Over the past couple of years, the number of businesses led by female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color has increased tenfold. This dynamic increase is contrasted by the stagnant percentage of Venture Capital dollars going to women-founded companies since 2012.
Women Vs. Juul?
Why are businesses pioneered by women–specifically women of color–shortchanged by the same investment firms that build the financial groundwork for their male counterparts? A Fortune study shows that in 2018, all the female business founders received almost $10 billion less than one e-cigarette company, Juul, absorbed by itself ($2.88 billion and $12.8 billion, respectively).
So what is the reason for such discrepancies between male and female business founders? The answer might not be as straightforward as gender and racial bias–and raises questions of a larger, systemic barrier.
Venture capital is a famously male-dominated industry, and the statistics continue to demonstrate this, even in 2021: women represent only 12% of venture investors. More than just an issue of underrepresentation in Venture Capital, women are often barred from the network connections, resources, and space that is so readily available to their male counterparts.
InvestHer provides an incubator space for women of color entrepreneurs who are looking for the network connections, resources, and space to elevate their companies and find their footing in financial backing. InvestHer will exist in physical and digital spaces, to allow for maximum accessibility of the experience.
To join InvestHer, prospective users will either pay a $100 or $345 fee–for online and in-person membership, respectively–that would give them access to a startup incubator space. They will have access to fellow forthcoming entrepreneurs, a series of community rooms and office spaces to hold their meetings, and a panel of working professionals to provide guidance and feedback as “mock VCs” to practice investment pitches.
Ultimately, InvestHer puts 50% of its profits into developing the incubator locations and investing in the women-led startups from our locations. That way, the money that entrepreneurs put into their membership fees ultimately loops back to supporting their companies, so they will have the opportunity to continue to grow their businesses. Eventually, InvestHer will expand across the country, increasing not only in physical incubator spaces but also in the investment capital granted to companies founded by women of color.
When broadening the audience of the company, InvestHer will primarily focus on college students at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and women’s colleges like Howard University and Wellesley College. As such, InvestHer will grant priority access to companies with a female co-founder of color.
InvestHer may seem to be just another startup incubator. However, there are several ways through which the company has segmented itself from its competitors, such as WeWork, the Wing, and Techstars. InvestHer is not just another startup incubator, as it is not only catered toward women of color, but the fees are relatively reasonable and the incubator spaces are offered around the country. Furthermore, InvestHer promises users the ability to work directly under a mentor who will provide feedback and guidance and the opportunity to receive funding for their projects.
Although InvestHer is helping budding entrepreneurs, what the company is not doing is providing an idea to the clients. Instead, InvestHer provides all of the resources, tools, and know-how necessary to develop each entrepreneur’s ideas, because each founder will bring their unique perspectives to the table. If they don’t necessarily have an idea when they purchase a membership, that’s okay! The purpose of the incubator is to allow business leaders to brainstorm with one another and consider ways that companies can not only grow but also initiate.
At InvestHer, we don’t invest in our dreams. We give you the support you need to invest in your own.