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Man! I Feel Like a Woman! (Women Playing The Startup Game)

By Lisa Suennen (Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Psilos Group) Back in July 2011, Vivek Wadhwa, a highly regarded entrepreneur, author and academic, wrote an article describing five myths about entrepreneurs. Among the five myths he sought to debunk was that women are less-suited than men to succeed in the technology and/or venture-backed economy.

Among all the “myths” in Wadwha’s piece, this was one that set off a cacophony of response in peHUB, with some claiming that women are treated just as well as men and a few reaffirming how different women’s experiences can be.

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How Deal with Two Women Points to a Different Silicon Valley

By Chris O’Brien (Business & Technology Columnist, San Jose Mercury News) Something happened last week in Silicon Valley that was remarkable simply because nothing about it was remarkable. Well, almost nothing. On Monday, a stealth startup announced it had raised $7.3 million from a prominent venture firm. The deal hinged on the long-term relationship between the founder, a serial entrepreneur, and a venture capitalist who has become a leading figure in e-commerce startups. They had worked together in the past and had become cornerstones of each other's networks over the past decade.

In other words, it's the kind of thing that happens every day in Silicon Valley -- except for one crucial detail: They're both women.

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We Need A Black Zuckerberg or Jackie Robinson of Startups

By Hadiyah Mujhid (Co-Founder, BlackFounders) When I first met my mentee 3 years ago, the first thing that she said was, “I’m so happy that you’re black!” This was an hilarious moment for the both of us. She later explained that when her social worker mentioned that mentors were volunteers, she associated volunteering with white people. And that she was happy to have someone that looked like her -- a black female.

Accelerating the success of minority groups in the tech startup community is part of the work that NewMe Accelerator and BlackFounders are doing through connecting, equipping, and creating visibility. But this is just a start, and currently blacks’ exposure to startup networks are still limited.

The entire startup community needs to understand how diversity can effect innovation, which can impact profit margins.

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Why Are Women Venture Funded Less than Men?

By Pemo Theodore (Founder, EZebis) I spent 5 years in London trying to raise funding for my online matchmaking business, and in the end had to admit failure. Very early on in that journey, I had committed to help women source venture when I was successful. As it turns out, I have been doing just that for the last year -- not because I was successful but because I failed.

I have been video interviewing venture capitalists, angel investors and women founders on the shortfall in funding for women. My goal has been to listen to as many people as I could from both sides of the table, so I could hopefully determine where all these conversations intersected.

The Unequal Landscape

The financial industry was created by men and it has been revealed over the last few years that they didn’t do such a great job with that. Women still are not generally paid as high as men. Despite growth, the average revenues of the majority of women-owned businesses were still only 27% of the average of majority men-owned businesses.

The statistics for women entrepreneurs achieving funding are very low: 3-5% get venture funded, less than 10% even if you expand that to include the entire team and any of the co-founders. Around 16% women achieve angel capital, according to a whitepaper by Illuminate Ventures. Data shows that the percentage of dollars going into women led companies have actually declined by about 30% over the last 10 years. Is there a bias at work in the culture that keeps women disadvantaged as regards finance?

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What the Startup Genome Means to Female Founders: Very Little

By Kaitlin Pike (Marketing & Community Manager, Web 2.0 Expo) Since it was released just two weeks ago, the Startup Genome report has inspired hundreds of blog posts, articles and discussions about the “science” behind successful startups and the causes of business failure here in Silicon Valley.

While the team behind the Startup Genome still has miles of analysis to wade through (including information from their new updated survey), they’ve already put together a number of summaries about the data including their post on VentureBeat -- The 7 signs of failure for internet startups and 14 key findings on their own blog. Here is a quick flavor of what the report authors are saying:

  • “Founders that learn more are more successful.”
  • “Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5x more money.”
  • “People who work half time are able to raise money, but ~24x less than founders who go full time.”

As startup business folks, we’ve learned to rely on data, data, and more data to test, plot, and move forward with our ideas, so it’s only natural a report of this nature has sparked such fervent interest. It’s also generated a significant amount of (hopefully helpful) criticism.

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Data 2.0: On Openness & Participation

By Emily Goligoski ("In Conversation" Video Producer, Women 2.0)

Among the many information discussions at Data 2.0 this week, we recognized:

It's important to focus on citizens’ responsibilities not just as voters, but as information advocates. The conference at UCSF started with a comparison of different cities’ offerings (with SF celebrating census data mashups, NY offering a way to filter the city’s checkbook, and Chicago bringing transparency to government contracts). The core theme? Much of this information wasn’t consolidated with public consumption in mind, and it's up to citizens to start optimizing it for public usage.

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