Rethinking Sexism in Crowdfunding through the Ellen Pao Case

curated from Forbes

Although Ellen Pao lost the gender discrimination case she filed against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, she still managed to get a compelling message about women in the venture capital sector. Women and other underrepresented groups should have a fair playing field in equity crowdfunding, but that’s not what’s happening.

According to a research conducted last year by a team from Harvard, MIT and Wharton found identical business-plan videos narrated by a man were more than twice as likely to be chosen than if the same video was narrated by a woman. Investors must consider that companies that are owned and run by women is a worthwhile market, because they will lose in the long run if they let unconscious bias cloud their choices.

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Starting the Journey

This evening was the first class of our 3rd StartupChicks Accelerator Program.  As we go through the program this year, I intend to blog about the experience such that some of you may be able to benefit from our experiences within.

Each class of our Accelerator is different.  Each class has a different makeup of industries, stages and level of experience.  To that end, we have an outline and course materials, which we tweak each year to ensure that each class gets the type of education, coaching and support that they need.

Tonight, we talked about the StartupChick Journey.

565,000 businesses were started per month in 2010. (WSJ Aug 2011)  Note: SBA states there were @ 600,000 businesses started in 2009.

50% Failure Rate in 5 years. (SBA)

1159 – # of Venture Funded Transactions in 2011. (NVCA)

26,300 – # of Angel Transactions in 2011. (UNH School of Business)

If WSJ is right, less than .04% of all businesses started get funded via Angel/VC Networks.

I believe that being an entrepeneur is the 2nd toughest job in the world.  (The first being a parent.)  The rewards are great.  The risk greater.  The highs are higher than Everest, the lows are lower than the Dead Sea.

StartupChicks is here to assist the female entrepreneur through this journey by being a guide, a teacher, a coach, a shoulder to cry on, and a cheerleader.  But, at the end of the day, the entrepreneurial journey is your own and you will succeed or fail on your own.

Before you start the journey, it’s important to have an understanding of where you are going.  You need to Start With The End in Mind.  Where do you want your business to be in 5 years? What is your Exit?  Local Atlanta Entrepreneur, David Cummings,  would ask “what is your FU Number?”

I’d add to this.  WHY?  WHY are you doing this?  It needs to be a pretty big WHY to get you through the hard-times.

What’s Your Vision? Is it about money? About Making an Impact? About Leaving a Legacy?

Your Homework Assignment: Create a Compelling Vision for Your Life & Business




Start with the Why

SweetriotLast night we had a special StartupChicks event part of our new StartupChick Cameo Series.  Sarah Endline founder and CEO of sweetriot chocolates came and told us her story from idea to Whole Foods.  It was very inspirational.  And there was dark chocolate involved.  😉

Start with the Why.

During our StartupChick Accelerator Program, we tend to start with the End in Mind: the Outrageous, Crazy Vision.  But, Sarah talked about starting at the vision but figuring out the why for the vision.  The vision will change.  Your vision for this company, will be different than the next company.  But, your WHY will remain constant.

What is your Why?

A New Gig

ATDCToday I start my new job as a Community Catalyst at ATDC (

So, what is a Community Catalyst?  Guess we’ll figure that out as we go…. but, similar to an Entrepreneur In Residence(EIR), I will be coaching ATDC Companies.  In addition, I’ll play a bit of a community activist role: promoting ATDC, its companies and our community.  I’ll be working with the ATDC mentors and helping with the programming of education/events.  AND due to my own affinity for the Coastal Empire, I’ll be spending some of my time in Savannah doing all of the above.

It seems fitting that I will be moving into an office formerly occupied by Lance Weatherby, as my journey to this position/place started 3 years ago with a conversation with him.

It was shortly after my mentor, Jeff Haynie announced on his blog that he was moving Appcelerator from Atlanta to Silicon Valley.  The usual Atlanta-as-a-Startup-Community bashing occurred. There is no need to re-hash it. We talk about it too much, as it is.  But, this time it was the impetus for me to get re-involved in the Startup Community.  I was sick of all the talk about the community (or lack thereof), I wanted to do something.

I reached out to Lance and asked him one simple question: How do I get re-involved in the Startup community?  He got me connected.  That conversation eventually led to the formation of StartupChicks and now, to my new role at ATDC.

So, Thanks Lance!

P.S.  ATDC Entrepreneurs – you now know where to find me.  Drop by!


Finally a Rockstar

RockstarYup. Official. This morning I was the guest speaker at the TAG Entrepreneur’s Society Rockstar Series. They had a great turnout (especially for July). Always surprised to see a lot of suits and jackets at an entrepreneurial event… but, I guess people dress up for TAG (and TiE).

I had fun. Prepping for an event gave me an opportunity to take a drive down memory lane. I’ve lived in a lot of interesting places, worked on a number of challenging opportunities and had the opportunity to work with some REAL rockstars.

I focused a lot on my days at my first startup, eTour. I did so, because….

  • it was interesting
  • it was fun
  • it was big

But, even more than that… it was a GREAT learning experience.

If you missed my presentation today, sorry. Not sure, if/when I will ever be given to talk about my background for an hour ever again. 😉

But, here are some of my lessons learned:

  1. If you are doing something you love, the concept of time disappears.
  2. Do things differently.  It may get you in trouble some of the time, but, it will ALWAYS get you noticed.
  3. Fake it till you make it.
  4. If you want something ASK for it. But, realize you may need to walk away to receive it.
  5. It takes a team & communicate, communicate, communicate.  There is NO such thing as overcommunication.
  6. The rise is a marathon, the fall is a sprint.
  7. Make fast decisions and act on them quickly.
  8. If you make a bad hire, admit it and correct it quickly.
  9. It’s all about connections.

Each of these deserves a blog post… I’m sure I’ll get around to it one of these days.  🙂

Starting out – so many things to do

Hi everyone,

I’m a new member to startup chicks.  I’m the proud founder of and I’m very excited to be a member of this community of inspiring women.  I’m looking forward to building relationships and exchaning ideas with others.

My site has been live for awhile but I’ve only recently (in the last couple of weeks) started really working it.  I’ve got so many questions and I need so much directlion.  I’ve been in Marketing for over 10 years but in a coporate setting with budgets, processes and external partners who did all of the execution.  Now that it’s all on me it’s a lot tougher.

I appreciate anyone’s feedback and help with my site.