Female founders give startup, fund-raising tips

NEW YORK-- It’s seldom you hear honest talk about investors snoring soundly or checking their phones every so often when you’re pitching to them but the founders of these companies -- Wayup, F Cubed, Manicube, getringly and ELOQUII -- had those stories to share. What’s more unusual perhaps is how even those who they thought couldn’t care less were the ones interested in investing in them.




“They probably just had a long day, or were just too busy,” two of the women said. An Duggal, Liz Wessel, Katina Mountanos and Mariah Chase were the panelists who shared their experience as a startup and how they have pitched, wooed and won over  investors last October 5 at Orrick’s offices.


Among the tips they shared with the audience in this law office at the CBS Building were:

  • Nothing will happen unless you talk about it

  • Prototype and make it better

  • Hire senior as much as possible, not by seniority but those who doesn’t mind rolling down their sleeves to do the dirty work

  • Give them two decks -- one brief one via email and a comprehensive one, for VCs to use and share with their partners

  • Prepare to paint a really audacious goal even if you want to be authentic

  • Expect to have coffee meetings with them


WayUp (formerly Campus Job) is a startup that connects college students with local job opportunities. Launced last September 2014, it’s founded by Liz Wessel and JJ Fligelman. In April, the company raised a $7.8 million Series A round. It has reportedly signed up over 5,000 companies and thousands of student users.  


The name change was crucial to the success of its business, because Campus Job sounded like it was offering jobs inside a campus only. The site is free for students.


The Female Founders Fund or F Cubed headed by Anu Duggal is a venture capital fund for women to address the paltry number of funds that startups with a female founder or CEO has received. A research study pointed out that only 2.7 percent of US companies receive venture capital funding from 2011 to 2013.


Katina Mountanous of Manicube talked about Manicube, her house call and even -- get this -- in-office manicure service (if your employer is okay with it) available in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. She co-founded it with Liz Whitman.

Rngly is working on building the future of wearable technology and connected devices like jewelries.

ELOQII, headed by Chase, is a plus-size fashion brand with a difference. It offers sophisticated outfits for women who can’t find their size.