Our Favorite Position Is CEO, Too
The co-founders of theSkimm reveal some of the less than enlightened questions they were asked while fundraising.
By Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg (Co-founders, theSkimm)
We haven’t wanted to write this one.
But yesterday we were interviewed on NPR (!). When we checked the website, we saw this in the comments section from a Gordon:
Wow. So, with a million plus in funding, they produce a *newsletter* that gives me headlines? One can only politely speculate on the techniques they employed to drum up that funding. btw “career” is not pronounced “creer”, ladies.
Thanks for that, Mr. G.
Often times we are asked to talk about what it was like fundraising as two women in the industry. We firmly believe that fundraising is hard for ANY new entrepreneur —man or woman. That being said, we’ve had some interesting experiences along the way.
The Following Things Happened During Fundraising
- We were asked if we shared a bedroom
- We were asked if we had any ‘crazy ex-boyfriends like that girl at UVA’ (the one who was MURDERED)
- We were told to make sure we find time to get married
- We were told (by a very famous feminist) to get a rich boyfriend to fund us
- We were told by a very famous female founder that she got a rich boyfriend and it helped her, when we repeated the story above
- We were asked who writes our sports coverage
- We were asked who we paid to come up with our business plan
- When we finished our round someone Tweeted: “Diligence consisted of: ‘Eh i dunno the one on the left is actually cuter than the one on the right…’”
For the record: The only ‘technique’ used in our raise was a lot of hard work mixed with sleepless nights. We write our own sports coverage. We do not share a bedroom (Skimm B snores).
If you thought all of this was said to us by old men in suits, you are very wrong. Although some of it was. Half of these interactions came from other women.
Amid the huge push right now to support women in tech and for women in tech to help other women rise in the industry, we are incredibly grateful that there are resources for us to grow our network with female mentors. We’ve been amazed by the support system (of both men and women) that has rallied around us.
And we’re sure many people out there probably have stories a lot worse than these.
NEW ENTREPRENEUR LESSON OF THE DAY: Raising money is hard and scary. For men and women. Especially first timers. And people shouldn’t write or say stupid things.
This post originally appeared on theSkimm Tumblr.
Do you, in fact, have your own stories like these?
About the bloggers: Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg are both co-founders of theskimm – a daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day. Prior to this they were both producers at NBC news. Follow them @theskimm.