Female and Financed

Fundraising is full time job, there is so much time and effort that goes into raising money, but it is worth it. We all know what the stats and figures show that there is a massive gender disparity when it comes to funding, and therefore although being a tough job – it’s even harder for women.

In light of International Women’s Day last month, our partner Bloom brought together a couple of female founders talk about their recent funding experiences, as we heard about some of the difficulties but also how worthwhile it was in order to encourage more females into raising funds, whilst being refreshing and honest about how stressful it can be.

Tash Grossman, Founder of Slip – a startup on a mission to create an omnichannel and frictionless experience for retailers and their customers – has just finished raising a pre-seed round and explained that although she was told to start small by people, she wanted to go big or go home. “I used my network to meet people and connect, you need to have people around you and you need to use them.”

Often founders can underestimate the amount of time and dedication raising funds needs, as Tash explained for herself: “It took so much time and effort, but it was a positive experience overall.”

During the experience, Tash said she has learnt a lot but the key thing she is taking away is resilience. “No one will tell you if your baby is ugly. It’s the same for a startup, people you know won’t say your idea is rubbish.” One of the hardest but sometimes the best thing from fundraising is hearing this home hitting truths from investors who will tell you exactly how it is.

Being transparent Tash added: “I have cried a lot through the process, not everyone is going to like it, but that is okay, you just need to make sure you are working with the ones that do.”

Jillian Kowalchuk also had a recent experience with funding but had a different approach and proved you don’t always need to go down the VC route. Safe and the City, a crowdsourcing intelligence platform, has been down the crowdfunding route twice – and both very successfully. Jillian said: “One of the key takeaways for me was timing.”

With what Jillian and the team were building with Safe and the City, a crowdfunding round really helped boost the engagement on the platform. “We had a lot of press during COVID too as we recognised a shift and launched a lot more around women’s safety, which was linked to the Sarah Everard Case. But also, COVID made people realise we all need to be more in touch with safety as people.”

Safe and the City have now launched a SaaS platform to make the connection between businesses and have raised a total of £250k. Jillian was proud of this and said it is about shattering the bias on who thinks should and shouldn’t be raising funds.

As a collective, investors need to realise it is also about the shift towards the type of female founders who need investing in.

Tricks and hacks for getting your funding over the line?

When our host Stephanie Melodia, Founder of Bloom asked if there were any tips and hacks for raising funds, Tash explained she definitely used one when nearing the end of raising and being so close to her target just to push her over the line. She said: “When we only had £50,000 to go, I messaged a few different angels and said look how much we have already raised – do you want in?”

Everyone replied to Tash, even if some were a no thank you, but a lot were agreeing to it. As Tash explained it left them with a FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling: “People in general hate that feeling so hitting them with a sort of ultimatum definitely worked, and I learnt that from my boyfriend who works in sales and is great at wording snazzy emails.”