Female entrepreneurs aren’t paying themselves as they launch their businesses

March 10, 2022, 5:03 PM UTC

Women think the paycheck can wait.

More than half—or 55%—of women entrepreneurs aren’t paying themselves for work they are doing to get their early-stage companies off the ground. They don’t want to rack up debt, don’t think they’d be approved by a lender anyway, or are waiting until they’re in a stronger position to raise funds.

That’s according to new research released from the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, Wells Fargo Foundation, Penn State, and the Fair Pay Workplace, which studied how a sampling of 152 women entrepreneurs are paying themselves and scoring capital for their businesses.

“The stark contrasts are just everywhere,” Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, tells me of the differences between men and women raising capital. That spans who is applying for loans, angel capital, debt financing, or venture capital—and who is getting it, she says.

The majority of women surveyed in this case didn’t start paying themselves until they were five years into the business. The numbers really start to rise after a business has secured seed and Series A funding.

“How do we close the wealth gap? We have to be willing to invest in our women entrepreneurs, in order to really make that happen,” Corzine says.

The problem is that women struggle to secure funding: Female founders only received 2% of venture capital money invested last year. Women report access to capital being the top barrier to profitability in their companies, according to the research from Nasdaq and others.

When it comes to debt, many women aren’t asking for it: In the last 12 months, only 40% of respondents applied to open a new line of credit. 

Here are some of the reasons why:

Interestingly, while women may feel like they’re being more cautious or responsible by not accruing debt, they may be putting their own financial health on the line instead. As Corzine notes, businesses benefit from strong external resources when they’re in growth mode. And no matter what gender you are or what business you’re in, it does help to get paid.

M&A in limbo… As Russian forces kill civilians in Ukraine, countries are upping their sanctions in the region and more businesses are pulling out of the country entirely. Just this morning, Goldman Sachs said it was shutting down its operations in Russia and said it would close out its existing obligations in the country—the first Wall Street bank to do so. M&A deals in the area are grinding to a halt accordingly. Bloomberg has reported on a series of deals falling through in the last few days, including PAI Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia’s sale of World Freight, or OMV, an Austrian energy company, passing on a stake of Gazprom. Vortex Energy won’t go public anymore in Warsaw, and Citigroup is having trouble selling its Russian consumer unit. There are a total of $300 billion-worth of deals in Europe that could be on the line.

Up, up, and up… Inflation hit a 40-year record high in February, with the Consumer Price Index for all items notching a 7.9% annual rate in February. Those are the highest rates we’ve seen since January 1982. That’s of particular concern for many private equity firms in the retail or manufacturing space. Their portfolio companies are facing supply chain shortages and a surge in cost—not to mention a shortage of people to do the work—that is forcing them to either raise prices, or take a hit on their margins.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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- CredAvenue, a Chennai, India-based debt management platform, raised $137 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners, B Capital Group, Dragoneer, and others.

- Ardoq, an Oslo-based enterprise architecture SaaS company, raised $125 million in Series D funding led by EQT Growth and was joined by investors including One Peak

- Tibber, a Førde, Norway-based supplier of smart energy, raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Summa Equity and was joined by investors including Balderton, Eight Roads and Schibsted Ventures

- Nothing, a London-based consumer tech company, raised $70 million in Series B funding. EQT Ventures and C Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including GV, Future Shape, Gaorong Capital, and Animoca Brands.

- Atlan, a New York-based data collaboration workspace, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Taylor Brown, and ThoughtSpot co-founder Ajeet Singh.

- Slingshot Aerospace, an El Segundo, Calif.-based producer of space simulation and analytics products for space sustainability, raised $25 million in Series A-1 funding. Draper Associates and ATX Venture Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Edison Partners, Embedded Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, Okapi Venture Capital, and others. 

- Disco, a San Francisco-based company that helps e-commerce brands acquire new customers, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures and was joined by investors including Shopify, Sugar Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Indicator Ventures, RiverPark Ventures, Vibe Capital, and Not Boring Capital.

- Adriel, a Seoul, South Korea-based digital marketing platform focused on paid ads, raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Shinhan Venture Investment and was joined by investors including KT Investment, LB Investment, and Quantum Ventures Investment.

- Upstream, a Miami-based platform designed to set up DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), enable voting, manage community wallets and engagement, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Boldstart Ventures and was joined by investors including Tiger Global, 8-bit Capital, Red Beard Ventures, Hannah Grey VC, Vayner, Alpaca Ventures, Fenbushi and others.

- Immerse, an Irvine, Calif.-based virtual reality language teaching and learning platform in the metaverse, raised $9 million in Series B funding co-led by Eagle Venture Fund and Mustang Creek Capital.

- Creatively, a Brooklyn-based job platform for creatives, raised $8 million in seed funding from investors including Thirty Five Ventures, Tornante Company, Link Ventures, and entertainment lawyer Kevin Yorn.

- Topsort, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based auction-based advertising infrastructure startup, raised $8 million in seed funding from investors including Pear Ventures, Quiet Capital, FJLabs, Akhil Paul, Comma VC, and angel investors Micky Malka from Ribbit Capital, and Lydia Jett from SoftBank.

- Zaya, a New York-based maternal care company, raised $7.6M in seed funding led by Inspired Capital and was joined by investors including Story Ventures, Tiger Global, and Operator Partners.

- Proof Technology, a Denver-based process and e-filing platform through a network of law firms and process serving companies, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Blue Heron Capital and The LegalTech Fund led the round and were joined by investors including Clio Ventures, Forward VC, and Crossbeam Venture Partners.

- Swim Protocol, a startup that transfers tokens across chains via multi-token liquidity pools and Solana, raised $4 million in seed funding led by Pantera Capital and was joined by investors including FTX, Alameda Research, Coinbase Ventures, Solana Ventures, Jump Capital, Social Capital, IOSG Ventures, Rok Capital, GBV Capital, Mantis VC, Panony, and Bonfida

- UK Workbounce, a London-based business software platform for sales teams, raised $2.7 million in funding led by Index Ventures.


- Carlyle Group agreed to acquire CBAM Partners, a New York-based alternative investment management firm, for $787.2 million.

- ​​Clearlake Capital agreed to acquire Discovery Education, a Charlotte, N.C.-based edtech company for K-12 educators and students. As part of the deal, Francisco Partners will retain a minority stake. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Cuadrilla Capital acquired InfoDesk, a NY-based provider of enterprise intelligence management SaaS solutions for life sciences, government, professional services, and financial services organizations. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Oaktree Capital Management agreed to acquire a majority stake in 17Capital, a London-based private equity lending company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Balmoral Funds agreed to acquire Resco Products, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based refractory manufacturer, from Wellspring Capital Management. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Newfold Digital, backed by Clearlake Capital Group and Siris Capital Group, agreed to acquire Hostopia Australia, a Sydney, Australia-based hosting and cloud service company, from Deluxe. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Course Hero acquired Scribbr, an Amsterdam-based multilingual proofreading, editing, and citation service for academic writing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Public.com acquired Otis, a New York-based alternative investing platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Rightsline acquired REAL Software Systems, a Los Angeles-based intellectual property management software company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Sendinblue acquired MeetFox, a New York-based scheduling and videoconferencing software company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- InfraVia Capital Partners, a Paris-based private equity firm, raised €5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) for a fifth fund focused on European digital, education and health businesses, and green energy investments. 


- Sixth Street, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, hired Nari Ansari as a managing director and Jeff Stone as head of portfolio operations in Austin. Formerly, they were with TCV and Compeat, respectively. 

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