Fem-preneurs and Equity Crowdfunding

It’s 2017, and just 17% of startups have female founders. But with equity crowdfunding at play, things are beginning to shift.

As a gender-neutral platform, crowdfunding has the potential to be a catalyst for change in the venture ecosystem. Crowdfunding allows female entrepreneurs like me (and you?) to compete more equitably in funding our ventures and seeing them through to success. In fact, a recent study by consultancy firm PwC and The Crowdfunding Center found that over the past two years, female-led crowdfunding campaigns around the world were 32% more successful at reaching their funding targets than male-led campaigns. This report suggests that the main reason women are leading the way is because crowdfunding itself attracts more women backers than traditional venture capital, where just 7% of partners at the top 100 firms globally are women.

We’re just starting to see how equity crowdfunding is influencing female entrepreneurship. There are still very few funding portals with female founders, but Small Change is helping lead the way.

We may soon see an industry full of Women Women, disrupting the status quo and making the world a better place through innovation.

Songdo Wrap-Up

From June 7-9 this year I attended the New Cities Summit. It was held in Songdo, a smart city built on 600 hectares of reclaimed land southwest of Seoul, South Korea and connected to Incheon International Airport by a 12.3-km (7.6 mile) reinforced concrete highway bridge.

 

The theme Thriving Cities: The Building Blocks of Urban Wellbeing brought together an amazing mix of business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, from all over the world, as well as thought leaders in research, science, the civic sector, the arts, and the media who share a passion for urban innovation.

There were eight of us GUIs (Global Urban Innovators) and each of us gave a short presentation. My fellow GUI’s are really astounding – Devin de Vries, Co-Founder of WhereIsMyTransport; Eyal Feder, Chief Executive Officer of ZenCity; Grégoire Landel, CEO of CityTaps; Teo Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Alt-A, which uses various technologies to make spaces shared by human and vehicle traffic safer and smarter; Euwyn Poon, Co-founder and President of Spin; Victor Splittgerber, CTO of GreenCitySolutions; and Kalpana Viswanath, Co-Founder of Safetipin. It’s worth your time to check out these amazing people and their astounding companies. For me, they were the absolute highlight of the conference.

I also took part in a Breakout Panel – The Crowdsourced City, which focused on citizen involvement in decision-making as a key to building community and promoting empowerment, ownership, inclusion, and pride in cities. The other participants were Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento; Chris Gourlay, Founder & CEO of Spacehive; Hyungsoo Kim, Founder and CEO of Tree Planet; and Mizah Rahman, Director and Co-founder of Participate In Design. The panel was moderated by Neal Gorenflo, Co-Founder of Shareable, who also hosted the Round Table Discussion I was invited to join.

 

And then there was the networking.  Amongst attendees from 50 countries, here are just some of the incredible people I met:

  • Chris Gourlay, Founder and CEO of Spacehive – I’ve been following them for years and it was delightful to finally meet Chris!
  • Jonathan Andrews, Editor of Cities Today
  • Dr. Cheryl Matherly, Vice Provost of Lehigh University, Pennsylvania
  • Alfredo Rodriguez, Strategy Manager at World Design Organization, Montreal
  • Natalie Voland, Presidente, and Vanessa Mueggler,  Directrice des projects at Quo Vadis, Montreal –  2 kickass women. Natalie runs the company of 32 with only one male employee.
  • Frances Pisani, journalist and author at Le Monde
  • Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, Israel
  • Sergei Kamalov, Ph.D. in Economics, Associate Professor, MGIMO University, Moscow
  • And of course Adam and Olivia from the New Cities Foundation, who were such wonderful hosts.

Vote For Change

Last year I spoke on the panel “Crowdfunding for Impact” at SOCAP, the Social Capital Markets Conference. The panel focused on platforms looking at how investment capital becomes social capital – a fitting topic for a conference that bills itself “at the intersection of money and meaning.”

That intersection drives everything we do at Small Change. Which is why I’m so eager and excited to participate in SOCAP17 this October in San Francisco. SOCAP presents an opportunity to deepen the discussion about how crowdfunding can create vibrant communities.

You can help further the conversation around catalyzing impactful – and equitable – neighborhood development. Vote for the Small Change panel proposal, “Using Real Estate Crowdfunding to Build Better Neighborhood Projects,” to be included in this year’s conference. We’ll be speaking about how crowdfunding platforms like Small Change provide accessible investment tools for people to directly participate in building better cities.

Visit the SOCAP site now for more information and vote for the panel! You can vote one time daily before voting closes on June 29.

Seoul Metro

I’m visiting South Korea for the first time for the NewCities Summit, where I’m being honored as a Global Urban Innovator. Seoul is an enormous city with an incredible infrastructure. There’s a lot to love about this city, and the metro is just one of those things. It’s a huge system but amazingly efficient, which is a good thing for a population of 25 million. The stations and trains are spotlessly clean despite the fact that no trash can is to be seen – anywhere. There are also public bathrooms at each station. But the best thing for non-Korean speakers is a brilliant numbering system which not only tells you where you are but in which direction to travel. Platforms are all behind glass and the platform and train doors align exactly. A fanfare plays when each train approaches

and inside the carriage, a different melody announces arrivals.

I’m in love with Seoul’s musical metro.