- First, to determine if these women leaders experienced bias in fundraising.
- The second goal was to develop strategies to deal with stated bias.
Here are 8 take-home lessons and observations. A bonus lesson is that all strategies to overcome bias apply to all biases a Vision Master may encounter are at the end of this blog:
1. All the women have experienced bias or think they did.
2. Some women think they are not fundable as entrepreneurs. This is due to an internalized perception of bias. The first step is to deal with any self-doubt.
3. There is a bias among investors based on the belief that women’s lives are more complex than men’s – That women have more family commitments. This is more like if they have children in the family.
5. In general, the way to deal with all biases is to acknowledge them and build upon them. Show evidence of key management skills and tell the stories that build trust.
6. Many investors (such as myself) have beliefs that women are not as competitive, risk-taking, and decisive as men. To deal with this, acknowledge it, and point out that the kinds of high-risk businesses that need this skill set are not the kind you are founding. Your business is less risky, having a better than 50% chance of reaching a liquidity event. Make sure you are meeting investors for whom these kinds of startups are appealing.
- Don’t try to emulate the masculine traits you think investors are looking for. This makes the bias worse. Believe that your relationship skills, management skills, and ethical character make you MORE trustworthy because they DO.
- If you have doubts about being fundable as a woman. Your concern is certainly valid, but if it leads to self-doubt vs. looking at what is in your control, it can be paralyzing. By the way, men are concerned about being fundable and deal with self-doubt. The solutions work in both cases.
- Stress the balance your team creates. No CEO has all the traits investors are looking for.
- Use personal stories to overcome the fear and develop trust. That will increase your chances of a second meeting.
- Go into investor meetings knowing that investors have fear and distrust no matter who is pitching. Be prepared to break through or disarm their fear. That gives you a distinct advantage.
- Meet only with investors for whom your startup or company is appealing.
If you are interested in the topic, read our last blog, Women Raising Capital. Is There a Bias?
Lastly, if you would like to spend 30 minutes chatting about your company or startup, feel free to grab a spot on my calendar here.