#Shepreneurs: 4 Fundraising Obstacles Women Must Keep in Mind
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
No business can scale without external funds and that’s a given fact. However, getting external investments is not an easy task, especially when you are a woman. In 2018, start-ups led by female founders reportedly garnered only 5 per cent of the total amount invested in the Indian startup ecosystem. The figure indicates the travesty of the situation.
On one hand, we have power women like Vani Kola and Padmaja Ruparel sitting at the helm of India’s investment game but when faced with the other side of the ecosystem, women entrepreneurs experience endless obstacles while looking to raise funds. As a part of Entrepreneur India’s Shepreneur series, Sneha Choudhary, the co-founder and CBO of Zolo dishes out 4 challenges every woman founder face during the fundraising.
#1 Getting Questions
It is the norm. If you are women founder/co-founder with the however potential, innovative, worthy idea in your kitty, be ready for being fired with personal questions by investors. The regulars are already attuned to nature but the new players need to adjust to the curiosity.
“Invariably, I have been asked about what are my plans to get married, what are my plans for future, if I am planning to have kids anytime soon, what will my in-laws say, how will I manage work and home?” Choudhary shared, adding, “Over time, I realised that instead of getting offended and taking it personally, it is better to go prepared.”
#2 Research Well
Despite being considered the wiser sex, women often end up losing to men for not doing their research well. Call it the luck or presence of mind, it is important to be ready with the right information when required. Having the background research ready about various factors associated with the fund helps an individual be more prepared for unforeseen questions and situations.
“Research about the person you are going to meet, about the fund you will present to, about the industry in general, about what’s happening in the market, what are the other companies the fund would have invested in or the investor would have invested in,” Choudhary suggested.
#3 Be Assertive
People inevitably get influenced by others around them, especially if new in business. The peer pressure to go for the hot product on the block might shake your goal but one needs to be assertive about what they want from their job and the same theory applies to the funding too.
“There have been times when I have tried to adapt myself to other people’s working style and I realised that it didn’t work for me. In the end, I had to be comfortable with who I am, what my style of working was and be assertive about it, be clear about it, be confident about it and that same confidence and assertiveness needs to be projected when you are going out for the fundraising as well,” Choudhary said.
#4 Be Ready For the Challenges
While funding gives an organization the liberty to grow, it ends up restricting an entrepreneur’s decision-making power. Hence, it is crucial for every startup founder, irrespective of their gender to ponder upon why they want to go for that fundraise? They must analyze if it is the ongoing hype around funding influencing them or a genuine business need.
“Doing the fund is probably the easier task, being a part of the company which has raised funds externally is harder,” Choudhary said, emphasizing that, “It is perfectly fine if you are not comfortable with the high-stress life and would like to be in a controllable environment instead of one which is partially in your control and you are driven more by the action and necessity of delivering certain results.”