According to Forbes magazine, research published by Barclays Bank and the Entrepreneurs Network states that; “Women-led businesses achieve far lower levels of funding, with male entrepreneurs 86 per cent more likely to be venture-capital funded, and 56 per cent more likely to secure angel investment.”
Take this as good news for us female entrepreneurs! Investors are waking up to this and realising that having a female tech leader is a very good thing. They are far more “emphatic”, better “listeners” and “not afraid to be themselves”. It goes without saying, that if you have a more diverse work force made up of different genders, ethnicities and abilities then you are more likely to understand the needs of different audiences.
In this short blog, I’m gonna highlight my own 5 learnings from becoming a female tech founder to inspire other could be women in tech.
If you have a good idea, you know it’s going to solve a problem(s) and you have some of the skills then why not go for it? You can start mapping out your solution whilst working in a full-time job. Even better, get your first project funded by your recent work place. Your experience of needing this solution, your knowledge of the work place and your passion for solving the problem will place you in good stead for starting your business. Have conviction in your ability to provide a first class product.
As a user interface and experience designer, I know how to design well, how tech works but I don’t know how to code a complex product. Who knows everything right? This is a good thing because everybody needs a ying to their yang and working in partnership means double the brains. So I started looking for a developer who had the same vision as me. Someone who I knew I could work with in the longer term and who had bucket loads of passion. Lucky for me, I found my co-founder early on who has been with me on the journey ever since. Here’s Dean, my tech super hero :o)
So we could build the product but how about the commercial side? Investment and business development? I bet you know someone already in your network that could give you some great advice. Perhaps a client you have a good relationship with? Meet them for a coffee to pick their brains, learn from them and who knows they may even invest. Here’s Ben, my Angel :o)
We joined the Brighton Eagle Lab as soon as we could. This was a great way to meet consultants and other start-up businesses as well as reaching out to other programmes such as the Barclays Rise programme focusing on promising FinTech providers. Not only was this a great environment to work in but the knowledge and contacts made were invaluable. There are many other networks like this around the country, so it’s worthwhile seeking them out. Co-working spaces such as Platform 9 in Brighton and Hove create a really great atmosphere to run events from, meet like-minded people and get introduce new clients through sharing networks. Honestly, who knew banks were actually quite cool?!
We’ve recently joined the Natwest Accelerator Programme in Brighton which is amazing. The programme is extremely inspiring; with workshops, coaching, access to mentors and desk space. Not only do you get great support from the team but you get to meet some inspiring founders of other businesses – many of them female. They also have a great little coffee machine (always handy!).
For a new tech product, it’s vital to get your pricing model right as soon as you can. This means doing thorough competitor research and looking at what makes your product stand out. Once you’ve got your pricing model and target market defined, it’s then much easier to create a business plan highlighting financial projections for potential investors further down the line.
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