Female Founders Have No Excuses

Blahblahblah females have it so tough in the startup world. Sucks.

I’m a female co-founder. We had trouble fundraising. We got rejected left, right, and sideways. We had an interview with one of the Top-3 accelerators. The Managing Director told us he didn’t like investing in male-female teams: When they fight, you never really know what level they’re fighting on.

Apparently female team members are a liability. I have a PhD from Stanford. I was a faculty member in Computer Engineering at the University of Sydney. I have long acknowledged that my gender is outnumbered, but not once had I realized it was crippling my company.

We discussed leaving me off the founding team, maybe unofficially designating another team member as co-founder. I was unhappy. I didn’t like being demoted to nonentity.

The problem is, it worked. We raised money whenever I wasn’t in the room.

I wondered if I was selfishly prioritizing my ego over the good of the team. I felt incredibly guilty about holding everyone back. Maybe the investors really were questioning my competence as a female CTO. Maybe they thought I would cause unsavory team dynamics. Maybe I’m a terrible human being.

Here’s something to remember in life: If your reasoning is complicated, it’s almost certainly an excuse.

I was using my gender as an excuse for our fundraising troubles.

pg writes in his essay about female founders: “If your numbers go up steeply enough for long enough, you could have eyeballs on stalks and investors will fund you.”

Our numbers weren’t going up. The smart investors, they knew that the numbers never would go up. That’s why we couldn’t raise more money.

It’s mostly true that white males can walk down Sand Hill Road and raise millions with a penis and a pipe dream. That’s how a lot of dumb stuff gets funded. This is fine for the investors who like watching their fund underperform.

And maybe female founders can’t raise rounds with the same convenience, but those who do rest assured that they’re really onto something.

Those who aren’t, shouldn’t. Not even Barnacle.

The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions of anyone involved with my company.


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