continent that we have to resolve given the nascency of digitalisation on our continent.”

Olokesusi shares the identical view. Her founding group at Shuttlers have been all ladies. Whereas she says it initially performed a job of their issue elevating cash, she believes that fixing a sufficiently big downside and gaining traction helped them elevate simply.

“No matter your gender, the issue try to be fixing should be sufficiently big. That approach, even when nobody invests, you’ll be able to nonetheless construct a enterprise.”

Have the best group

Having the best group is essential for any startup, no matter what stage they’re at. Nevertheless, with little info for traders to make selections on the early levels, it typically comes right down to who’s engaged on an issue. 

For Olokesusi, having an all-women group with out expertise within the transportation business and no CTO was a drawback. 

Chioma Ugo, Co-Founder and Head of Progress, Prospa. Supply: FintechTimes

“I do know that one different factor that didn’t assist on the preliminary stage was we didn’t have a CTO. On the identical time, we would have liked funds to draw a CTO, so it was a hen and egg factor.”

Anuna provides that traders usually tend to again founders once they have deep experience within the business they’re constructing in. 

“VCs usually tend to again you you probably have a historical past within the subject that you just need to get into as a result of it proves that you’ve got a monitor file and understanding of the business and ecosystem.” 

Perceive what fundraising entails

It’s uncommon to discover a first-time entrepreneur that has a whole grasp of what fundraising entails. Even for extra skilled founders, the method will also be nerve-wracking. Sadly, there aren’t sufficient sources for African founders trying to study in regards to the fundraising course of.

Jihan Abass is the Founder and CEO of Lami, an insurtech startup, and he or she believes that founders want to know what the fundraising course of entails.

Jihan Abass, CEO and Founding father of Lami. Supply: TechCabal

“Chatting with as many ladies or simply founders on the whole, to know the method is de facto useful. Secondly, perceive what it’s best to anticipate, what just isn’t a great deal. I feel it’s best to have these discussions and just be sure you converse with different founders to see what their course of was and what deal they bought.”

Show that what you are promoting works

Too many entrepreneurs begin fundraising earlier than they’ve confirmed that their concepts work. Whereas some entrepreneurs might elevate cash for his or her concepts with out proof that it really works, that’s more durable in Africa. Subsequently, proving that what you are promoting works may enhance your possibilities with traders.

Nelly Chatue-Diop, CEO and Founding father of Ejara. Supply: Blockchain Nigeria Group

“Proving the idea may be very vital regardless of how small it’s. So, get your first hundred clients, get your first 500 retailers or no matter it’s. That proof of idea is so vital as a result of it helps the VCs purchase in. In spite of everything, you’ve used your cash and sources to indicate your concept works no matter if it’s on a small scale or not,” Anuna shares.

Benefit from intros

The distinction between a founder who raises cash and one other who struggles is usually the profitable entrepreneur’s community. Sadly, few ladies work as VCs or founders. Consequently, getting an introduction to an investor could possibly be useful.

“Intros are at all times nice. For instance, suppose I introduce you to an investor that already backed me. In that case, that proves that they again ladies, and it’s coming from a really dependable supply, so clearly, the possibilities of you elevating from that individual are heightened,” Ugo says.

Meghan McCormick, Co-Founder and CEO of OZÉ. Supply: LinkedIn

Whereas ladies have a more difficult time elevating cash than males, Meghan McCormick, CEO and Co-founder of OZÉ, advises that they take suggestions from VCs with scepticism, accepting solely what’s essential. 

“Whereas elevating, it’s important to guage the suggestions you get from VCs and determine which one to implement. As a result of whenever you’re elevating cash, the VCs are your clients, and also you need to be customer-centric. “Then again, you also needs to take it with a grain of salt and never role-play what you suppose a male founder will act like or say since you suppose that shall be extra profitable in getting you cash.”

Chimgozirim Nwokoma

Unintended author, overlaying Africa’s startup panorama and its heroes.


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