J. Kelly Hoey

Because It’s 2015 Edition

I wish I’d heard Prime Minister Trudeau’s “Because It’s 2015” retort to a journalist’s question about “why” he needed to have gender parity in his cabinet before being seated next to a stale, pale and male dinner guest at a startup and investor dinner in Silicon Valley. The guy just didn’t get it — in spite of having a daughter. Still smoking the meritocracy weed of the Valley, he handed over his business card at the end of the dinner and I politely forgot it under my bread plate.

It’s not that difficult to be inclusive when you have a desire to do so (or change is only hard to grasp for incumbents).

Onward, to another subject which clogs the airwaves — startup funding (and more particularly, getting introductions to investors).

An email I received recently from a female founder I didn’t know, seeking investment for an “angel tranche closing soon”, left me cold — and writing a post (“Seeking A Female Investor”) for Inc.com on how to connect with early-stage investors, who also happen to be women. Spoiler alert: we want you to research us first and your research should include networking to get a warm introduction — and the warmer the better. Spoiler alert: there are no fast lanes to relationship building. As I note in the column, the list of resources I assembled from funding platforms to Twitter handles is by no means complete — it’s simply a starting point for your research. Be curious and dig deeper — then tweet me @jkhoey to tell me what other resources you have found. And in case you’re wondering, early-stage investors like myself are not influenced by ‘don’t miss out’ Black Friday’esque emails from founders seeking funding. We’re seeking quality deal flow not urgent deal flow. Shout-out to Dreamers & Doers, a community of over 3,000 high-achieving, entrepreneurial women for living up to the dreaming AND doing mantra of the community. I put out the call for pitches for my Inc.com column, and members have delivered, without an “am I expert enough?” hesitation. Follow the adventures of Felicia Schneiderhan, an entrepreneur from Berlin who is recruiting and building the tech team for her startup in Bangkok. Learn how social entrepreneurs Olivia Byanyima and Shanley Knox are transforming the $32 Billion artisan products industry with a cow horn. And on my blog, I’ve recently posted interviews with Bijal Shah, founder of Insaan Hoon; Millennial Finance Expert, Stefanie O’Connell; and Denise Hewett, founder of Scriptd. Massive kudos to Dreamers & Doers for stepping up to share your expertise and for only talking about the products, services and companies you are building. You too can pitch me your entrepreneurial or startup or small business story — but read this post I wrote on Inc.com on how to effectively pitch the media first. As I’ve said before and will say many times again, that your startup exists or has released an update is not news.

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.


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