The tech industry as a whole has long been dominated by men and male-led startups. But the tides have begun to shift. More women are beginning to enter the tech industry and launch successful and innovative businesses.
Unfortunately, one challenge female founders have traditionally faced is heavy competition for investing dollars in an oversaturated marketplace. Building a successful business from the ground up requires funds, but learning how to get those funds can be difficult.
Whether you are seeking additional funds are just starting, there are tips and strategies to follow that can help you succeed. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Be authentic and confident in your pitch
Being a woman in a male-dominated field can be intimidating, but it’s extremely important to be confident in who you are and the unique skills you bring to the table. At the end of the day, investors see you as a founder trying to pitch them your idea. Ignore the potential bias that may exist and focus on nailing your pitch. Try not to measure yourself based on your skill level alone and you can contribute to increasing your confidence.
In a more practical sense, provide potential investors with solid numbers and what you’re looking for. Outline a practical plan and where exactly their funds will go towards. Keep in mind that 13% of failed founders cite a lack of funds for their failure. The very first step to gaining the funds you need is being clear and concise with potential investors. They have likely heard many pitches in their life and care less about the fluff, but more about the numbers in your presentation.
Additionally, prepare for the questions investors may ask. The last thing you want is to nail your pitch just to not be able to answer investor questions. Anticipate the weak points your pitch may have and structure answers that can patch those holes.
If you are a new founder, it can be easy to doubt your abilities and skills. For perspective, two thirds of data professionals have been working with data for five or less years. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a terribly large amount of experience. In other words, you don’t have to have many years of experience in your respective field in order to build a career out of it.
Build a portfolio for your work
As a whole, having an easily accessible portfolio of work can give you a leg up on your investor pitches. Sometimes, it’s best to let your work speak for itself, rather than try to explain everything.
Whether your website is strictly for a portfolio of work or for your business, it can help elevate you and your work in the eyes of investors. Additionally, beyond a portfolio of work on a website, bring along any tangible projects you may have.
Female tech leaders can greatly benefit from SEO techniques to drive female visitors to their sites and develop deeper connections with potential visitors. As mentioned, investors want to see as clear of ideas as possible for what their money may be going towards if they choose to fund you. Bringing projects or showcasing your work can put an investors mind at ease and make funding decisions go in your direction.
There are many strategies you can use to help your site grow organically as well, including through creating compelling content that focuses on solving peoples’ problems as it relates to your field, using long tail keywords to personalize that content, and working on improving your call to actions. Additionally, include any noticeable correspondances you have had on this portfolio to stand out even more. They may not know who you are, but if you have worked with someone notable in the past, then those investors may recognize that name.
Create trusted relationships in the tech field
Although the tech industry considers itself to be fairly divided between genders, the data disagrees. In Europe, for example, only 1 female CTO out of 175 raised a Series A or B level of funding in 2018.
Make an effort to attend networking events in your field and utilize platforms such as LinkedIn where you can focus on developing relationships with other female leaders. By attending networking events, you can connect with people you never would have met before, while also learning tips from potentially more experienced industry leaders. Plenty of female leaders have come before you and succeeded in securing startup investments.
Considering how dominated the tech industry is by men, building genuine connections throughout the industry can be a great strategy for female founders. In the FinTech industry, for instance, less than 20% of C-Suite positions are held by women. This is something you should use to your advantage, because most of those women are eager to see that number rise in the near future. Securing relationships with any number of women in leadership positions will therefore open up a lot of doors for you.
Besides actual networking events, you can also utilize online platforms to respectfully contact and request a conversation with these women to see if they can give any practical tips for how they achieved their success. Learning how they managed to find success can give you insight on how to replicate the same success in your own field.
There’s no doubt that the tech field has been dominated by men for years. With the tide finally changing, there is no better time for women to enter tech than now. Be strong and confident in who you are and the skills you bring to the table. There are resources and guides for women available that can help you navigate through the complicated tech industry and secure investments.
At the end of the day, don’t allow the fear of starting your own business hold you back. Take action and secure the funds you need today. There may be steep competition facing you and investor funding is a limited space. Learn how to distinguish yourself and stand out to investors.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.