iFundWomen Founder & CEO
University of Wisconsin-Madison Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), African-American/Black Studies
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How did you get to where you are today? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path? What inspired you to work on this startup idea?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
Hi, everyone. I'm Karen Con I'm the founder and CEO of I Fund Women.That's a great question. So, as I just explained, the massive systemic problem that we are solving in that the funding gap for women entrepreneurs is enormous. And the reason I got here with my two co founders is we are our own customers, and this is our second start up. Our first start up was a failure, and I love talking about failure of a startup because most successful entrepreneurs have had many fails along the way that have taught them how to improve and get it right. So I'm one of those people where my two co founders and I were running a startup before this, and we struggle to raise capital. We experience singlehandedly ourselves how hard it is for women entrepreneurs to raise capital. And there are lots of reasons for that, right? It's not that venture capitalists are bad people there, absolutely not. And it's not that they're not funding us because we're women. That's absolutely not happening. But what's happening is V C firms have a thesis have an investment thesis, so that investment thesis is either around you know, whether it's robotic or cyber or crypto or ai or whatever the you know buzz Word is of the year. I t whatever it is, um, if you don't have that on your deck, if that's not the business you're doing, that fund is not going to be focused on you. And most fun have very specific investment thesis. On top of that, there is unconscious bias that goes on and again. VCs are not bad people. But the VC business is the business of making money. And that's okay, right? So And if I was a VC, I would be the same day in the sense that when you there are, there are there is pattern matching technology that actually exists algorithms that have been written that understand what makes up a successful founder. And that data is one historical data. Right? When you look at who has had a massive exit, who has worked at who has worked in engineering or in product at Unicorn Companies. Um, who was coming out of Stanford or M. I. T. C s department, right? Those all those things all factor into what we were getting funded. And unfortunately, the historical data has shown that those people are named, you know, Mark Steve, Sundar Larry, you know Ellen, they're not really wearing necessarily. So not only are we fighting against the fact that women aren't starting businesses in the Pacific deep tech sectors as fast as men are that be Cesaire funding. But in addition to that, there's this layer of unconscious bias or founder pedigree, as it's now called in the Valley, that is an absolute disadvantage to women founders. So it's really tough and then forgetting the VCs on the banking angle. You know, when you think about the banks, the banks, when you're ready for a loan, when your business has enough revenue profit traction for a bank loan. A bank loan is actually a great way to fund your business because you're not giving up equity. You're not deluding your cap table, which for lots of founders is important because eventually you wanna have an exit and you wanna own your company that you're selling right. So if you raise venture capital, that means you are selling equity or ownership in your company. And if you're one of the 1% who could do that successfully, great. But for the rest of us, we have thio, bootstrap it and really rely on customers as our funding and revenue as our funding, which, by the way, is the best way to get funding. And then when we're ready ah, small business loan from a great option. Money is so cheap right now, rates are low and but But the problem there is, you have to have a profitable, sustainable business, and then you're also putting up your house is collateral. So you know there's disadvantages and advantages to each part of the funding landscape. But I think just to wrap up and answer your question, I'm so knowledgeable about this because I rented myself and my first start up and it was excruciating. And so my co founders and I looked at each other. We said, There have There has to be a better way than this. There has to be a better way where we're giving women are entrepreneurs the opportunity to raise debt free capital Thio, build the prototypes, launched their new products, start their businesses without going into debt, and test the market to prove demand before they invest in supply. And that is the genius of what we're doing, frankly, that no one's thought about or that really no one is talking about is this idea of proving demand before you invest in supply. And so we've built financial services products on day technologies into our marketplace that allow entrepreneurs to do that.

