There is a great article in the New Yorker about Ida Tin, the founder of Clue. As more women, like Ida, rise to the top of the start-up world, the conversations and willingness to invest in ventures like Clue will change.
Even how I was introduced to Ida says something. In the fall of 2013, my daughter Jessica was living at home before moving into her apartment, and she showed me the Clue app. Told me she loved it and was turning all her friends on to it. That was the first thing that struck me. There are many of these period tracking apps out there but she zeroed in on this one so I knew that there had to be something there.
That particular day I met with a few VC’s who all asked me if I had heard of or seen Clue. That maybe it was for me because she was a woman. First of all, I invest in businesses I believe in and make a conscious decision to back women but it is as if every VC thinks if a founder is female even though they would not touch the business, they think we will send it to Joanne. So over the course of one day, I heard about Ida from more than a few people and it was my daughter who really got me interested.
I connected with Ida and we skyped for an hour. She is located in Berlin. I was beyond impressed with her and the vision she set forth. I invested and I believe I was one of the first to say yes. Fast forward, I spent a lot of time with Ida and Hans (her co-founder) over the next few years.
I usually don’t touch areas that are super crowded but the reality is that Ida was the only female founder in a crowded area of period trackers. Sometimes a woman at the helm makes the most sense based on the product and in this case, it makes absolute sense.
It has been frustrating for Ida and plenty of other women I know and have invested in to get the other side of the table (mostly men) to invest in their businesses. I am talking about businesses that have traction, ample sales, and solid month over month growth. The frustration level for all of them is high particularly when they see their male counterparts get funded with less proven data but perhaps more bravado.
I do feel that we are seeing a shift. There might be a lot of bro-cultures out there in some of the start-ups that have growth to be quite large but there is a lot of companies like Clue that are flying under the media radar that are going to be big winners. Those winners will be the key to change when it comes to investments, gender diversity, females at the helm and more in the years to come. I am seeing it and it is about time.
And did I mention that Ida has had two children while building her company?