Ravindranaththe head of Google Acceleratorin India, says the challenges women entrepreneurs face go beyond funding.
- The ideas for start-ups by female entrepreneurs in tier 1, 2 and 3 cities include healthcare startups, PCOS, agricultural productivity, agritechs that are digital first, Ravindranath says.
Despite the success stories of female-led startups such as Nykaa, The Good Glamm group, MobiKwik and more, India still has few female entrepreneurs – as they face unique challenges, which their male counterparts are not exposed to.
The proof of this lies in the financing figures. According to
a YourStory report, $66.76 billion was raised by startups in the 2018-22 period. Of this, only 6% flowed to startups with female co-founders; and for solo founders, the slice is wafer thin at 0.78%.
A community of female founders
According to Paul Ravindranath, the head of Google Accelerator in India that has been supporting startups for seven years, the challenges women face go beyond funding.
“We surveyed candidates for our accelerators and 48% of female founders said they need a strong mentor to guide them. They are looking for a community to support financiers and a hero story to follow,” he told https://londonbusinessblog.com/ India in an interview.
Ravindranath says the number of female candidates for the program when it started in 2015-16 was 10% of the total number and now 30-35%. This year they are launching a special program for women.
Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders is a three-month mentorship program that empowers stage-agnostic founders and provides technology, user experience, marketing and leadership support.
“The idea is to reduce friction and solve problems that are unique to female founders,” he says. For this year, the program has already received more than 300 applications, of which they will select 20 who will go through the program. Afterwards, a demo day will follow, which is related to a graduation ceremony where they can meet investors, among other things. .
Many of the ideas that come from female entrepreneurs in Level 1, 2, and 3 cities are healthcare startups, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and farm productivity. “There are also a lot of ideas about agritech space that are digital first,” says Ravindranath.
Most of these founders have a business or technical background, in their mid-20s to late 30s, and they want to solve a problem in a big way.
Ecosystem of female founders
The founder of VC firm Kalaari Capital,
female pioneers such as the co-founder of Zilingo Ankiti Bose; and
In May of this year, the Israeli em
bassy worked with IIT Delhi and Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (WEE) Foundation to provide a six-week mentorship program for female founders.
In addition to further training and help in scaling their ideas, the common point of all programs is building a network of peers. One of the founders who had mentored Google is Naiyya Saggi, who founded BabyChakra which was later acquired by The Good Glamm Group.
Now Saggi is a co-founder of unicorn and is a regular contributor to many such forums and Ravidranath says it’s come full circle – she took her idea of turning it into a unicorn and is now guiding others to achieve the same.
“It’s an underrepresented group and more should lead the way,” he says.
The right entrances
In addition to community support, most female founders lack the right input at the right time. The problem with female founders starts at the beginning. “When we asked the female alumni what kept them from applying a year early because they were ready, they said they weren’t ready yet. This does not apply to male founders who start even if they have unfinished projects and hope for the best,” says Ravindranath.
Female founders tend to make sure that they can fully invest themselves and are very aware of the resources available to them before signing up for entrepreneurship. Women also find it difficult to hire co-founders or team members or a technical team and tend to outsource the technical part to an agency.
In fact, many ideas fail in the technical phase and the program intends to build a good foundation before moving on to the financing phase.
The Google Accelerator program aims to help female entrepreneurs with hiring, as well as help with team structure, team positioning and culture. It also plans to help them pitch better, provide them with pitching strategies and turn their ideas into investable companies.
Ravindranath calls it “a slow process that needs to be done” as only 15% of all entrepreneurs are women.
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