What is the elevator pitch of your startup? What problem does it solve? How were your customers solving their pain point before your startup?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
For those of you who don't know, I find women. We are the go to funding marketplace for women entrepreneurs and all of the people who want to support them were two sided fintech marketplace. On one side of the market place you've got all the women owns SMB s small medium sized businesses in the world. There's 13 million here in the U. S and about 163 million globally. And on the other side of the market place, you've got all of the people who want to find them. So that's individual funders, enterprise level funders, family offices, VCs, etcetera and where the fintech in the middle that makes those transactions happen. Onda. We operate in 120 countries on De So to answer your question, the problem that we're working on life on women since the beginning, where a four year old company is that there's a complete lack of funding options for early stage women entrepreneurs. So only 1% of companies, regardless of the gender of the founder, will ever raise venture capital. So think about that Onley. 1% of companies will raise venture capital. So what are the other 99% of companies due to start up, whether they're men or women, cos they max out their credit cards or they take out loans and they go into debt funding businesses that may not work, funding their proof of concept. And we really believe that I fund women that nobody should go into debt funding their MVP or their prototype stage of their startup. And for eso if you get back. Thio sort of the V C pie. Last year in the United States, at least, women founders received less than 3% of all of the VC capital dollars allocated and women of color female founders of color received less than a percentage point. So we're solving a massive, systemic problem. And for women, I think that the problem goes just beyond lack of access, which is going to be a common theme. You're going to hear me talk about with this access. It's not just about lack of access to the capital itself. It's about the lack of access to coaches and mentors who can literally show you how to do it. Onda have been there and done it before, not fluffy advice. Not like Oh, this is so glamorous. And I woke up like that because that's not how it is entrepreneur page terribly, and it's very gritty, and you have to really be so passionate about what you're building.So for women, the lack of access is not just about the lack of access to capital. It's about the lack of access to coaches and mentors to literally show you how to do it and the lack of access to connections to follow on Capitol to collaborators to November. So that's the problem we're solving. And we built a holistic solution to solve it, which encompasses capital coaching and connections, because all of those things will drive exponentially more something and that our business outcomes for women owned SMB s, which is really what we're all about. We want to create and help support women who are starting sustainable, profitable long term businesses.

Can you walk us through your first few weeks when you started working on this project? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
first few weeks. Okay, so we were sunsetting, which is a very nice word way of saying we were shutting down our first start up because it failed. And at the same time that we were shutting down, um, we we did a crowdfunding campaign as a Hail Mary to make payroll and save the company. So it was in this, like, it's actually interesting you ask. So this this month, time period of my first startup failing and trying to make payroll to save it, we did a crowdfunding campaign. We raised $30,000 in cash in a month. And in that moment I said to myself, Wait a second. Why isn't everybody telling entrepreneurs to do this as their first stop on their funding journey again to prove demand before they invest in supply? So when we raise that cash, I thought, Well, I could put this money I could throw good money after bad, which would be silly, or Aiken Sunset, the 1st 1st company literally better down and take that cash and build a really scrappy M V p of a crowdfunding platform for women because one did not exist, and a lot of people asked like why the women need their own crowdfunding platform? Why couldn't they just go to Kickstarter? There's lots of reasons for it, and here they are eso at the time when we built our M V P crowdfunding platform, which is only warm product we have in our funding marketplace. Out of many, um, there was Kickstarter and Indiegogo for businesses essentially and patryan. For YouTube creators, 94% of the highest grossing crowdfunding campaigns are by mail creators in gaming, consumer tech and film. There was absolutely no space for women. Sat Women run SAS companies. Business services Take me to be a technique to see, for that matter, farm to table restaurants. I mean, we so and there was no space to find women to fund, right? If you can't find it, you can't fund it. So I would go to these other platforms and look for woman entrepreneur, female founder, and we just couldn't search based on gender. So there was literally no place to go. So we built it on, and that was our first month was we literally bought our u. R L from Go Daddy from $2.99 which was both thrilling and horrifying, that I find women dot com was available for $2.99 but we bought it. We built an M V P, and it's been a rocket ship since then.

