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Success stories and lessons from two underrepresented founders

Building a startup is hard, but it's even harder for underrepresented founders. Here are two stories, three resources, and our PDI metrics update.

Opportunities are not all created equal in the startup world. This week we’re featuring stories on what it’s like being an underrepresented woman founder in today’s startup ecosystem from Nikki Dominguez of Handsome and Angela Benton of Streamlytics. We also update you on the health of the fundraising marketplace, measured by our Pitch Deck Interest metrics.

Nikki Dominguez of Handsome
Nikki Dominguez is the Founder and COO of Handsome, a community-driven career and education network for the beauty industry.

Our data shows that all-female teams had their Traction slides scrutinized 50% more than all-male teams, what is your experience with this bias?

It really felt like as women we were not allowed to be visionaries. When we walked into a room with investors we had to prove our traction. We couldn’t talk about vision, it was about the proof. It’s the reason we raised money the way we did. We did raise-build-raise-build. VCs asked for a proof point, so we would go hit that proof point and come back and get a check. Then we would get the next proof point and go hit that to get our next check. We’ve raised over $600k, but we’ve had to do it in stages rather than with one big check.

Angela Benton of Streamlytics
Angela Benton is the Founder and CEO of Streamlytics and is a pioneer of diversity in the technology industry and raising awareness around the inequalities that exist in the industry.

With the existing bias in VC, what can underrepresented founders do to raise money for their businesses?

Running an accelerator for underrepresented founders it was just understood that our pitch decks had to look different. In order to get someone’s attention I knew the teams going through my accelerator had to look great on paper. It taught me a lot. I’m a third-time founder and when it came time for me to raise for my current startup I decided to bypass VC funding. I knew the value of my business and I knew what going to VCs meant in terms of time and effort. Given the state of venture capital for people of color, our Reg-CF [crowdfunding] offering was a powerful tool to raise the capital quickly so that we could focus on business growth and obtain a valuation that was accurate for what we have built. I decided to use Start Engine and raised almost $1.1M in equity crowdfunding in just seven days.asdfasdf


Here what happened 

Recommended Reads

Believing And Investing In Underrepresented Founders
In this episode of Igniting Startups, you’ll get to hear Anastasia Tarpeh-Ellis share her thoughts on why investors should believe and invest in underrepresented founders, how she found a great mentor, the amazing culture at Backstage, and finding a breakthrough in her product.

Read the interview details and link to the podcast on Powderkeg’s blog

Resources to Find, Support and Invest in Black Founders
The team at Cleo Capital compiled a number of resources for the Black founder community, in addition to resources to help allies support Black professionals and give them space to excel.

Read the full post on Medium

Practical Steps To Combat Discrimination In VC
Mary Ann Azevedo of Crunchbase caught up with Preston James, co-founder of DivInc, to discuss the challenges facing underrepresented founders today and what he thinks can be done to help change things for the better.

Read the full post on Crunchbase News


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