Crypto: How to get funding for your tech startup

·4 min read

Watch: Women of Web3: Funding tips and how not to undersell your startup | The Crypto Mile

Female entrepreneurs who want to entice new venture capital funding for their tech start-ups wanting to cash in on web3 face an overwhelmingly male-dominated environment. Yahoo Finance speaks to a leading female voice in the industry to get her advice.

A study by the firm Crypto Head suggested less than 5% of crypto-entrepreneurs are women, while women-founded web3 technology firms account for only 2% of venture capital funding, and out of 121 leading crypto companies, only five were founded by females.

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On this week's episode of The Crypto Mile, we speak to Lauren Ingram, founder of podcast and community Women of Web3, for tips on how to access funding, and ways to redress this gender imbalance.

The one piece of advice that Ingram emphasises for women wanting venture capital investment is to always ask for more money.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance's The Crypto Mile, she said: "I would say ask for more money, whatever the number is you were going to ask for, ask for more than that.

"Because, what I am hearing from investors in my wider network is that women are asking for really specific amounts, they've done their homework, but they've been probably quite cautious with their numbers."

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The founder of Women of Web3 added: "It is always worth asking for more in the first place because the bigger the number you are asking for, the more seriously you will be taken."

Ingram added that recruiters are telling her that there is still a low amount of women applying to roles in the web3 sector, that encompasses blockchain tech, crypto, the metaverse and AI.

"Recruiters tell me they are having between 1% and 10% women applying for these roles, which is really low", she explained.

She wants to help bring attention to female role models in the space: "to begin with there are not enough female role models in web3. Our weekly Women of Web 3 podcast highlights the women doing really cool things in web3 and in crypto".

She says women need to see other women become successful in web3: "if you can see it, you can be it", she says.

But she described the complex jargon used in the crypto and web3 sectors as an obstacle.

She said: Web3 needs demystifying, "as so much of it is enshrined in this really unnecessarily confusing language, jargon and even a lot of slang, I think women tend to be more put off by that level of confusing language, leading women to say maybe this isn't for me."

According to Angela Walch, a research associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, the cryptocurrency industry reflects the larger tech and finance sectors, with regards to gender representation.

Speaking to Reuters, Walch said: "As crypto becomes more mainstream, it is important to have diverse perspectives in creating and running the systems so that better decisions can be made.”

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Ingram highlighted the need for crypto and web3 companies to begin addressing the gender balance in their companies now, as the more they scale up the harder it will become.

She added: "We are already starting to see web3 companies and big crypto exchanges already having big diversity issues, so they have to retroactively try and address that, in quite a concerted way.

"I think that will continue to be the case, if they don't manage to bring in more women right now into leadership positions, they're going to have a severe diversity issue further down the line."

Gracy Chen managing director at Bitget crypto-derivatives exchange also acknowledged the difficulty for female entrepreneurs when attempting to attract VC funding.

Speaking to Forkast news Chen said that her main struggle in securing funding for her business was venture investors saying that they would not plan to invest in women entrepreneurs, especially those who are married but without children.

But, this is something that venture capital should reconsider, as according to a 2019 study by PitchBook, startups founded by women outperform those founded by men.

The data from the 2019 study reinforced a “correlation between hiring female decision-makers at the investment level and outperformance at the fund level".

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