How did your venture get its first professional funding? What were the challenges and how were they overcome? How'd your fundraising efforts change in subsequent rounds?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
sure. So we are a venture backed company. Were part of the 1%. Um, it was not easy raising capital, and it continues to be difficult. Um, I think the reasons for that is Is this funding marketplace is fundamentally different from crowdfunding platform, right? We've got multiple products and services, so we've got Of course, we've got crowdfunding. We've got an ad tech built into our marketplace where founders can come and learn everything they need to know. And by the way, men and women are a part of our ad tech. Um, they can learn everything they need to know about running a start up between, you know, whether it's how and why to set up my Google analytics to how to run Facebook. Retargeting ads Thio How thio, How to run a crowdfunding campaign to How to Raise a Seed round. Thio How to write my business plan. How did you my investor deck, how to write my column strategy. There's so many things that founders need to know and we have our own one superpower. So we've got lots of developers and programmers on the platform we've and then, like on the opposite end, we've got chefs and and and people that know how to, you know, make a craft or whatever it ISS and everything in between. And you know how to do your business and make your product or service. That's your superpower, right? But all the other things that you need to know about running a business no one teaches you literally. No one teaches you. Even if you go to business school, you have your MBA. Unless you've been an entrepreneur before, you have absolutely no idea what you're in for. And I can tell you that firsthand. I grew up in Google and spent many, many years. They're Google did not prepare me to be to be an entrepreneur at all. In fact, quite the opposite. It diluted me into thinking that anything I would do was going to be a massive success without me having to do much, because that was sort of my experience at Google. Not that I didn't do much, but, you know, it was a huge, historic meteoric, uh, rise of a company of which I was part of the very, very early cohort of employees. So helping that experience really kind of messes you up a little bit because you think the rest of your life is gonna be like that and the rest of your career is going to be like that. And it's certainly not so. Our coaching platform is a game changer for entrepreneurs. In fact, the entrepreneurs who use the coaching platform raised 27 times more capital. When they go to crowd fund on our platform from the crowdfunding industry average 27 times. That's a huge amount because they're learning how to do sales, marketing, business, planning, strategy, you know, etcetera. So that's one piece of it. And then the other piece is we just recently launched well, a year ago. I can't believe it's a year We launched an enterprise brokered grants logistics product because we found that enterprises and brands like Visa like Adidas like Novartis, which is a big pharma company. Um, it goes on the list goes on PNG Ventures. They were looking to fund find in fund women entrepreneurs and specific sectors, and I found women has a very deep data set on just for that, so we were able to help them curate the best and the brightest in there. Target audience and fund grants through our fintech for them. And that's been that that program has that product rather has really supercharged our entire ecosystem. So I'll wrap this up to say that raising capital was hard at the beginning because we were. If you Google us a lot comes up about crowdfunding, right and funding is like the C word, but not in a good way to VCs. Like none of the big Three crowdfunding platforms of that exits, one of them became A B Corp. One of them is like completely over leverage. You know, that was who we were being compared to. So VCs were like, We've already invested in one of your competitors if we're not going to see our we've already written it down like no, and it took us a while to be able to explain and to show the proof in the data and the case studies on how we are so different, right? We're a funding marketplace, and there's multiple products that go into it that have nothing to do with our competitors. Once we were able to tell that story, it became exponentially easier to raise capital, so I mean so to anyone watching this, It's It's very hard. It's always hard to raise BC Even if you have your story down, it's the more you raise and the farther you get up the food chain, the harder it ISS. We actually had a really fun time raising our seed round because we did it in a way that no one's ever done it before. And I'll share this with your audience. So we raised our seed round from a, um, almost in the way when you think about crowdfunding. But we did it, I r l. So in real life. So what we did was, we did our research and we invited 50 investors and funds all women to an event, and this was before the pandemic. So this was in 20 