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Cracking The Venture Capital Glass Ceiling

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The founders of True & Co. put lacy thongs in the swag bags at a mostly male tech conference; their eyebrow-raising approach to launching caught the eye of a few women investors. Is this what it takes to fund women-led ventures?

By Lydia Dishman (Contributor, Fast Company)

On the first day of the D10 conference last week, the (mostly male) attendees dipped into their swag bags and pulled out lacy, yellow thongs. The panty placement was a bold move to bring attention to True & Co., a lingerie e-tailer launching at the conference. But founders Michelle Lam and Aarthi Ramamurthy were placing even ballsier bets on their bra business.

Though its story sounds cut and dried, True & Co.’s experience snagging early stage funding is not all that common for women-owned startups. A report from the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire found that women-owned ventures account for 12% of entrepreneurs seeking angel capital. Of these, only one in four received angel investment during the first half of 2011. Research from the Diana Project indicates that less than 5% of new businesses funded by venture capital have women on the management team (much less as owners), according to Candida Brush at Babson College.

» Read the full article on Fast Company here.