• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Response to VC CONFESSION: “I Have Doubts Once I Think Of Women Founders Having Kids…”

Jessica_Jackley

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder, Women 2.0)

 

Jessica Jackley is best known as the co-founder of Kiva.org — Currently, she is starting up ProFounder.com to help you raise money for your business from your community.

Jessica has raised funding from over 30 investors for her latest startup.

One of her angel investors questions if female founders should be treated differently. He wrote a blog post titled “Putting Women First”.

Reposted with a new title on BusinessInsider as “VC CONFESSION: “I Have Doubts Once I Think Of Women Founders Having Kids And Being Distracted From Work” — this post has received tons of comments.

Below are responses to “A pregnant founder is going to fail her company”


“I’m busy running said company. I expect to be even busier with not just one but two babies (yes, to be clear, I’m expecting twins) arriving this fall. And as all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest. So, while Paige’s post was intriguing and important, it wasn’t urgent – until it came to my attention that my team was somewhat bothered by it. When they saw one of our investors questioning my abilities as a leader, they were confused and frustrated. And so I am now replying on their behalf as well as mine.”
Comment by Jessica Jackley (Co-Founder & CEO, ProFounder)
– in response to Paige Craig’s blog post “Putting Women First”

“When my sister and I co-founded Magellan [first search engine in 1993] and worked all the hours that g-d gave, when we finally sold the company and Excite gave me a goodbye party, my then 11 year old son came, and when the time came for speeches, he gave one – which started out something like, as he looked around the room with his big blue eyes… “I don’t know if you all realize, if you all realize how hard my mom worked””
Comment by Isabel Maxwell (Founder & President, Maxwell Communications)
– in response to Paige Craig’s blog post “Putting Women First”

“As someone who joined a startup at 5.5 months pregnant, worked up until 3 days before giving birth, and came back full-time 6 weeks later, I would question the assumption that your cofounder will somehow become incompetent due to childbearing. “Working smart” is the new “working long”, and nothing makes you ruthlessly prioritize like having a baby.”

Comment by Cindy Alvarez (Head of Product, KISSmetrics)
– in response to Quora: “Is it wrong to fire an (unvested) co-founder who becomes pregnant at a startup?”

“Parenting creates a laser focus that you didn’t have before. Through parenting I have learned to operate at a totally different capacity. I don’t hesitate to say what I think, because there is not time to do business any other way. Who has time to screw around? Frankly you hear so little from us because we don’t have time to linger on chat boards.”


Comment by Tereza Nemessanyi (Co-Founder & CEO, Honestly Now)
– in response to Paige Craig’s blog post “Putting Women First”

The above photo of Jessica Jackley was taken by Michael Dayah via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

  • http://www.foodspotting.com Seth Andrzejewski

    If you’re going to consider the risk a pregnant founder poses to the success of a startup, then why not fully consider the risks young, single male founders pose – ones that lead to more serious consequences for a startup. No investor bothers to write a blog post on this though.

  • Pingback: The objects of the linkspam gaze (26th April, 2011) | Geek Feminism Blog

  • Amber Shah

    That picture of Jessica Jackley is too perfect. She looks like she’s going to kick butt and I dare any VC to tell her no because she’s pregnant when she’s looking at them like that.

    Seth has a great point that all types of people carry risk. Younger people don’t have much experience, by definition and may be prone to changing careers/industries. Virtually all woman can get pregnant, even if they are not already – so does that mean you should never let one vest or sign a contract, etc? It’s just not realistic to say that you’re not going to deal with this.

    And since you’re going to have deal with it and be inconvenienced somehow, why not just be a decent human being about it? Word gets out about that kind of stuff, and suddenly men AND women are clamoring to work for you. Be an ass, and word gets out about that too…

  • http://www.womensbusinessresearchcenter.org/ Center for Women’s Business Research

    We particularly like the comment by Isabel Maxwell. “Working smarter” is the key to success for most women business owners today, as so many of them are also mothers. We are in awe of the amazing responses to this post. It is a sensitive subject for some, and we applaud all of the women who have given their insight and feedback!

  • Ameera Ahmed

    My boss, who was founder and president of a young marketing company had a baby during my tenure there. It was the best thing to happen to us. She was already a good manager, and knew how to get the most productivity out of us. When she went into labor, she continued texting us throughout her labor. Our team stepped up to the plate, managing each other and ourselves, in the same fashion as she would. Afterwards, she became an even better boss. I now tell the male founders of the startups that I have worked on, that having a kid will make them a better manager, and a well-loved boss!

  • Pingback: The False Choice Between Babies And Startups - 85broads - 85 Broads - Forbes

  • Pingback: Women 2.0 - Founding Startups » The False Choice Between Babies And Startups

  • Pingback: Do Investors Really Think Female Entrepreneurs Will Kill Their Companies When They Get Pregnant? | TheGrindstone