March of 2019. We invited them to an event at a Coworking space that actually had funded itself on iPhone women. So there's a coworking space in Manhattan called Luminary Um, and they raised $350,000 in cash on iPhone women in a month to open up their space There. Space is gorgeous, and we hosted an event there so that people could actually have the experience of iPhone. Women like this space. This physical, beautiful space that you're in investor, Mrs Investor, um wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for I fund women. And so we invited these investors to come and be in the space. We had it beautifully catered. And then we gave them a presentation. They heard from all the founders, the three co founders they heard from customers. So we flew in customers from different parts of the country, all in different business sectors to talk about their sort of why I find women experience. Why did they choose us over other platforms? We had one customer that came in that had used them all. She was a serial crowd funder, and she was talking about why she shows. I found women on git was because of the coaching and because of the connections. And she went on to raise a round of capital from some of the investors that were in that room. Right. So it was We created this experiential marketing moment in which we closed our seed round in one day. So sorry. A interesting beginning. A series A or contemplating beginning us here is a um Ato beginning of the pandemic and we put it on hold Frankly, because I find women. It's truly an essential service. Uh, here in the United States, we were helping women keeping their businesses open through grants through crisis crowdfunding teaching them how to pivot through using Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Thio figure out how companies can be become a must have product versus a nice toe, Have it's a whole other discussion. But we were working over time getting helping our customers get their P P P loans, which, by the way, our customers got double the amount of P P P loans than the national average. So we were just busting our butts, making sure that our members were not only surviving cove it, but growing through cove it So we came out of the pandemic which were not out of. But we are like our customers and our members. Their businesses air up into the right because they're members of iPhone women. So we put our series and hold because they we don't need the money with plenty of runway. Business is great. And, you know, I couldn't imagine I took a couple of tests. Zoom or test video conference pitches. And it was awkward if I'm being just totally honest with it. Was really awkward. I'm in I r l person. I'm way better. And like I'm just talking to you and we're talking, there's no script. Obviously this this is how I try to shine. This is how I'm most comfortable. I am not comfortable giving up, You know, he note presentation and not being able to see my audience or even see someone smiling things like you looking back at me and giving me reaction, I just I just don't work that well that way. I did two pictures and I was like, Oh, dear, this is gonna be a disaster. Like let me know this my time. We don't need the money. We have runway. So we're are syriza is on hold, perhaps indefinitely. Eso that czar from enduring

How did you set the scope for your minimal viable product? How did you get to product-market fit? How did your product evolve over time?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
The reality is our developer, our developers, we just We just built it so the m v p it all happened so fast, and we ascribe to the lean startup methodology if you've ever read the book, right, So you test you learn you illiterate, you build and then, you know, in the illustrious words of Reed Hoffman, if you're not totally embarrassed by your M v. P, you're late. So we built a super scrappy M V P. She was called Frankenstein. She was built on a WordPress page with a plug in a crowdfunding plug in, um, a slack integration. The pretty product marketing pages we made on squarespace. I made them like we just was like, it was four of us. It was Shilpa k Sarah and I literally So it was like Sarah and I were making graphics. Kate was writing Copy. Um, Schauble was building, you know, doing the WordPress stuff. We just put it all together. Eso you know, that's how a scrapping startup starts. We didn't have product. People wouldn't have, you know, as sharp as a developer, but we didn't have an edge team or Q A. People we didn't have like a real team like we do now. So, um, the scope for the M V. P was we had 30 grand, and that was it. And we you know, we and we did it on board how we got to product market fit, was we? We knew there was a massive problem that we were solving, and it wasn't just for us. And the reason we knew that was because we put up just this was picture mid 2016. We put up a Facebook post, No boosting, no ads. We had no money, uh, to say like, Hey, we're building this crowdfunding M v p for women businesses. If you want to test it like PS, it's probably gonna break. It's a real