Why Aren’t There More Funded Female Entrepreneurs in Tech?


The Fox by Stefano Ronchi

[The fox by Stefano Ronchi]

Could it be because their vision is to build businesses that last and not to flip?

There have been posts — even research — shared in the last couple of years about the lack of women in tech and now women entrepreneurs in tech. The recent discussion I joined at Mark Suster's blog inspired quite a few comments from business women.

[The definition of the terms business person and entrepreneur warrants a separate post. They're not interchangeable.]

It was Erica Douglass who asked the question that inspired this post. Women start more businesses than men, and that has been the case for years, but they're far less likely to take venture capital or investment than men are, she said.

I'm a shining example of that; already having sold my first tech company for $1.1 million (self-funded), I started another tech company…with my own money. Now that company is doing incredibly well, but I'm more interested in making it profitable and sustainable than I am raising capital. If I decide to raise capital in the future, you can bet that my company will be on far more solid ground than most–but why raise when we can simply make the company profitable to begin with?

Women are far more interested in building businesses than flipping them, that's why. No wonder women continue to be edited out. The opportunity is just so minimal for doing that in organized America, that there are no choices other than starting from scratch.

In defense of business

When established businesses are held hostage by boards that demand they manage to the whims of institutional trading, and new tech ventures are (often) built to flip as their sole business model, the people looking for tools to trade on are edited out.

That happens to be women at the moment. It will change.

I'm on the side of business, when nobody seems to be. Sure building efficiencies and cost cutting initiatives have been replaced, at least conceptually, by methodologies to "humanize" and make the business "social".

Business is about trading on promises. Commerce is not a popularity contest.

It's about discipline, structure, and drill. It's about doing some hard thinking about what people exchange instead of the asset. It's about identifying the model and continuing to have people understand that, and make good on it.

That's the conversation I'm interested in changing… and having.

You don't do that by just changing the ingredients. You need to make an entirely new recipe. And money is the least differentiated and tradeable asset. As Douglass put it, women tend to focus on making the business successful first. And then second and third, I'd add.

Which is why there aren't more funded female entrepreneurs in tech. If you take a look at where the other ways of operating have taken businesses, and the economy with them, we should ask a different question.

The question should be: Why aren't there more people going about building a business?

As for the second part of the question posed in the title to this post. Are we so sure that tech is our (only) future? We should think harder about that. What about actually making things? For more comments and points of view, do head over to Suster's post and read the comments.

I say we can do better than just pound one business model into the ground. There are plenty of industries ripe for reinvention — and models up for grabs. There are many ways to world domination.

My take — you'd first need to have built the world you'd like to inhabit, or "dominate" (and I'm saying that with air quotes for a reason). There's plenty of evidence the current trends are all about domination with little concern about the world part.

Conversations are markets.

People are builders and makers.

Businesses are about trade, promises, assets, and flows.

My trade is business.


0 responses to “Why Aren’t There More Funded Female Entrepreneurs in Tech?”

  1. Well said, Valeria. There are plenty of industries just waiting for people to show up and help them innovate. Success shouldn’t be measured in how quickly one can flip a cookie-cutter dot-com anymore than it should how quickly one can flip a new home.
    There is scratching and clawing to the top of the pile and then there is lifting the foundation, so the entire pile is raised.

  2. Maybe you didn’t read my post about changing the conversation linked here – or are not familiar with my work.
    I really don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl, although I do recognize there are different female and male archetypes (which is *not* the same as genders, in case you’re not familiar with that), and that’s what I’m talking about it.
    And no, I don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl. My preference is for those who engage and offer creative solutions. Period.

  3. Frankly, given the lack of interest in women entrepreneurs, I end up having a more productive conversation with men about this very issue. Which is that of building vs. flipping.
    Every time I make an attempt to cast a light on positive female qualities I get what you see below from peers… so forget the lot of it 😉

  4. When you say “lack of interest in women entrepreneurs,” do you mean lack of industry interest in women entrepreneurs – or lack of interest in women to discuss the matter?
    My first thought is the same you make below – it doesn’t matter, boy or girl – but the real meat and potatoes come from discussing the propensity of contemporary business culture to flip ventures like houses to create wealth, how some people (men and women, typ. a more female archetype) pursue long term ownership, and how critical this is for the future of entrepreneurship.
    Vast opportunities are being missed, innovation is passing us by, all because so many are focused on cookie cutter innovation, flipping for quick profit. Why aren’t there more women entrepreneurs? Why aren’t more VCs seeking out the long term reward? How is this culture driving the next dot-com bubble? And what can we do about it?
    I see this as a conversation about us AND them.

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