Fylí, a Network as a Service (NaaS) company for early-stage female founders, has partnered with UBS Global Wealth Management to host this Own your worth Salon series, most recently on The Ned Nomad in Manhattan.
Early-stage founders met with successful investors at the Own Your Worth event hosted by Fylí and UBS Global Wealth Management the other night in Manhattan. They met not to discuss how to better tailor their pitches to male investors, but to build alternative networks that connect female entrepreneurs with female investors.
The Own Your Worth event in New York, the second stop on a four-city tour, began with opening remarks from Fyli CEO Jaclynn Brennan on the need to support female founders. Fylí’s mission, she said, is to support and empower early-stage female founders and help them get the resources they need to thrive in a male-dominated world.
Most venture capitalists are men, who invest relatively little overall in companies founded by women. Every year since 2011, around 2% of total VC investments go to companies founded by women. That totaled $6.4 billion in 2021, out of nearly $330 billion in total VC investments. Minority female founders have had even less success in persuading male VCs to invest. But women entrepreneurs don’t have to wait for Sand Hill Road’s female equivalent. Early-stage companies like those who work with Fyli often have modest financing needs. Women investors can make a positive impact by investing in women-owned companies, Brennan said.
“It’s not always about writing a check for millions of dollars,” she said. “For early-stage founders, it can be a check for $25,000 or $50,000.”
A panel discussion moderated by HerMoney’s Kathryn Tuggle, including Annie Evans, founder of Dream Ventures; Andrea Walne, general partner at Manhattan Venture Partners; Asher Jay, CEO and Founder of IncOperate; Deanna Brown, an early-stage investor from Austin, Tx; and Bianca (Benedetti-Fang) Wood, Director and Field Engagement Manager for the UBS Business Owners Client segment. It seemed clear that the women investors, who are as supportive as they are profit-oriented, want to invest in companies founded by women.
Barbara Roberts, Entrepreneur in Residence, Columbia Business School and Hofstra University, delivered the closing keynote, drawing from her own experience and research on women entrepreneurs. Female founders tend to build companies that are more people-centric — employees, customers, suppliers — than is typical of male founders, she said.
Roberts interviewed eight successful female entrepreneurs for a white paper on female entrepreneurs. While each of them was proud of everything they had overcome to be successful, all agreed that they would have encountered fewer obstacles had they been dealing with fewer male decision makers. “They all acknowledged that their paths to success would probably have been less arduous with more women leaders in the various industries they worked in, as well as in finance and real estate,” Roberts wrote.
She reminded the assembled women that prior to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, women could not obtain credit cards, loans and mortgages without a man’s signature on a loan application. Before the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act in 1988, women could not obtain a business loan without the signature of a male relative, presumably their husbands, but a cousin or adult male child would do so as well.
Female investors are gradually building funding alternatives for female entrepreneurs, particularly early-stage companies like those Fyli works with. Roberts sees this trend gaining momentum. Women have a strong tendency to help other women. “As women create more of their own wealth, there is more coming back to female founders, female political leaders and female causes,” she said.
The next Own Your Worth event will be held on November 11th at the Soho Warehouse in Los Angeles and will be focused on the wellness industry. The final Own Your Worth event of the year will be held in Miami on December 2nd and 3rd at the Soho Beach House and Soho Pool House. It will focus on women in art.
Download the digital Own Your Worth program and UBS Own Your Worth report for more information and insights into the partnership initiative.
Peter Page is Contributions Editor at Grit Daily. Formerly at Entrepreneur.com, he began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter long before print journalism had even heard of the internet, let alone realized it was destroying the industry. The years in which he worked as a police reporter have had a major impact on his worldview to this day. Page has a degree of expertise in environmental policy, energy economics, ecosystem dynamics, the anthropology of urban gangs, the workings of civil and criminal courts, politics, the machinations of government, and the art of crystallizing thought in writing.