beta, but if you want to test it, um, apply here. And in a week we had 200 applications for 20 spots. I was like, Oh, man, like this is actually a real problem. And I did not know a lot of those people on the list like I didn't know most of them. Actually, just kind of people passed it around, and so we picked the best 20. Obviously, you know, the best 20 businesses on DWI set up a black channel and we basically were constantly in contact with our customers helped doing. But we were bumped from 24 7. We were building the plane as we were flying it essentially and then once we launched, um, it didn't break. In fact, it skyrocketed and we knew we knew we had. I wouldn't say perfect product market, but we had We had idea. Market fit idea. Founder, market fit. The product was fine, but we knew, you know, we obviously couldn't be on your breath. We had to, you know, we had to build some real technology that could scale and had, you know, we had to build the product and build it out. But we knew we had product market fit when we put the product up and lots of people used it and we didn't know paid marketing zero not and we still it's all organic traffic and growth that we enjoy

Who were your early users? What marketing channels, approaches, and marketing tools did you use to contact users? What worked and what didn't?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
So our early users came from Facebook. They were women entrepreneurs who responded to that first post. Um, in terms of marketing, we just did, you know, social marketing. We had a blogged that we failed at. We still failed. Blogged Yeah, you're supposed to blogged. We don't have time. Um but we dio dio amazing storytelling on instagram. So I would say the thing that drives the most about the thing that drives traffic for us is number one organic search. I grew up a Google and if my search results, if my S CEO is not great, then I should be fired right now. So are, you know, has been top notch since day one Onda that drives the bulk of our traffic from organic search. The second biggest driver is Instagram. And once we had 10,000 followers, which again, like we couldn't afford to buy them. So the first year we slogged along with, like just trying to get followers so we could get the swipe up because the swipe up is everyone. So So yeah, Instagram stories are a great place to tell authentic stories. And, you know, we have our entrepreneurs take over our instagram and tell us about their journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. I think one thing one of the many things that are members really love about iPhone women and our brand is that we are no BS. We don't make this. We don't make this look easy. In fact, we try to scare them off when they come to us and they have these. Most of our customers are 9 to 5 corporate women who want to start a business, and they come to us and they say, You know, I work it. I mean Mawr Fang company employees that are side hustle when I run women well, kind of amusing. I'm assuming you guys know what Fang companies are. Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google. But now it's P. Fang PayPal, whatever. Anyway, so Amazon. We've got so many unbelievable corporate women who want to start their own businesses and can build who come to us and say we I'm ready to quit my day job. I want to start my business and we're like our advice is like system. Do not quit your day job. That is not smart. You need your money, you need your benefits. Do this in your 20%. Do this in your spare time weekends. You know, if you're so passionate about this, you're gonna do this for a while and then you're gonna have customers and we're gonna help you along the way. So we've actually made coaching hours on weekends nights and we've adapted our the times that we work to the times that are entrepreneurs really need thio have support, which is great. I mean, the runs 25 75 days on the coaching. You know, you can get whatever you need it especially if you work a 9 to 5 job so back to marketing back to marketing. So the storytelling we dio on social media, especially on Instagram, is to completely authentic. We will never lie to our customers. We will never be s our customers. It's never like Oh my God, this is so easy. Like I just raised $300,000 and it was like the easiest thing ever. We are putting out the blood, sweat and the tears and the celebrations and the commiserations because we want women to feel like we are them. And we are Frankly, we are the same as them. I mean, I know right now I'm talking to your audience and I look like a privileged white lady, which I am, but I can tell you that our customer base are 75% B I p o c entrepreneurs, uh, women of color entrepreneurs. And our employee base is over 60% people of color. And so, yes, you're talking to the privileged white lady at the top, But it's super important for you budding entrepreneurs out there. If you're building a company, um, and your marketing accompany your employees better look like your customers. It's important because it just is. I mean, hopefully, like that doesn't bear.

