3 Strategies for Raising Money as a Female Founder


This piece originally appeared on Brunchwork.com.

Only 7 percent of venture capital funding goes to female founders. That is why Anu Duggal started the Female Founders Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in seed-stage, women-led startups.

“We were starting to see a lot more women who were starting technology ventures, but the funding for them wasn’t necessarily growing at the same rate”

The venture capital tide is changing. At the latest brunchwork at WeWork, Anu shared her advice for female founders raising money for their early-stage startups.

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1. Ride the Macro Trends

“The cost to start a company today is very different than it was 15 years ago,” Anu said. “There’s a lot more access to capital, which wasn’t there before.”

Anu highlighted the growth of women-led companies, especially in New York. “We’re seeing a lot more venture activity. I think in the Valley it might take a little longer. But in New York, we’re seeing more.”

In the next few years, the number of female-led startups raising money and receiving venture capital funding is going to grow, Anu predicted.

“There is a macro-shift that’s happened, which ultimately will lead to more women being relevant in the venture industry and hopefully, more getting financed.”

For more on gender barriers, watch this:

2. Solve Real Problems

Where most male entrepreneurs tend to build a company or app that they believe others will find interesting, female entrepreneurs are solving problems.

“When you look at our portfolio, it’s mainly companies that have come about because these founders have identified issues themselves or in their previous jobs, where they feel like things could be done better.”

Lack of knowledge doesn’t have to be a barrier. “If you have a good idea and a vision about how to do something better or doing it first, just because you don’t have that knowledge, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it,” Anu said.

Her advice is: “Surround yourself with people who are more knowledgeable than you.”

Read more from Fortune: Why the Lack of Women in Venture Capital Continues to Persist

3. Tap Into Your Previous Experiences

“There are a lot more women with the relevant skillsets,” Anu said. The women in the Female Founders Fund portfolio have worked at large tech companies like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB).

Through those experiences, “they’ve really seen how to scale a company and have the prerequisites and skillsets that you need to go on to become an entrepreneur,” Anu said.

In the past decade, the skills needed to become an entrepreneur have changed.

“You need skills that 15 to 20 years ago weren’t relevant.”

Anu mentioned that a great founder is someone “who’s able to build a good team around them, and is able to prove that there’s opportunity where consumers are excited and responsive to what they’re building.”

Read more from Fortune: Female VCs Are Way Better Than Men at Picking Successful Women-Led Startups

Sales skills are crucial too. “We look for entrepreneurs who are salespeople,” Anu shared. “Ultimately, you’re selling all the time.”

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