By: Kelsie Dawe
In the hectic and ever changing world of startups, the thought of becoming the next Steve Jobs seems slightly more attainable. In a recent meeting, the conversation of the next version of an app build was at the center of discussion. A more experienced tech advisor brought up the point in relation to developers, he stated the capabilities of the modern day tech development are light years ahead in comparison to not even five years ago. The journey from having an idea and turning it into a tangible product has curtailed. It is almost too easy to accomplish, and with a small amount of capital nearly anyone could have an app developed in very little time. However, the chances of a SaaS product to redirect into a profitable business is not as effortless. There are extensive factors playing into what could make a startup successful that span over multiple categories. One thing that I am absolutely certain on however, is a founder’s gender should not be a contributing factor in the probability of success.
While it is true the industry is becoming more diverse, with more and more people of all backgrounds breaking into the startup ecosystem, there is still a long way to go. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women account for 36% of majority owners of small business. While this fact is discouraging to hear considering women make up half of the population, it is even more disheartening to learn that female founders account for only 9% of VC backing, out of the $678 billion it invested in 2019. It begs the question of why seeking private investment is a more challenging endeavor for one group over another? What is the reasoning behind the blatant lack of support for female founded business from the PE industry? Even if one were to assume the average female business ideas were less lucrative than male generated concepts, the percentage of investment should still far surpass a measly 9%.
In an attempt towards an explanation for this occurrence, there is a data-based explanation, and it suddenly becomes very clear why many VC partners pass on investment. Female founded startups backed by VC financing under perform their male counterparts, nearly every single time. This is always the case. Always.
There is only one exception to this information:
If there is a female GP backing investment within the firm, the performance gap disappears. With a female investor, the gender of the founder is no longer a factor in the likelihood of a startup’s success.
The interesting dynamic of this information pushes towards the necessity of an increase in both female founders and investors. As a baseline for growth, there must be an overwhelming understanding that equal representation will lead to equal opportunity. The importance of recognizing the ambition and innovation of female leaders works to break down internal bias of incapability in the eyes of stakeholders. It is the responsibility of a consumer, first-backer, supporter, and investor to actively attempt to improve the climate of the startup ecosystem to reinstate the ability for anyone, of any background, to reach prosperity within their venture attempt.
The beauty of the startup industry, in my eyes, is the potential to change the world. Look back to certain companies responsible for completely redirecting the societal norm. It is the uniqueness of innovation allowing the once-believed impossible to become tangible, taking our environment from zero to one. True growth can only be achieved through extensive and overwhelming support. A sole contributor cannot change the world, it most certainly takes a village. I cannot contain my excitement at times envisioning the small unlikely ideas who will eventually transform the modern world. The PE industry can be a huge propeller to these ventures and uphold the responsibility of being an initial contributor. This is why I become especially frustrated when considering the missed opportunities because of internal bias, misunderstanding through communication, or lack of confidence in an idea or founder on the basis of gender.
To move forward, no matter what role you may play in the unusual territory of startup ventures, anyone can make a difference. By supporting female founders we can work towards equality and true change. Of course, this can only happen one step at a time. This is one of the reasons I have been so grateful to work directly in the heart of this problem. I’ve witnessed first hand, many individuals wholeheartedly support Kikori due to this very reason. I attentively worked towards building the crowdfunding campaign, through Kickstarter, and feel very passionately support the startup as a whole because of my exposure to the people who created it.
Technology in the times of coronavirus
As we adjust to new routines in quarantine, people are turning to technology more than ever. Screen time has increased for most of us due to schools closing, jobs going remote, and classes moving online. For parents, this drastic change has left them grappling with how to deal with their children and technology.
According to Caroline, Knorr, a senior parenting editor at Common Sense Media, “While parents are trying to figure out how to run the household under new conditions, it’s fine to allow more screen time than usual.” This calming message on media and tech use is exactly what we all need to hear right now!
Since we are all getting extra screen time, why not use technology to communicate with children about how they’re doing, too? Here are three simple ways you can use technology to check-in:
check in with nature to connect with your Family & Yourself!
Checking In - What's your weather?
How often have you asked your child or student how he or she is doing and can’t get more than “fine” out of them?
Now that you have a full house at home or are supporting your students in their homes, you want to check in with your child but it's hard when you can't get a real response out of them! Your instinct is right, though - it's more important than ever to check in with your children/students. So much has changed for them in a short amount of time and it’s important to normalize communication of their feelings. Once they are able to recognize how they are feeling, the conversation can open up to how to manage those feelings.
Through our partnership with Play for Peace, we are bringing you a series of fun, engaging, connecting activities!
Our first activities will address just this! We're sharing five fun and unique ways to “check in” with your children to give them new ways to express themselves—and help you know what is really going on with them! Once you get the hang of it, share with us the creative check ins you and YOUR child create together!
Touch someone who
With everything going on in the world right now, we at Kikori know that it's important to practice appreciation - and to do that, I want to share our appreciation for one of the Appreciation Living Legends - Marilyn Levin.
Marilyn, a fellow Social Worker and University of New Hampshire graduate (!), is a social entrepreneur focused on catalyzing the global transformation that is underway. Marilyn met us through the SINE network and immediately began supporting Kikori as a way to spread experiential education. Since meeting Marilyn, she has consistently brought us joy and helped us to see what is possible in the world.
Marilyn is an award winning activist, a professional speaker and trainer and the author of Experiential Activities for a Better World, a book which delivers the information and inspiration you need to become a catalyst for personal and global transformation. It provides insights, methods, perspectives, tools and over 100 activities for facilitators, teachers, counselors, trainers, and group leaders – anyone who would like to transform injustice and inspire hope and healing in themselves and others. Many of this book's activities have already been featured within Kikori with more coming out every day. She has founded several non-profits and led one of the first global collaborative fundraising challenges including the Rolling on the Floor Laughing Challenge.