How'd you hire, incentivize, and track the progress of your sales and marketing team including agencies and part-time workers to scale user base?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
Okay, so we don't use agencies or freelancers. And that's not because we don't love agencies and freelancers. It's just because we're building a different kind of company that I find women. And that's what happens when three moms build a company. We very much believe in full time salary. Really great health benefits for one K plans, obviously, stock options, unlimited mental health days, unlimited sick days, three weeks of vacation. So, um, we have found and this is a product of me growing up a Google that when you treat your employees really well, they will stay with you through the good times and bad times and start ups or difficulty started working at a start up. The person that makes the decision to come from corporate and work in a startup needs toe, love the mission, embody the mission and be okay with ah startup salary. Now, our salaries are market rate. They're not terrible. They're actually pretty good. Um, but again, we're in New York, New Jersey area we're competing with, you know, every huge tech company for engineering and product talent just super difficult. So, you know, when we find these gems, that is our that our 17 employees right now they're here for the mission. They're also being paid well, and we just I just feel better knowing that we have this sort of growing family and that everybody is treated equally and again. I think it's a you know, just candidly. It's a product of me coming from Google where they really invented this whole contractor duels, you know, dual citizen or two different types of citizens that work at at a lot of these big companies. And I just always felt wrong that at the holiday party it was only the full time employees that got to go. But your coworker, who's sitting next to you, who's there full time with you is not invited. So I just, you know, and I think there was a big backlash against that culture, frankly, in the last few years, and so we're just building a different kind of company. So in terms of marketing, it's not that we don't think agencies and outsourcing are great. And when you're just starting out, you have to do that. You absolutely have to do that. We focused more on building product again, coming from Google like I'm all about like the product. The product is great and it works. The revenue will come. That's my That's my mindset. So I didn't focus on marketing at first. Like our Brandon kind of stunk. Our marketing wasn't great. It all on Ben. Once we raised our round of financing on DWI could afford a really experienced marketer and communications director. We hired her. Her name is Julia Steel. She's absolutely brilliant. She came from S Y Partners, which is a very buttoned up organization. She's worked with unbelievable huge names, huge funds on doing their marketing and calm strategy, and she now runs it for iPhone women. And so we we had to wait three years to be able to afford Julia. But now you know, if you look at our brand this year on Instagram, even or our website this year versus last year, the fundamental change in our brand and in our marketing and in our messaging I mean you could you could see it. It's just it's visible, and you can also see it frankly, in the metrics up into the right, it makes a difference. So, having good marketing, having a brand aesthetic that is on point. Having a tone in voice that matches your customers is so critically important, and we had that before. But I think what a real market Ercan Dio or and a real communication strategist can dio is just level that up and make sure it's consistent, consistent, consistent.

Who were your competitors when you started and how did the competition evolve? How did you create a competitive advantage and a unique selling proposition?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
the competitors when we started were Kickstarter and Indiegogo and go fund me. Even the go fund me is for personal charity. There's still lots of people that do their business is on there. Um so that was our competitive set it first and our go to market was where the place for women. And if you are a SAS B two b company, Uh, you're gonna be better served here. You wouldn't get into Kickstarter number one Indiegogo Kickstarter rip off. Andi, go fund me for personal charity. So really, like there was nothing like iPhone women that really existed. In addition to that, the R key differentiators were the coaching. We were gonna have humans teach you how to do this. It is not rocket science, It's monetization. It is sales and marketing. That is what crowdfunding is. So we built a suite of tools um called the iPhone women method which are, you know, built on Google APS and are deployed through zoom on bond, Google APS and basically just teaches you it. Reverse engineer is the idea of crowdfunding starting from mapping your network and seeing what you can yield from your network and then going to your rewards, right? What are you going to sell these people? Um and what are they gonna pay for it? And then simply adding that up