Last April 8, AlleyNYC’s SquadUp featured three female-owned startups Bird and Stone , Plum Alley, Quarterlette and Dreamers//Doers with some VC guests giving tip on how to get funded.
Made in New York, Bird and Stone sells its own jewelry line with 15 percent of sales funding micro loans and agri-business training in Kenya, where 75 percent of its people live in rural areas. So far, it has funded 8 women with $200 microloans and provided them with financial training, industry training and mentorship.
Founder Elana Reinholtz is looking to partner with female empowerment brands like SoulCycle and Lululemon as well as gain entry in 70 stores. “We’re a retail channel. We’re also a pop-up (shop).”
Julia Maltby, director of campaigns, talked about Plum Alley, a crowdfunding site for women. It provides women entrepreneurs and innovators a way to raise to money from a broad base of people. It’s also a site that connects women innovators and expert advisors.
“Our six-campaign checklist demystifies the campaign creation and management process,” she said.
In her presentation, she talked about a certain Kathyrn Moss for raising money in its site. Total crowdfunded money raised on its site reportedly amounts to $27,000.
How does its crowdfunding work? “If you don’t meet your (targeted financial goal), we don’t get anything. If somebody meets her financial goal, we get 5% (commission),” she said.
Quarterlette’s Rachel and Emily talked about its online community for women in their quarter life. It provides a platform for women as they navigate their careers and relationships. It comes with stories and ideas—what the two said is content with intention. “We give voice to every woman around the world… with each writer having her own page.”
Published three times weekly, the startup aims to extend its brand by working with affiliate stores, doing network events and jumping into publishing. Content is curated. It goes to an editor. “Articles stay a few weeks on the homepage.”
Last presenter was Dreamers // Doers. It aims to become a startup studio–incubator for women. It is currently developing an app.
After the startup presentations, AlleyNYC’s VC guests provided some VC advice:
· VCs look for domain expertise (“Better prove yourself if you don’t have traction”) (“People you surround yourself with speaks to character of founder”)
· Against strong competition: Understand competitive landscape, how you stack up against them. Find out how many customers are there and how much value is there
· Contacting VCs, what they do: Follow up with reference calls to your customers. Important to research before you email VC. Personalize the email. Warm introduction is the best
· When to get funding: Without sales, engagement level on your business should number about 50,000 people
· How much is the value of your company? It’s a question of what space you are in. Be wary of early adopter. You have to ask where the growth is coming from