Some companies should have a woman at the helm
There are companies that can be run by women or men but there are just some companies that backing a woman entrepreneur makes sense. It isn’t to say that there should not be men involved because there should be. Gender balance in any company is key. Yet sometimes the essence of the company should have someone leading it that literally breathes the product.
At the end of 2013 I invested in Clue. Today Clue is a period and ovulation tracker. It is the fastest growing app in the second biggest category of health apps. They have over 1.2 million users across the globe on both Android and iPhone. I use the word “today” because Clue is starting to reinvent women’s healthcare. There is a woman at the helm in this company, Ida Tin who is not only a big picture thinker she is also a solid CEO and has managed to get pregnant twice using her own product.
When I first invested in Clue, Fred wanted to know why I would invest in a space that was pretty crowded. One of the competitors was Glow that had huge capital behind it and a group of seasoned entrepreneurs including Max Levchin. I just stated that when it comes to this category, I believe a woman should be the brains behind it. He paused and said “you are absolutely right”.
About 75% of the investments I have made are companies led by women entrepreneurs. I can’t imagine a few of these companies being led by men. Fundamentally it makes sense for the leader to not only be drinking their own Kool-Aid but using it too.
Hop Skip Drive, a ride service for families, is another example. The company was just written up in the NYTimes. Three women who were spending more time concentrating on how to get their kids from location to location be it school, after school activities or just a playdate. Joanna McFarland, one of the three women behind Hop Skip Drive, launched this to make their lives easier. They understand the needs of the families where safety and trust is number one. There is another competitor in SF called Shuddle that is well funded and started by two young men. Only one of the co-founders is there now but to me this is a female driven business (no pun intended).
There are a few more. Naja, a lingerie company with a social mission. All the products are made by women in Columbia and that gives those women a paycheck to feed their families and send their kids to school. Vixxenn selling quality hair extension products for women. TheBolde, life and love conversations for millennial women. Hey Gorgeous, fashionable women’s clothing for size 8 and up. Willa, natural skincare line for teens and tweens. Dailyworth, financial and career advice for women. Union Station, bridesmaid shopping and more. Loverly, wedding inspiration.
Sometimes…it not only takes a woman, it needs one too.