by DIANA DORAHY|28 August 2020

Female Founding News

Hi and welcome to The Wrap, a quick look at the week that was, I’m Diana Dorahy.

Congratulations to Jill from Collagen Lab who’s won the Founder Institute x Next Chapter Raise Fellowship.

The Founder Institute is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. They’ve helped more than 4,300 entrepreneurs get the focus and support they need to build businesses that matter. We can’t wait to follow Jill on her journey!

We were also thrilled to welcome Courtney Haley, our Entrepreneur-in-Residence this month for a live implementation hour with our members.

She’s an expert in end-to-end manufacturing, package design, product development and innovation. She had all these money-saving tips about manufacturing cosmetics, particularly when it comes to getting samples made, artwork completed and ticking all the legal and regulatory boxes. Really insightful, thank you, Courtney!


In funding news this week…

Lots of capital being dished out.

Berbix, an ID verification startup that was founded by former members of the Airbnb Trust and Safety team, have announced a $9 million Series A round. Maybe not surprising on the back of Covid and the increased need to validate identification.

Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng Inc. raised $1.5 billion through an initial public offering in the U.S. So much for geopolitical tension. These guys are ones to watch.

And Verta, a model management and operations platform for machine learning, has just raised a $10 million Series A round.

Founded by Mansai Vartak, she came up with the idea while still at MIT in the U.S. She found a gap between data scientists and developers when it came to deploying machine learning models and this platform aim to bridge that gap.

One thing Vartak also wants to do is have a 50/50 gender split, something she was able to achieve while at MIT in her various projects, and she wants to carry that on with Verta. She is also working with Sweat Equity Ventures, to help with recruiting diverse candidates.


My story of the week….

Goes to a raw and inspiring piece written by Tracy Young about her time as a female founder.

She was one of the founders of PlanGrid, a construction productivity software company that was acquired by Autodesk in 2018 for a cool $875m.

She lays everything out on the table – the pressure to return to work after having a baby, internal challenges like losing really good talent at a really bad time, breastfeeding, walking away from disappointing M&A offers, pitching at countless VC meetings and did I mention breastfeeding?

But she also dug deeply into the emotion that comes from growing a company. She says openly that her self worth was completely tied to it.

After the acquisition, she agreed to stay on for 18 months but it didn’t last long. She says, “everything that made me a good founder, made me a terrible employee at a public company”.

It’s a transparent story with lots of important tips.


My tip of the week this week….

Comes from our inaugural Raise Role Model, Fei Yao from New Campus who joined us for a fireside chat about pivoting between an online and offline business. She covered everything from managing a remote workforce to considerations about infrastructure changes.

As for customers, she had this advice:

  1. Some customers may not choose to move with you when you pivot to online services. There will be a natural attrition rate but it also gives you an opportunity to develop detailed profiling and refine your offering to appeal to new customers.
  2. Consider how to market to this new user base. Your traditional paid advertising models may not work as well as they did previously so consider tailoring your services and messages. This may also create an opportunity to redesign your service to gain exposure outside your traditional location.
  3. And leverage partnerships to reach new customers. This is important for several reasons not least of which is that mutually beneficial partnerships are often free to promote.


Coming up next week on Next Chapter Raise…

We have the French Tech panel on tackling gender bias in the corporate and investment world next Thursday, September 3rd. Can you believe it’s September?. Our founder, Nicole is one of the panellists at this prestigious event and joins speakers from 500 Startups and Schneider Electrics. I’ll put the link in our newsroom. Register now, it’s free.

Until then, have a great weekend and see you next time on The Wrap.