“I’m sorry, can you explain why you won’t invest?” I sincerely asked.
“I won’t invest because you pitch like a woman.” said the female Toronto VC.
Raising Money, the Bizarreness of It All, and Pitching Like a Woman
This is a word for word conversation I had just over a year ago as I was trying to raise our seed round in Toronto. To this day, I’m not even sure I know exactly what that means?!? Nor do I take offence to it anymore. In fact, I laugh now as we have raised a total of 4.9M in a year, and guess what — I’m still a woman.
I was also told from others that, “I would not give you a cent!” or how about “Hmm, I don’t think the market is ready.” “Your valuation is crazy. This isn’t the valley.” Blah blah blah.
And, I can tell you it took everything in me to go from pitch meeting to pitch meeting. I was completely crushed and discouraged. However, my last meeting in Toronto was with David Unsworth, a GP at Information Venture Partners. Dave asked me really hard questions, drilled me on my numbers, and I answered them honestly. He responded with, “You are a bit early, but let’s keep in touch.” I could tell the way he said it, he meant it. He was respectful, kind, and ambitious. I did keep in touch, and even though he didn’t invest in our Seed Round, he did end up leading our 4.2M Series A not even 365 days later. And guess what? I did that while “pitching like a woman.”
So to my fellow entrepreneurs in the process of raising money, you are going to get knocked down, you are going to feel discouraged. So be tough, shut up, and get up because running a startup isn’t for the weak hearted. It is just a part of putting yourself out there.
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