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11.16.2020

The Glaring Gap Summit: Investor Education Day

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Just over a year ago, we received data about the gap that exists nationally between what women startup founders raise on average to grow their companies versus what men raise. Less than 20% of global venture deal volume in 2019 went to startups with at least one woman founder. In terms of total dollars raised, 2019 saw only 13% go to those same companies.

Frustrated with the state of funding for women tech founders and with support from JPMorgan Chase, we began work on the Glaring Gap Report and Summit. The Glaring Gap Report outlines the state of tech entrepreneurship for women in Florida. Some of the startling findings include:

  • Although the # of women-founded startups in Florida that raised early-stage venture funding has increased, they still received just 12% of capital over the past decade
  • In 2018 and 2019, not one individual woman participated in an investment round in Florida
  • Just 8% of Florida-based investment firms have a woman in an investing or leadership role

If the Glaring Gap Report was intended to outline the problem, the Glaring Gap Summit was to create a solution. The Summit is convening 50 Florida-based women across 3 audiences: accredited investors, emerging professionals, and college students seeking venture career paths.

Over the course of 3 sessions, the inaugural Glaring Gap Summit is exposing the participants to the various types of startup investing, a rigorous investing curriculum, real-world application, and the opportunity to build relationships among Florida-based women interested in startup investing.

Session 1 began with a fireside chat between Alexa von Tobel, Founder of LearnVest, which exited to Northwestern Mutual, now venture investor at Inspired Capital, and Julian Guthrie, best-selling author. I met Alexa when she was first building LearnVest and to follow her journey from exit to launching her own fund has been truly inspiring .

Alexa energized the audience because she encouraged the Summit’s participants to be unapologetically ambitious, something we need to continue to remind ourselves to be as women. That message seemed to hit home with each participant, no matter her stage of life. And that ambition comes with a determination and the willingness to treat each day as an opportunity to succeed. Alexa shared her personal mantra to bring this mindset to life: “Get up. Dress up. Show up.”

We then brought in experts to share overviews of different investing approaches: Cheryl Campos of Republic gave an overview on equity crowdfunding (or crowd investing), Samara Hernandez of Chingona Ventures talked more about running a venture capital fund and Angela Lee of Columbia Business School and 37 Angels shared an overview of angel investing.

The remainder of the session was an intensive training on how to evaluate and participate in a startup investment round. Of the investor and startup education events I’ve attended, Angela’s curriculum was the most impressive, digestible and impactful investing education experience I have ever had.

We are excited to put this knowledge into action when the participants of the Glaring Gap Summit observe Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising Demo Day on Tuesday, November 17.

If you want to be a part of the change, we invite you to commit to being a part of the solution by signing our Pledge to Eliminate the Glaring Gap. Together, we can make sure that day by day, more women-led startups are being built and invested in.

Some more reflections for the Summit’s participants:

Lakshmi Shenoy
CEO at Embarc Collective Tampa Bay
Lakshmi Shenoy
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