Lessons from Women VCs on Founding, Scaling and Increasing the % of Women-led Funded Startups

Lessons from Women VCs on Founding, Scaling and Increasing the % of Women-led Funded Startups
April 23, 2021 Oreoluwa Aremo
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For women’s month, Invest In the Future hosted a panel of women VCs/Angel investors, Harriet Adinkrah (Investment Analyst at 4DX Ventures), Sacha Haider (Principal at Global Ventures), Nina Chen (Venture Investing at the Raba Partnership), Chidinma I. Iwueke (Partner at Microtraction). 

Damilola Aderinto, Operating Partner at Future Africa, moderated the event.

The panel of women VCs and Angel investors discussed how women can start a career in venture capital, what they look for when deciding to fund startups, how women should think about scaling their businesses with technology and how women can pitch VCs better. 

Invest In The Future is our live podcast series where we learn from prolific investors and founders who have invested in and built some of Africa and the world’s most impactful technology companies.

Listen to the full conversation below. Find Invest In the Future wherever you listen to podcasts here.

Here’s what we learnt from the conversation:

On increasing the % of women investors

1.Speaking on where to find the opportunities to increase the number of women-founded and funded companies, Chidinma states that this process starts from the early stages of investing – this increases the growth funnel.

2.Investors need to put in a series of actions and goals that align with increasing women-led startups within their portfolio.

3.Also, an increase in the number of women who sit across the board is essential to understand women-led businesses better.

4.These efforts will build more awareness around the endless possibilities of women being investors.
Women VCs also have a role to play in this journey by speaking more about their career background and growth, as representation matters.

5.“Informal meetings are so important, creating spaces for this. Whether it is a meetup with someone you admire in the city or around the world and creating connectivity where you can bounce ideas off each other,” Nina shares.

6.If the trend of willingness to support women in Venture Capital continues, it will help change the narrative of underrepresentation.

7.Women taking operational roles in Venture Capital firms can easily switch to being VCs, Harriet believes.

On deal flow and finding great startups

1.Venture Capital firms have a similar rubric when funding startups.

2.For many, the team comes first, then the product or services the team is building and how it solves a problem in the emerging market.

3.Sasha talked about evaluating founder temperaments during the funding process. Are they coachable? Are they willing to learn and grow?

4.This process may be complicated and may seem unachievable, but VCs ask enough questions to get the correct answers.

5.Red flags are also essential to look out for before investing in a company.

6.One of the red flags is a poorly written deck. Founders are to invest time and resources in building a good deck.

7.In a deck, communicate the company’s vision, the market opportunities and how the company is looking to scale.

8.Networking also plays a pivotal role in finding great startups to invest in. VCs should network outside of their comfort zone.

9.Building and managing investor relationships promotes founders’ opportunities to meet other investors interested in backing them.

10.As a founder, who are you talking to? How do you invest in networking within and outside your ecosystem? Will your network go above and beyond for you?

11.Founders should build a network of investors and people who will assist in the funding process.

On backing women-led startups

1.Sacha points out that more women are solving problems at scale.

2.However, there is a gap in investing and supporting them compared to their male counterparts.

3.As a firm with many women holding decision making positions, Global Venture struggles to find women founders who reach the series A stage.

4.“Creating more resources that are publicly available to encourage and sort of support and coaching as investors for female founders,” Sacha shares.

5.Nina advises women-led startups to advocate for themselves by building a network of people who will advocate for them too.

6.While women entrepreneurs need to analyse their businesses and decide if Venture Capital funding is the right capital partner, not all companies are VC backable.

7.According to Chidinma, creating more ‘’female-focused funds’’ is another way to increase the number of funded women-led startups.

8.Women are to ‘’demand their seat at the table’’. Champion for themselves and go for what they want.

Listen to the entire conversation below. Find Invest In the Future wherever you listen to podcasts here.

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