SheEO and 10.10.10
While in Denver, we were fortunate enough to spend time with the awesome Heather MacKenzie, who wears a number of hats, including volunteering as the Denver City Lead for SheEO, and being CEO Team Lead for 10.10.10.
In a country where only 2.7% of Vc funding goes to startups with female founders, SheEO is doing its part to try and solve this problem. They raised $1000 from each of 1000 women in 100 days, equating to a $1 million fund. They then opened for applications from startups which were female led (female founder or 50% female team), who also had at least $50k in annual revenue.
10 of the startups are then selected to receive the funding as an interest free loan over 5 years, with repayments starting from month one.
But they don’t all get an equal share of the funding. Instead, the 10 female founders have to come together and negotiate which startup should get what amount, and the money can not be equally divided, nor can it all go to one startup.
The companies can each ask for one piece of help each year from the network of 1000 female investors. Plus the network of 10 investees also work together to help one another.
While it is early days, the investee companies’ revenues were quickly up 70% in just the first 90 days.
Now their plan is to raise again every year for 5 years, such that the fund is then self-sustaining perpetual fund. They also plan to expand into more funds across multiple cities in the USA and globally.
Meanwhile, 10.10.10 takes 10 experienced entrepreneurs (they have to have exited for over $5 million), and presents them with 10 “wicked problems” (big global challenges for social good), which they then run through a 10 day “accelerator” program to launch new companies. The program culminates on day 10 with a public demo day. In return, 10.10.10 takes a 4% equity stake in the new businesses created.
The first program produced two successful companies – BurstIQ and Airstream Health. The second program launched 8 new companies.