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Pitching for investment: giving up a piece of yourself

The objective of the Breakthrough Labs accelerator is to help more female founders get funding. It is at the heart of everything we do in all of our programmes.

Pitching for funding is hard, regardless of your gender or ethnicity. I heard someone say recently that every time a founder pitches, they leave a little bit of themselves behind at the pitch. This is the perfect description of what founders go through while pitching for investment.

Founders have to have a thick skin, separating themselves from their businesses, which seems all but impossible when you have nurtured and built a business from the idea stage. They have to be prepared to hear "no" at least 90% of the time and receive a lot of negative feedback on top of that. Some founders have to deal with uncomfortable personal questions and commentary on their qualifications or suitability to run their business. They might be ghosted by investors or told that they are going to fail.

Founders have to be resilient, reaching inside themselves to find the strength to persevere and calling on people around them to build them back up again. This is why the focus on community at Breakthrough Labs is so important; we want our female founders to be part of a sympathetic group of women who are going through the same thing at the same time and can offer support and advice.

Reaching out to investors and researching their individual investment theses is also incredibly time-consuming for founders. We try to take some of this legwork away from our cohorts, bringing together groups of investors who are interested in the types of start-ups we work with. Our research with female founders also indicated that women aren't just looking for any money; they are looking for "the right money". In other words, they want investors who "click" with them, understand their business, and are committed to offering ongoing guidance to help their businesses grow. We are friendly with angel networks and VCs and other investors who not only want to invest in women, but want to help them succeed. What's more, we introduce women to investors who can help them in years to come, as their businesses start to scale.

Our latest newsletter talks about all of the work we do with our cohorts to help them connect with investors and get investment-ready. Register to subscribe and stay up-to-date on all we do for female founders.

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