If you’ve been following our startup journey, then you’ll know Sarah’s been hard at work meeting with investors, sharing our story, our vision and why we believe we are building something of value. Fundraising takes a lot of time and energy, but for a business like ours it’s essential. Some businesses can be bootstrapped, but something like Mys Tyler, a social platform that acts like a marketplace relies on a network effect, and requires traction on all sides to be valuable to anyone. For us to build Mys Tyler, and grow the community we needed seed capital. Seed capital is used to “build” a business, compared to future rounds like Series A/B/C and so on, that are used to “scale” a business. It means that we are young and at an early stage.
Today we’re excited to share that we’ve raised $1m of funding. Our investors include @ AntlerGlobal, @ Mirvac Ventures, and amazing angels including Brian Hartzer and some fellow entrepreneurs too. We raised our seed capital using a SAFE note (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) which is becoming a more common instrument for startups. SAFE notes have a number of benefits to a business 1) you can collect money and start using it while you raise - this was critical for us, we raised half last year, and used that money to keep the business going while we raised the rest 2) there is no valuation at this stage, rather you assign investors equity at a future event when a valuation is added i.e. at our next round, but for getting in early they get a discount.
But when we say it wasn’t easy, it really wasn’t. Female founders make up 28% of founders, yet we only receive 3% of the capital. This is a HUGE discrepancy, and Sarah was determined to find out why. There’s been some incredible research into this by entrepreneur turned academic Dana Kanze, who discovered that male founders receive more questions from investors about potential upside, while investors focus on the potential downside when it comes to women. This bias in questioning results in 7x less funding. The good news is that women can learn to switch the narrative with the way they answer questions, and by increasing awareness, we can hopefully encourage investors to calibrate the questions they ask across founders.
We’re so grateful to our amazing investors for giving us the ability to realize our vision, but it’s hard not to think about all the incredible women and ideas that have been overlooked, underfunded and aren’t solving problems today because of BIAS!