and seeing if that's how much money you need, that's how much money you need. That's your goal, right? So doing all that prep work and doing the legwork on the iPhone Women Method coaching program before you launch a crowdfunding campaign again yielded 27 x results. So our big differentiator was the coaching. We also have a creative studio where if you didn't have a crowdfunding video, we would make you a crowdfunding video. And, of course, of a couple of days for pennies on the dollar. And crowdfunding videos are actually one of the biggest barriers to entry for people getting their campaign up and running, especially for women, because one of our sayings is perfect is the enemy of done. And for women we gotta like, we want our hair and makeup to look good, you know, like listen, it is what it is. Women have to work harder to get people to like us than men do. It's just the fax is so, you know, in terms of you're looking at me like I'm crazy, but I'm not. I'm not crazy. I'm telling you three confidence gap Israel. So women in front of the camera and behind the camera in a very nurturing environment, you know, helping you make your crowdfunding video which, by the way, becomes your VC pitch. Um is very powerful. So all of these things didn't exist. We basically built the product we ourselves wish we had had when we crowd funded on another platform Thio fund our own M v p. Talk about eating your own dog food.the way we continued to evolve and differentiate ISMM or important, in my opinion, because when you think about the funding journey for any entrepreneur from idea to exit, there's lots of funding that they're going to need. So crowdfunding is just the first stop, frankly, on the food on the funding journey, where you prove demand. And then once you have proven demand, then you hopefully have customers and some revenue coming in, but you still need capital to grow. So that's where our enterprise broker grants product became extremely important because now we have these huge enterprises pumping millions and millions of dollars through the platform to our members who are helping them and that sort of middle stage between the crowdfunding and the time where they're ready for a bank loan or their time for the where they're ready for V. C. So that was that next evolution of the platform

What were the major exciting and memorable moments? Were there also any moments that almost got you to quit? How did you get past them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Oct 15 2020
There was never a moment where I wanted to quit iPhone women, and that's the truth. And the reason is is because the need is so dire. The need is so dire for funding for women's businesses. It's so period, um, here in the United States, over 1800 net new businesses or started every single day by a woman, the majority of which are started by women of color and especially through the pandemic, the right women were getting laid off and losing their jobs at a much higher rate than men were. So they were turning toe entrepreneurship to put food on the table, so I never, ever would quit my people, period. End of story. I don't care how hard it gets. I will never quit my people. So when your mission driven like that and we're not a nonprofit where a for profit company, that's not what this is about. Yes, we're doing good. But it is also about, you know, creating a lot of value for our company, for our shareholders who are women and for our employees who are majority women, people of color. Right? So I have sort of these macro, um uh principles that I hold dear for me as the founder, which is number one. I will never give up on solving this problem. For women founders, this is my life's work. Number two. I am dedicated to creating intergenerational wealth for people of color. And the way that I could do that is on my own cap table, which I have carefully crafted to be extraordinarily diverse and in fact, have given, um, founding members of the team, uh, equal amounts of equity as the founders, because I want them to be as rich as we are when we exit. It's got to gotten to that point like I'm kind of a lunatic about it. And the reason I could be a lunatic about it because I already made a lot of money a Google. So it's a very privileged thing to be able to dio, but, um, so I'm doing it and it's, you know, so So my kind of quest in life is really, um, racial equality, uh, equity in income, equity and funding and all the things that women, and particularly women of color just we just they just get screwed. We're all again screwed, So I will never quit No matter what happens to my company, whether we you know, I know whether we exit. Whatever happens, we will always be here. Um, and the heart. So some hard days Oh, gosh, There's so many hard days. Um and you're gonna have so many hard days as a startup, so way have really hard day yesterday, um, one of our one of our business services providers had a major mess up, and it was something that could be fixed. But it took my co founder, Kate, and I probably like 40 hours collectively to work on this problem when, frankly, I could be we both could have been spending that time with our members, helping them raise money. So