International Women’s Day feels like a good time to share an update on what I’ve been up to since Women 2.0 was acquired last year and I joined the Board of the newly formed entity. Kate and her team have been working hard and gearing up to launch a Talent Marketplace to connect talent with those companies that are consciously building the future.
As for me, I am doing what I have always done: helping smart, talented founders efficiently mobilize the creative, intellectual and financial resources they need to building their startups.
What does that look like these days?
Diversity in product design for startups
I have returned to my roots in Product and joined forces with my talented friends Cesar Salazar and Lulo at 23 Design, a product strategy and design studio. We are a diverse collective of founders, investors, designers and product managers using design to solve problems of growth, monetization, engagement and distribution for growing startups.
I’m loving it. I find myself tapping into my past experiences as a Product Manager and more recent knowledge from building Women 2.0. I’m getting my hands dirty and working side-by-side with founders from Israel, Silicon Valley, New York and Mexico to strategize, design and launch products and brands that speak to an increasingly diverse customer base.
Every day, I’m challenged to drop into the shoes of the founders we work with. We need to quickly understand a new industry and build empathy with users to build and design inclusive, thoughtful products and brands that many types of people love. Our team also brings their own diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives to the product lifecycle and we also ensure that each gender represents at least 40% of our team at any point in time. Designing for diversity means tapping into nuances and understanding user values to build true loyalty. Growth comes from diversity thinking in the product lifecycle - else you end up with diversity debt, among other things that could sink your startup. Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing more on this soon.
Democratizing investment in and funding for startups
Republic, an AngelList sister company, enables startups to raise directly from their users, family, and friends in exchange for equity. This not only creates powerful feedback loops between startup teams and user-investors, but also builds brand loyalty that no amount of marketing could buy. Until Republic and platforms like it, investing in startups in exchange for equity was limited to high-net worth individuals.
Since Republic’s launch, 80% of successfully funded startups on the platform have included female founders, with more in the pipeline. To keep this momentum going, today Republic launched Women @ Republic, an educational event series focused on how you can invest and raise from the crowd. Check it out here. It feels like the future of fundraising and investing has arrived, and it’s tremendously exciting.
Since last year, I’ve met so many diverse founding teams through 23 Designand Republic. Nimble teams, smart problem-solvers, creative builders advancing our increasingly complex world, ripe with problems that need attention. Building and designing their products and getting them funding, this feels like my purpose — sitting in the middle of passion, mission, profession and vocation. Lucky me.
To those founders I’ve had the honor of working with thus far, thank YOU, you inspire me. More ahead.
Happy International Women’s Day and thanks to my friends who read drafts of this post. It takes a village :)