For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Jill Earthy, Head of Growth at Female Funders.
Paolina: Female Funders wants to build Canada’s community of women investors? Why is that so important, what impact does it have on female founders?
The Women in Venture report recently released by Female Funders outlined that only 14% of Angel Investors in Canada are women, and only 14% of partners at Canadian Venture Capital funds are women. Yet, women represent 50% of the population and are starting businesses at a faster rate than ever before. We know that diverse leadership teams provide better financial returns for investors. Investing in women is good for business. Our goal at Female Funders is to increase the number of female angel investors and venture partners through a blended education program, access to investment opportunities and a global community.
Canada has taken a strong leadership role in championing the next generation of women founders, yet access to capital remains a major barrier for women looking to launch and scale successful businesses. We want to change this by unlocking the capital, networks and expertise of Canada’s leading women.
We believe that increasing diversity of investors will result in a broader range of investment decisions, which will ultimately support more female founders to grow their businesses in a way that is designed for them.
Paolina: What are three pieces of advice you would give to women seeking to become investors?
For women considering making investments into early stage companies, I would recommend:
– Determine how much money you want to invest annually (knowing these are high risk opportunities) and understand you will want to spread this out over a few different companies to diversity your risk, as well as allocate some for follow-on investments
– Develop an investment thesis based on your areas of expertise and your passion
– Educate yourself on what questions to ask and what you should consider. Follow your gut and don’t be afraid to ask questions
– Connect with a network, such as Female Funders, where you can collaborate and review investment opportunities with others. Collaboration and diversity of thought are powerful filters
Paolina: What are three things that every business owner/entrepreneur should know/learn/understand about finance and/or looking for investment?
There should be a reciprocal relationship between Funders and Founders based on trust and respect.
- Understand the profile of the investors who will be a fit for your company, conduct research and be strategic in your outreach
- Know your numbers including key metrics to date as well as realistic projections for the future. Understand the competitive landscape and your key differentiators
- Acknowledge your Why – Why are you raising money? What do you want to achieve and how will this benefit investors? Also, understand what you want from investors besides money? What help do you need?
Paolina: What do you look for in businesses that want to work with you?
People – I look for great people with a passion for what they are doing and a drive to move their vision forward. We love founders who are coachable and open to help in order to evolve their vision into a scalable venture having a positive impact.