that's what really like gets my goat is when there's problems that arise that are caused by that. This is again Why, like, I don't like using. I don't like outsourcing stuff, but some things you have to outsource like accounting. And you know, there's just things that we do that we just can't do in house that are stage yet. So those kind of things will always arise. Um, let's see, what other days have been bad, right?You know, it's interesting because when the pandemic hit right and the pandemic hit executives as people, I'm a mother, a single mother of two Children who now are home schooled as I'm running a business. So that is extraordinarily challenging. In fact, I was just quoted in the wall journals. Women in the workplace report about this very topic that single mothers have it the absolute worst, um, a single working mothers, because there's no opportunity for a sane work day when you have Children that are being home schooled in your house with no help. I mean, it's insane. Minor, at least teenagers. So they do it on their own, but not from my staff from on Congress. So I would say the hardest days right now during this pandemic are making my team feel supported and safe, that they're not gonna lose their jobs because they have a create because they're toddlers screaming in the background, you know, and they're in an apartment in Brooklyn and they're just trying to do their job. So I think that's like been the hardest thing lately as the general theme is making the team feel safe and motivated, and we did that by saving their jobs. We got our P P P loan. You know, with the company is doing well and people have job security, you know, knock on what? So that's that is enormously helpful. But then also giving them Aziz many mental health days as they need and what's critical about this. And I know I'm kind of getting off topic a little bit, but I think these things are important for new founders to think about because your team is everything your team is, everything you could have the best product in the world. You could have the best idea in the world if your team is not right or die and brilliant at what they dio, you're going nowhere fast. So the thing that you should do as a founder when you are funded is develop your team and curate your team to the utmost perfection. And that's what I have done again coming out of Google. This is what I'm brainwashed about, and I'm happy to be brainwashed about it because we've had no attrition. I'm sorry. One person leave over the course of four years, and it was a, you know, amicable transition out. But my point is that creating a safe, nurturing work environment where people don't have to lie and say they're sick but rather say, you know what? I'm having a really hard day today. I'm gonna I need to take the day off. I would so much rather someone say that and be truthful than lie and say I'm sick, you know? So we're just building this culture of transparency, of Novi Death, of feeling safe and secure. And so Okay, so those air the hard moments, what are the best moments? Okay, I'll tell you what one of the best moments was. So about two years into the journey No, about a year into the journey, we had a new customer. Her name is Doctor Sandra Kay Johnson. She is a hidden figure, and I'm sure you're very smart viewers. Hello, Whoever you are, who I'm talking Thio. Um, if you haven't seen the movie hidden figures, you need to go see it. Hidden figures are about the African American women who are doing the mathematical computations that put John Glenn into space. Dr. Johnson was one of the first African American women in the United States to get her PhD in electrical engineering. She was one of those hidden figures. The book and the movie were based on her life. She's a programmer. She worked at IBM for 25 years. She's a woman. In her sixties, she came toe iPhone women to raise $15,000 to finish the programming of her, uh, Remittances that it is serving sub Saharan African countries. So in that moment, when I saw Dr Johnson Crowdfunding, I I actually cried. I cried for two reasons. I thought 10 my goodness. Here's this stem rock star. She should have money thrown at her. Why is she on my crappy crowdfunding platform raising capital like that? That, to me, was a statement on the world. Here is this woman who a movie was made about who you know, didn't think that she had a chance to raise VC for her fintech app. So that was I was proud that she found us on Google. I was overwhelmed with emotion that it was happening fast forward. Three years later, the Ink magazine top 100 female Founders list just came out yesterday and guess who was on it. Dr. Sandra Kay Johnson as well as to other iPhone women alumni Jill Angelo, who is running a health tech company, and Winona Stature, who is running a construction of manufacturing company in Atlanta. And yours truly, Who's running? I find women, so that's clear. So that was that. The doctor, The doctor Johnson's story is really my bet. My money. The best thing for me, For me personally, Um, there's so many success stories on iPhone women there so I could talk about our role models and are, you know, success stories all day long, but Dr Johnson is my faith.