Vanessa Dawson, Founder of The Vinetta Project

For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to Interview Vanessa Dawson, Founder of The Vinetta Project.

The Vinetta Project’s why is to increase access to information, resources, connections and capital for female entrepreneurs.

The Vinetta Project consists of two different arms:

  • chapter and events model (the advocacy arm), which is media, content and connecting people. It’s also where they do their showcase events.
  • The second part of the business is what they call their “agency” side (the collective). It’s where they hand select top talent and help them scale and grow.

Paolina: What do you look for when you source female founders?

Vanessa:

To apply for Vinetta programming there is a baseline criteria you must meet.

  • At least one active member of the founding team must be female
  • Your product or service must be software or Internet based, tech-enabled through mobile or web, or has patent-able technology
  • Your site, application or product must be live, manufactured or in functioning Beta
  • Your company must have a scalable growth model, that is venture-back-able

When we review applicants, who fit the above criteria, we are looking for 4 key things. Product, is this business opportunity 10x better than incumbents.  Team- Are you well equipped to tackle this problem. Profit – does the economic model make sense. Traction- Have you tested product market fit and do you have any success metrics thus far.

Paolina: What are three things that every business owner/entrepreneur should know/learn/understand about finance and/or looking for investment?

Vanessa:

  1. Know your financial model inside and out as well as key traction and acquisition metrics for your sector. Understand your cash flow and burn rate – how long will it take you to get to various levels of scale?
  2. Be able to explain where the money you’re asking for is going to be spent and over what time frame, also know what outcomes you expect to achieve with this injection of capital.
  3. Understand how much of your company you want to keep ownership of along the fundraising journey. Do you want to keep a small % and target a billion dollar valuation or do you want to delay dilution and raise debt rounds or focus on profitability what are your timelines and exit objectives versus those of your investors.

Paolina: What should people know about female founders? What makes them such good investments/investors?

Female founders and investors tend to be more efficient with capital and more risk-aware. It’s about having diversified perspectives on market opportunities, which is critical for serving customers.

Female investors look at companies through a different lens, when it comes to deal review. Research shows the female investors are known to outperform in the long run because of how they approach risk.

Venture capital requires a greater tolerance for risk, which historically, may be one of the many reasons there have been so few female venture capitalists, hopefully that is starting to change.

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