‘You get to be twice as good:’ This investor urges Black female founders to turn an unfair axiom on its head

October 15, 2020, 12:58 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Anita Hill’s Hollywood Commissions has new findings about bullying and harassment, Audrey Gelman apologizes to her former staff at The Wing, and investors offer advice for female founders. Have a thoughtful Thursday.

– Twice as good. We already know the ugly facts: that the amount of venture capital dollars that go to female and Black founders is far too small.

And amid the pandemic, it’s getting smaller. Recent PitchBook data shows that VC funding for female founders just hit its lowest quarterly total in three years.

At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference yesterday, four investors addressed the alarming trend and how we might reverse it.

Inspired Capital’s Alexa von Tobel said that who’s at the top—who is holding the checkbooks—needs to change. “When you have different archetypes at the top of a firm and you have different investors out there, … you simply have different deal flow,” she said. “So we have to change who the investors are.”

But Cleo Capital managing director Sarah Kunst also offered a reality check, as Fortune‘s Anne Sraders reports. Black female founders don’t have to put off fundraising until that change happens.

“You certainly don’t have to be diverse to invest in diverse founders,” Kunst said. For women of color who are fundraising now, it’s a matter of understanding the saying in the Black community that “you have to be twice as good to get half as much,” Kunst said.

The axiom is undoubtably unfair, but women don’t have to see it as a burden, Kunst says. She advises founders to “flip that and internalize it as, you get to be twice as good…If you are a person of color, if you are a woman, when you do get funded, you should feel pretty good that you probably are better statistically” than the average white man raising funding.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


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