Way back in 1984—Remember back then? When ghosts were getting busted and feet were getting loose on the dance floor?—an innovative mastermind named Michael Dell started a revolution when he began building and selling personal computers from his dorm room. That same year, scientist Rachel Zimmerman created a pioneering software, making it much easier for people with physical disabilities to communicate. That’s how it works, right? A genius creates something that’s, well, genius and—wham, bam!—world domination. But from venture-funded triumphs to Fortune 500 mega hits, an idea doesn’t become a billion-dollar success without some serious hustling. Today, let’s celebrate businesswomen, those enterprising groundbreakers who are getting it done through a whole lot of sleepless nights and plenty of Starbucks runs.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than $17 Billion
A bevy of these entrepreneurial boss ladies are millennials. Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. Despite the stereotypes that millennials only excel at that golden-hour selfie, data is proving otherwise. In fact, according to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, millennial entrepreneurs—or “millennipreneurs”—have already outperformed their baby-boomer parents, with this generation of entrepreneurs’ net worth now topping $17 billion! Millennials are starting more companies and leading more people, aiming for high profits and delivering the goods!
WOMEN TO WATCH: Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut, Founding Partners of SoGal Ventures
We all know women entrepreneurs don’t simply waltz into funding, support and prosperity, despite the evidence that startups are more successful when women are on board. Founders—and funders—have long predominantly been of the male variety—that is, until now.
Today’s Women to Watch are the perfect example of how dedicated ladies are shaking up the funding game. Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut are the founding partners of SoGal Ventures, which is redefining the next generation of diverse founders and funders. Making history as the first female-led millennial venture-capital firm, SoGal Ventures is definitely not the typical VC company. Fostering a funding community that encourages diverse teams has catapulted SoGal into global territory, with Pocket and Elizabeth investing in entrepreneurs not only in the U.S., but also in Europe and Asia.
These funding powerhouses have backgrounds in the business and funding worlds. Prior to founding SoGal Ventures, Pocket worked with startups in Southeast Asia and China, as well as the United States, experience that gives SoGal a real-world advantage in understanding the needs of non-U.S. startups. And Elizabeth is no stranger to making history. During business school, she founded the first student-led VC firm at Johns Hopkins University.
So, why did these successful businesswomen decide to put their money where their gender is? It started in 2014, when Pocket learned that between 2011 and 2013, only 2.7 percent of venture capital was invested in women CEOs. That dismal statistic just didn’t sit right with Pocket. So, she decided to make a difference by personally supporting female entrepreneurs.
From a company that specializes in at-home health testing to one that re-envisions batch coffee brewing and a biz that gives workout lovers access to the largest community of fitness studios in Singapore, SoGal has invested in dozens of diverse startups the world over.
Disrupting the VC landscape starts with real dialogue. That’s why Pocket and Elizabeth launched an annual conference for diverse millennial entrepreneurs called the SoGal Summit, so founders and funders can collaborate and embolden each other. With their millennial perspective, they have grown a comprehensive conference series to include startup competitions and boot camps, as well as gatherings for influencers, business pitchers and more.
Pocket and Elizabeth believe we are stronger when we embrace and exhibit our differences. And we couldn’t agree more. Count us in for the SoGal movement!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Whether applied to your business or simply your life, take this advice from Pocket Sun:
“Your time is best spent on using your difference and making impact.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.