Startups: Founding, funding and failures

Written by hilary on the 5th of July, 2021

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We had the pleasure of collaborating with General Assembly on this panel where we asked 3 brilliant SheStarts startup founders about their experiences with founding their startup, funding it, the failures they encountered along the way–and how they overcame them.

We’re so thankful to each of these women for being so honest about their experiences, it was such an inspiring panel:

  • Lucinda Hartley, Co-Founder – Neighbourlytics
  • Danielle Owen Whitford, CEO & Co-Founder – Pioneera
  • Anna Wright, CEO & Co-Founder – BindiMaps

They all agreed that if you’re thinking about starting your own businesses, “ Just do it!”

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Scroll down to see both the 3-minute highlights video .. and the full video. Below the videos, you’ll find links to follow each of the speakers on LinkedIn 👇🏽

Memorable Quotes

Lucinda Hartley, Co-Founder – Neighbourlytics

“The best tech founders are experts in the problem, not necessarily experts in the technology.”

“At Neighbourlytics, we encourage each other to be curious … there’s a culture of no blame. We’re all going to fail, so let’s just be curious about the problem.”

“Our approach was to build relationships with networks, and investors really early … understanding their process, asking them what it would look like to be raised ready from their perspective, understanding their criteria, and staying in touch.”

“And when we did decided to raise, we opened around for a short period of time … having that really intensive period, did force a lot of fast ‘no’s,’ which I think is the next best thing after a yes.”

“I think it’s very easy to feel like you don’t have what it takes. But anyone who’s ever made it was just a really ordinary person who believed in themselves.”

Danielle Owen Whitford, CEO & Co-Founder – Pioneera

“Because I wasn’t a technical person, people didn’t take me necessarily very seriously. And I didn’t take myself seriously … and [SheStarts] actually helped me find the right people to help me answer some of my questions, or at least get me on the right path.”

“At the seed round, you’re not ready for VCs. So, focus your effort on the angel investors, the syndicates, the high net worth individuals if you can find them, because they’re the ones who want to back an early stage idea, an early stage founder.”

“The only failure is not trying … if you look at your startup less as the company succeeds, or the company fails and more as an opportunity just to learn and do a lot of really, really interesting things, then it’s never going to be a failure.”

“Stop waiting for everyone else to like you so much, and like yourself a bit more … and stop worrying that you’re not going to get it right. You’ve just got to start doing something. And once you start, you’ll get a bit of momentum, and you learn from that.”

“If you’re just coming in to startups to be cool, or to make some money, you know, the motivation might not get you far enough. I think if you’re really passionate about a problem that you’re wanting to solve, then just get into it.”

Anna Wright, CEO & Co-Founder – BindiMaps

“My [SheStarts] application went in at four o’clock in the morning, after a lot of thinking about what’s the point of even doing it because I’ve only got it is an idea and no one’s possibly going to be interested in, in my idea for helping people who are blind or vision impaired. get around. But, yes, we got accepted in!”

“I’m quite glad that I had no idea what startup life was really like, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Especially not in the early days, where again, everyone was telling me that I was crazy.”

“I’d say the biggest hurdle or the biggest practical hurdle is to get your lead investor. And once you’ve got that, then you can get let’s get all your ducks in a line, so to speak. But it can be really hard. And it takes a lot of research and a lot of ‘no’s.’”

”If you just, you know, you try to imagine world domination, and then you realise that you’re not going to get there that quickly, it could be really heartbreaking. So I’d say it’s like, you know, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

“Just keep going just back yourself. And I would add that, especially when we’re talking about capital raising, don’t be afraid to just go and ask … sometimes it’s about just getting out of your own way. And just getting out there and being brave.”

Watch the 3-minute highlights

 Watch the full video

Follow the speakers on LinkedIn

Danielle Owen Whitford (Pioneera):

Anna Wright (BindiMaps):

Lucinda Hartley (Neighbourlytics):