Bryce asked why I thought the announcement had hit such a chord with female founders.
I sent a list:
- In the most generic sense: traditional VC pattern matching doesn’t work well for women. (This is not a revolutionary statement.) They are almost always an exception to the pattern-to-be-matched, whether in personality, experience, approach, market. A new pattern means new opportunity, potentially with less inherent bias.
- Many women hate the bombast required for a typical VC pitch — and that bombast is typically received differently when delivered by a woman. Women have no trouble thinking big and absolutely no problem working hard — but generally prefer to under-promise and over-deliver.
- Women are used to working with less capital… and delivering. With fewer options, women have had to bootstrap more, make do with less, and focus on revenue sooner: “Women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bringing in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies, according to Women in Technology: Evolving, Ready to Save the World, research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation.” — Forbes.
- Socialization in the startup sector can be unpleasant. I actually was a judge at the famous hackathon that prompted an on-stage apology from organizers. A few bad apples continue to rot some of the banner events that purport to represent the tech industry. If a company’s goal is to be acquired by another company or take later-stage funding, the events can feel necessary… and many still have a long way to go.
- Women build businesses to solve problems. In evaluating success, most don’t ask: Did my business exit? They ask: Did I solve the problem? (And if the answer is no, they are not done.) “[Women] are not looking for simple answers. They create comprehensive solutions.” — Larry Keeley, author of Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs, as quoted in Forbes. Comprehensive solutions require a slower build, a longer cycle; very different from the “build an app and sell to Google” fever of the past few years.
The indie.vc model seems, at first blush, designed to reward and encourage many of the qualities frequently cited as inherent characteristics of women entrepreneurs. For many, that will be a welcome departure from the norm — and potentially quite a lucrative one.