Working hard at becoming entrepreneurs. Photo: Courtesy of Marie Claire
I first read about this trend months ago when I came across an article about PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel’s project, “The Thiel Fellowship” that pays students, age 23 or younger, $100,000 to skip or stop college to work on launching a new business.
AN IMPRESSIVE LIST OF NAMES comes up when this topic is discussed.
WHAT’S MISSING IN THIS LIST?
It takes two seconds to figure this out: they’re all men! This elusive club has males that have garnered lots of publicity. So it’s high time we took a close look at female-led startups with national brand recognition that are founded with females having MBAs from Harvard or Stanford. Take a look.
Birchbox features health and beauty products – to receive a curated box of samples costs $10 per month
BUT TIMES ARE CHANGING FOR FEMALE FOUNDERS
An article in Marie Claire, February 2018 titled Code > College by Diana Kapp, discusses the bad press the tech industry has received recently and the dearth of female-founded companies with venture capital backing. This has encouraged corporations and funders to respond with a slew of women-friendly offerings. “If you are a strong woman with a strong business idea, you won’t have a problem,” says Jenny Lefcourt of Freestyle Capital.
FEMALES TRADING IN ACADEMIA FOR STARTUP LIFE
Case Study #1
Lucy Guo, now 23, never intended to drop out of Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. But a paid summer internship at a startup after her freshman year sparked a revelation. “Maybe I’d rather just make money than pay money.”
Post-internship she had product-design roles at Quora and Snapchat where she was making six figures. She met a former colleague who dropped out of MIT and, together they pitched an idea that evolved into Scale, a site that enables companies to outsource low-skill tasks. They pitched this to a venture capitalist, Paige Craig, who came through with $100,000.
Case Study #2
Stacey Ferreira is a 25-year-old who runs Forge – an app that allows hourly workers to set their schedules. This is her second company. She launched her first in 2011, and shortly after, received an email from Richard Branson that said, “Enjoy intimate cocktails with me in Miami for $2,000 to charity.”
She went with her brother, borrowed money from her parents and joined the group at Virgin’s swank 25th anniversary party. Within a week Branson gave their creation, MySocialCloud $1.2 million. They sold it to Reputation in 2013 and pitched a third concept, which raised $2.6 million in seed funding in January 2016.Shaun Nelson-Henrick
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