Lauren Flanagan is one of the first female technology entrepreneurs to make the leap to fulltime Angel and VC investing – her portfolio now including some 40+ female-founded and led companies across her two funds – BELLE Capital USA and Phenomenelle Angels.
Lauren shares her optimism and excitement about the growing potential for female founders, and what we bring to the table that is truly game changing – whether taking moonshots to solve big societal problems like climate change or bringing values of integrity and empathy to the table. She says companies that have that ethical and evolved backbone outperform those that don’t, and points to research showing that public companies with women on their boards outperform those that do not.
We talk about how to qualify and find alignment with a prospective investor and why taking angel and VC money is like “marriage”. She says many female entrepreneurs make the mistake of pitching anyone without first doing their homework to see if it is a good fit, and figuring out win-wins, for instance how your company can add value to another one of the VCs portfolio companies.
Here are some of Lauren’s tips for female entrepreneurs:
- Qualify Your Investors: Do as much due diligence on them as they do on you. Understand that it’s like a marriage – so you have to make sure you both share the same vision. Talk to other companies in the VC’s portfolio, and seek out companies also that failed, and understand what its like to work with that investor when things are going badly, because once you take the money, it’s not really your company any more.
- Know Your Numbers, Inside and Out: And if you don’t know, get coached, get into the right ecosystems and accelerators so you can learn how to talk to investors and what they are looking for. And know what you need: Not just to raise, but what you can keep.
- Integrity and Ethics Are Valuable: Companies that operate in an evolved, conscious and ethical way tend to outperform those that do not. “I think it really comes from the founder's core values, mission and ability to hire people like … To fill the need that they need, that have those like values and the like mission.”
- Great Culture Attracts Talent: It’s hard for startups to attract top talent when they are competing against the massive salaries offered by Google and Facebook. Lauren got around that with her companies by creating a great culture – and create interesting and challenging work to attract top engineers. “You know 20 years later that WebWare was the favorite place they ever worked. Because they loved the team so much, that it was so interesting and they were lifelong friendships made there,” says Lauren of one of her startups.
Zero Limits Ventures: Valuation Enhancement and Capital Acquisition Strategies
Read the full transcript here:
More about Lauren here: https://BelleVC.com
How to Find Lauren on Social Media:
Follow Lauren on Twitter @LFlanagan