Women startup founders struggle to raise funds; woes shared at a summit in Bengaluru
A woman entrepreneur was asked whether her husband had given permission to seek the loan when she went to the bank.
BENGALURU: From convincing investors to invest in their startups to managing initial capital and securing bank loans, entrepreneurs face many common fundraising challenges, and these struggles are even more so if a woman start-up founder wants to scale up her venture.
Speaking at Inclusive Innovation: Journey of Women Founders session at the G20 DIA (Digital Innovation Alliance) Summit held recently in Bengaluru, women start-up founders shared their struggles to raise funds and how their family support helped them overcome those challenges.
Nivedha RM, founder of Bengaluru- based Trashcon, said though Indian investors are amazing there is a lot of risk aversion among them. Her technology-first start-up is solving the problem of waste menace. Its patented technology- TrashBot separates waste automatically with minimal or nil human intervention.
"Startups should raise funds at a time when there is no desperate need, to ensure best terms and better valuations," she said.
Goavega simplifies product engineering and Sumana Iyengar leads the start-up with her strategic direction. When she started Goavega, her team was meticulous in terms of saving money and they invested the money back to the company for growth.
"Sometimes your payments do not come on time from your customers and in such cases, you need to be ready with some backup. When I approached a bank that I was associated with for nine years for an OD (overdraft), they asked for collateral, and nobody could pledge their properties," she said, adding that she realised even financial institutions were not aware of government policies for women and entrepreneurs. She stressed the need to create awareness and educate financial institutions too.
Pointing out pain points for women entrepreneurs, she said a woman who seeks loans has to visit banks multiple times and the process takes longer.
Another woman entrepreneur was asked whether her husband had given permission to seek the loan.
Open Financial Technologies is the country's 100th unicorn and Mabel Chacko, Co-founder and COO of the company said inclusion is a great part of the entrepreneurial journey. Rhea Karuturi, Co-founder and CTO at Bengaluru-based floral start-up Hoovu said sustainable choices in businesses do involve a premium cost but there are long-term benefits of it, not only for the environment but also from a business perspective.
These female founders also asked women to follow their dreams and venture out to start their own companies. Post the session, they also launched the edtech white paper at the summit.