Venture Capital can be a hot subject and a big concern for Women in tech who haven’t really had enough to stand out as compared to their male counterparts.
According to a report by TechCrunch, it’s believed that female startup founders are not only significantly under-funded by venture capitalists, but they also often lack access to the early-stage support granted to their male counterparts.
Globally, men account for 92% of partners in the top 100 venture capital firms, and female-founded start-ups receive only 2% of total investments by venture capitalists. These disparities underscore the need for more women at all levels of start-ups.
Down to Africa, a 2016 study by Venture Capital for Africa revealed that only 9% of start-ups have women leaders.
Odunayo Eweniyi, cofounder and chief operating officer of Piggybank.ng, a Lagos-based online savings platform, was of the opinion that there is no single explanation for the limited number of women in tech start-ups, but that one major factor causing the decrease in women participation is cultural.
Talking about culture, women are globally known as caregivers and most renowned accelerators in most cases provide little or no room for women to thrive considering the travels and the number of months a woman would have to stay away from her family and the rest of it.
“I don’t know many women who can uproot their families for three months to go live in another city,” FFA founder Leslie Feinzaig told TechCrunch. “When I was working on my company, I wanted to apply to Y Combinator but I was a new mom, it was 100 percent a non-starter.”
FFA is the story of so many women in tech. Female Founders Alliance was born out of struggle by Feinzaig, a founder of an edtech startup called Venture Kits, who after several unsuccessful attempts to secure venture backing, FFA started as a Facebook group to connect female founders in Seattle area but has expanded across North America.
Ready, Set, Raise, as an accelerator for women by women has one goal which is to help more female-founded startups raise VC through workshops, 1-on-1 coaching, legal clinics, communications and speech coaching and more. The accelerator which is sponsored by Trilogy Equity Partners had already kicked off at the end of August and will reach a finale with a private demo day with VCs in Seattle on September 27th.
The very unique thing about FFA is that unlike other accelerators that will demand you to stay on site for months away from your family, you are only required to be on-site in Seattle, where FFA is based, for just one week, during which the organization will provide you with free childcare.
Closing the funding gap for FFA’s accelerator
Ready, Set, Raise as new class of efforts created for women in tech need all the support it can get which is why the organization is soliciting more accelerators and funding. As a good start, All Raise’s Founders For Change initiative, and new female-focused funds, like Sarah Kunst’s Cleo Capital, are already working to close the gender funding gap.
“I know it seems to people like there’s a lot happening around female founders and diverse founders, but in the context of the size and scale of that gender gap, we are barely getting started,” Feinzaig said. “We need all the accelerators. We need hundreds of funds. We are nowhere close to making a real dent in equal leadership.”
FFA’s eight inaugural class of startups (African-American Woman making the list!)
FFA had already kicked off a eight inaugural class of startups to benefit from its new accelerator. On the list is a startup, geeRemit by an African-American that wants to leverage the blockchain to power remittances to Africa
- Chanlogic: Based in Seattle, the SaaS startup provides a product for e-commerce channel managers.
- Esq.Me Inc.: A Portland-based document marketplace for lawyers created by lawyers.
- Future Sight AR: A Houston-based AR product for engineering, procurement and construction companies.
- geeRemit: Based in Raleigh, the startup leverages the blockchain to power remittances to Africa.
- Magic AI: A Seattle-based AI startup for livestock care.
- MoxieReader: Based in New York, an edtech startup focused on improving child literacy through tech.
- Pandere Shoes: Based in Anchorage, the startup is creating expandable shoes.
- Zeta Help: A San Francisco-based financial support platform for millennial couples.
Meet Sandra Johnson the founder and CEO of geeRemit
Sandra Johnson has an impressive STEM background. She is one of the first African-American women to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, a blockchain ambassador, global technology leader, innovator, master inventor (with over 40 issued and pending patents), author and public speaker.
She is the founder of a FinTech startup, the visionary and developer of geeRemit, a global remittance mobile app based upon blockchain, using mobile money. geeRemit’s has a global focus with an initial target market in sub-Saharan Africa. SKJ Visioneering, LLC also offers consulting services on blockchain technology.
Sandra is the first African-American woman to reach a technical leadership position at IBM where she was held a position of IBM technology leader and Chief Technology Officer (for Central, East and West Africa) with a passion for technology in Africa. She has lived in Nairobi, Kenya and spent three years traveling throughout Africa, visiting 22 countries on the continent. She is knowledgeable about mobile money, having used it while living on the continent and understands the dynamics of this popular financial tool.
An inspirational leader committed to collaborating with technology experts globally to drive African technology projects, enabling world-class African technology leadership and creating future African technology leaders.
Who can apply?
Startups across any tech, web or software vertical with at least one C-level female founder that are at the pre-seed stage. If selected, up to two founders (one of whom must be a woman) may attend the one-week immersion program in Seattle. A selection committee made up of investors will review all applications and select up to 12 startups to participate.