Fundraising While Underrepresented: A Hell of a Journey for Inclusology

Fundraising is no joke, it’s hard, it’s time consuming, and a humbling experience. As a Black female founder who does not have the family and friends who are financially able to support your journey, it’s even harder. I’m writing this short article to inspire founders like me, who are on the same journey, some hope and clarity through this difficult ass process. I’ll start by sharing some information about my company.

A little history about my company Incluslogy. Inclusology is a SaaS platform that is using automation to help companies struggling in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing the tools necessary to help them improve areas of employee retention, recruitment, and growth. We are in the midst of raising a 1,000,000.00 seed round. We are in the process of testing the second round of our beta and have already tripled our revenue from last year by Q2 of 2020. We’ve done longitudinal studies and have the data to show that our tool works!

Since November of 2019, when we started our seed round, I’ve pitched to 100 investors. I’ve been pitching and applying nonstop for 5 months to angel investors and VCs, averaging 10–15 investors a week. Many who are interested in supporting my journey, but have said “no” for the following reasons: 1) You do not have enough revenue (73%), You do not have enough traction (20%) and I don’t know enough about your area of expertise (6%) and other reasons (1%). I’ve been through two accelerators, both that I’ve paid for and much hasn’t changed. I’ve invested a lot and I’m still waiting on the ROI to kick in! Now with that being said, I get that investors have a right to say no, they can’t fund everyone, it’s their money and they’ve worked hard to earn their keep. They have assured me that if I come back after my seed round they’d be ”very interested” in investing, noted!

Here’s the thoughts and questions that have been heavy on my mind the last 5 months: 1)If investors are hell bent on helping underrepresented founders in the early stages of founding our companies, do they understand the financial challenges we truly have to get to a finished product? 2) How in the fuck am I going to build a finished product and gain traction without money?

I’ve swallowed this pill and now I am in the space of rising up and facing the challenge. Growing up poor has taught me to be creative, resourceful, and perseverance. It has also taught me that I do have to work twice as hard, because my challenges are twice as prevalent, because this society is built by your labor, but not always not for your success. So create your own path, and build your own damn table and don’t forget the people who helped you get there. I wake up early, work smart, hard, and diligently. I have extremely successful financial advisors, people in tech, etc supporting me and that never seems to be enough. So I have extended every avenue, from applying for 9 grants, 3 which have said no so far, and 6 others are still in review (fingers crossed).

With this being said, I’m not giving up. I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to help us get to product launch. If you are a person who has had some success, understands my journey, and wants to help donate, every little bit helps.

Campaign can be found here:

https://ifundwomen.com/projects/inclusology

My company is going to get to launch, we’re going to be successful, I just have to be innovative in leading us to that point. I’m a firm believer in believing it, receiving it, and achieving it. I have also learned to be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. With that being said, please share this article and support. If you are a founder who is experiencing the same thing, I am rooting for your success. I hope you will do the same for me, send me that positive energy, because this shit is no joke. Also, send me your campaigns and I will return the love whether by reposting or donating or even featuring you in our newsletter.

If you are an investor who is interested in our story, email us at info@inclusology.com.

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Dr. CI

Dr. CI

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Dr. Cheryl Ingram aka Dr. CI, is a very successful entrepreneur, blogger, content creator and expert of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.