Look Past The Face
I can’t count the amount of times founders who are not white men have said to me, “I know that if I was a white man that I would have already raised this money and be in a very different place”. What kills me is that I know that it is true too.
Can we ask investors to look past the face and look at the results? One founder, who’s company is growing at a rapid clip with multiple stores had a hard time raising capital. She keeps her cards close to her chest making her hard to read and it made many investors wary of her ability to grow the business. Yet the numbers proved that her leadership and vision worked.
Another founder who has done zero marketing with a pipeline of new major multi-billion dollar customers wanting to get on her software platform has had an insanely difficult time raising capital. It isn’t hard getting term sheets to buy the company at a low valuation but is hard to get VC’s to put capital in. The numbers are there but perhaps her matter of fact authentic attitude makes investors wary.
Another founder who is in an industry that few understand is also finding it hard to raise capital although he is charming, gregarious and black in a very white world, his numbers are impressive.
There are people out there raising “seed” rounds for valuations of companies that have shown nothing and are able to raise capital. Others have been around for awhile that are just beginning to get real traction at the same price so I wonder why an institutional investor would rather put capital into something unproven at the same price of a proven model.
Is it the face, is it the attitude, what is it?