Truth in data, calling shit out, and a bunch of workshops

by Allison Byers in January 30th, 2023

Teaching diverse founders how to create investable pitch material through a scalable online platform and making it easy for investors to discover them through data-driven curation. 

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Hi there,

Let's dive right in. The 2022 funding numbers are out and it's the same tune: enraging yet expected. Women received just 1.9% of VC dollars. This is the lowest percentage since 2012. The highest it has ever gotten is 2.7%, which as Kate Brodock says, is pathetic, shameful, embarrassing, disgusting, telling, and unacceptable. Black women, who start businesses faster than any other segment, receive less than 0.35% of all VC funding. Besides the obvious and nauseating racism and sexism, that is also a complete hamper on innovation and economic growth as a whole.

 In my home state of Massachusetts, it's even worse. Of the $19.5B deployed here in 2022, 0.6% went to Black founders, 0.9% to women founders, and 3.4% to Latino founders (primarily to one deal). There has been a great deal of talk among the VC community about increasing checks to diverse founders for years, but the data speaks the truth, and nothing has changed.

 I tweeted these stats to call attention to this fact and unwittingly experienced an element of the systemic bias that contributes to the lack of funding parity. A man I don't know took the content of my tweet and posted it on LinkedIn as his own, only modifying the data for his region.

My choice as the woman who had her content stolen was to say nothing or speak up and be perceived as a complainer. I chose to speak up by responding to his post with my original content. He then deleted my reply calling him out, blocked me, and did the same to others who replied pointing to my content. He was silencing me and my voice. His post was eventually taken down, but before that it engaged thousands and bolstered his standing as a thought leader.

 In the grand scheme of things, this isn't that big a deal. Except it is. When you combine it with all the other times this happens and the compound effects of social media visibility algorithms, it continues to push women down to complainers instead of thought leaders. As Bobbie Carlton pointed out in the Innovation Women newsletter, social media posts are a part of our public persona, our thought leadership. 

 Investors use social media engagement as signals of the character and reach of a founder. Copying my post may not seem like a big deal, but for all the potential partners and investors who see his "influence" and not mine it unjustly skews perception in a landscape where women are already not elevated as the thought leaders we are.

 Small things add up and turn into big things. If we don't call out the small instances of bad business ethics, they will turn into big ones. My ask is for you to call this shit out and hold people accountable. And, if you have done the shit, clean it up when you're called out, hold yourself accountable, and don't do it again. Me, the hundreds of diverse founders in our community, and the millions more out there need you to.

 We're building a scalable approach to shift these market dynamics and we're doing it with good business ethics. 

 Thank you for reading this. Thank you for helping us. I appreciate you.

Allison Byers, Founder & CEO

Updates & Events

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Virtual workshop: Public Speaking , 2/9 12-1 pm ET Public speaking can be a gamechanger for you and your startup. Learn from expert Bobbie Carlton, who has 35+ yrs experience placing entrepreneurs and executives on stage, how you as a founder can get comfortable with this skill.

Virtual workshop: Dissecting Cap Tables, 2/16 1-2 pm ET In this free workshop, you'll learn about the standard cap table format, how to build a cap table from formation through two rounds of fundraising, equity incentive plan implementation and tracking, convertible securities tracking and calculating conversion, calculating price per share, and documents and transactions that may affect your cap table.

Virtual Event: Pitch a Founder, 2/1 Scroobious is excited to support Pitch a Founder! The virtual summit connects Black founders to startup funding opportunities. Register to hear from investors, network with other founders, and get startup perks and special discounts.

Sign Up: Pitch Studio Life Sciences There's no substitute to practicing your pitch live, but underrepresented founders often don't have the network to do this comfortably. Investors, join a studio session to give honest pitch feedback in a safe, supportive space where you provide value AND meet incredible new founders. 

Virtual Event: Pitching Your Venture to Angel Investors, 2/7 1-2:30 pm ET Join me and Brett Dickstein of The Valley Economic Alliance for an overview of angel investing including ways to identify potential angel investors, best practices to develop an engaging pitch, and real-life success stories that will inspire and motivate you on your funding journey.

Sign Up: Investor waitlist We are just weeks away from inviting initial beta testers to check out our investor portal mvp. Here you'll discover founders you wouldn't otherwise know who have used our system to create compelling pitch material. Join 100+ angel and early stage investors to secure your spot!

Morse Minute

Morse supports diverse founders through their Scroobious corporate sponsorship and their legal professionals create exclusive content for our community to help entrepreneurs.

This month Scott Bleier and Elizabeth Resteghini explain when it is and isn't appropriate to ask an investor to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Click here for the full article. Quick highlights include:

  • An NDA is a contract that sets forth what is considered confidential information of the disclosing party and prohibits the recipient from disclosing or using such information other than for agreed upon purposes.
  • VCs typically refuse to enter into NDAs with startups for a variety of reasons.
  • They evaluate many startups, often in the same industry or competitive with companies in their portfolio. Executing hundreds of NDAs engaged in similar businesses can create an administrative nightmare, open them up to unintended liability, and create additional legal expenses.
  • A level of trust underpins any relationship between a startup and a VC. Presenting them with an NDA introduces a level of mistrust and trepidation that can start the relationship on shaky footing.
  • VCs want to avoid legal constraints and may choose not to evaluate a company if an NDA is presented.
  • There are certain exceptions, particularly in the case of life science startups that have highly confidential intellectual property, trade secrets, or patentable works for which they don't yet have protection.

Each newsletter features the perspective of one of our members. I encourage you to reach out to offer networking, investment interest, or expertise.

This month's featured founder is Julie Rasmussen, Founder & CEO of SheBanks

"As the head of a women’s social selling company in my early career, I have worked with thousands of women micro entrepreneurs from all walks of life. I saw first hand how they struggle with the demands of jobs, careers and family while trying to manage their personal finances. My ability to help was limited by the number of hours I had in a day to offer one on one counseling. 

 I founded She Banks with a mission to help women improve their financial security at scale. 

 The She Banks app is a super powerful personal finance app with personal insights that will offer rewards and recognition to encourage women to take control of their personal finances.

 When women have more money, everyone is better off!"

Do you want to be more Scroobious? Let's chat!

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