How do we create an environment more inviting and appealing to #femtrepreneurs? One way is putting together events to inspire women.
Incredible female founders are everywhere, and last week, my friends at Los Angeles based Crosscut Ventures hosted an intimate Female Founders event, inviting some of LA's badass female entrepreneurs who are making moves.
With the rise of women ‘millennipreneurs’, LA-based female founded companies like Honest Co, Laurel & Wolf, and Nasty Gal have paved the way for females in the LA tech community, but we still have a long way to go. Firms founded by women lag behind male startups in the total amount of investment received, according to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, a city-based think tank.
“Women in venture capital are underrepresented and I think that contributes to the lack of funding for female founders,” said Sarah Moret, an associate at Crosscut who had a specific vision for the annual event. Think rose, a band and scenes of the Pacific Ocean with a backyard filled with ambitious entrepreneurs.
“The idea behind this event was to bring together 100+ badass female founders to help them connect, share resources, and widen their collective network,” said Moret whose role is to evaluate new investments (meet with anywhere from 5-15 startups per week) and provide value and resources to Crosscut’s existing portfolio companies.
As one of Crosscut's venture- backed female founders, Ivka Adam, founder of Iconery Jewelry, partnered with the firm to co-host the event and showcased her jewelry in the home of Crosscut’s Brett Brewer.
“It’s a small community of women, and we all see each other at start-up or investor events, but we rarely get the opportunity to engage in a non-work setting,” said Adam.
While we still hear conference organizers and investors say they can't find enough female founders to feature or back, events like the one that Crosscut put on show just how many female entrepreneurs there are in the space.
“I’ve found the female founder community to be incredibly supportive. We help each other solve problems, and draw upon each other for collaborations and partnerships,” Adam added.
With experiences like Adam's, when complementary backgrounds could be a massive help to one another, it's easy to say that women have have broken through the proverbial glass ceiling. But, still, so much of "women in tech" is focused on what women DON'T have -- opportunity, compensation, mentorship, respect from peers, access to funding, work-life balance etc.,
Some women avoid the female-male debate altogether. When Gillian Morris, co-founder and CEO of Hitlist, an app that alerts you when there are cheap flights, first founded her company, she didn't embrace the term 'female founder'.
“I wanted to be considered as a founder first and foremost, didn't want special treatment, and didn't seek the support or expertise of other women (unless they had a background in the travel industry). As I've progressed in my career, I've found more benefit in the 'sisterhood' - for better or worse, there are unique circumstances we face as women and I've seen tremendous benefit to engaging with other women in tech/entrepreneurship,” said Morris.
For Nadia Genevieve Masri, CEO & founder of Perksy, finding other females to look up to and take after has always been hard. "The truth is, there are tons of women like that; running a business is a feat in itself. I feel like I was able to meet some of those women the other day, and that made me feel good," Masri said.
As we watch the female tech community continue to grow, it's obvious that there are plenty of women working in highly technical, 'unsexy' industries that too many people think are male-dominated.