Like pulling teeth: the female-led company advocating for change in VC funding
Hawaa Budraa and Gina Dorodvand are the co-founders of the world’s first health tracker for your teeth. On a mission to evolve the way that people take care of their teeth, the pair have worked with a team of dental experts, computer vision scientists and designers to develop their dental app uunn.
Hawaa shared her story as part of a special report to mark International Women’s Day from Harper James, a modern law firm purpose-built to support entrepreneurial businesses from start-up to scale-up and beyond.
Female-led start-ups received just 2.3% of VC funding in 2020, according to reports. How can businesses owned by women achieve a stronger and fairer share in the future?
A lot of this comes down to who you are familiar with investing in and seeing success. Most VCs are familiar with a certain demographic and gender of business owners that have resulted in returns, therefore they are most likely to keep being attracted to the same ‘criteria’ of entrepreneurs. This means, for some, it doesn’t come naturally to venture into female-led businesses. To overcome this we need to expose VCs to more women-led businesses and their successes.
As a female entrepreneur, what do you believe the biggest challenges are that you face on a day-to-day basis?
Being a female means you can have less contacts and access to contacts as male counterparts. Often women are not in as many circles or networks, so that adds to the challenge of being a female business owner.
Can you share three tips that might help women accelerate their entrepreneurial growth?
Try not to focus too much on the fact that the entrepreneurial space isn’t always geared towards backing female entrepreneurs. Instead, focus on building your business and creating the proof points of a healthy business that is either breaking even or in positive cash flow. Keep an eye out for individuals (either angels or small business owners) that understand you are looking for SEIS investments.
Try and be SEIS assured, so that when you are looking for funds you can access these types of investors and capital. Build off this capital and you’ll either be ready for more from the same investors and their network to keep supporting your growth or be an investable option for VCs down the line.
What might the Government do to better support female entrepreneurs?
Change the narrative and promote more stories of female businesses, so it is less unknown in the VC space. This will help give more confidence in placing money in these businesses.
Read the other stories in this series: