På Twitter faldt jeg over et projekt, der hedder Project Diane. Jeg læste videre på alle Tweets under hashtagget #ProjectDiane, hvor jeg faldt over flere opsigtsvækkende statistikker.
Det var en øjenåbner for mig, at det ikke kun er vigtigt at fokusere på, at der mangler kvindelige iværksættere, men også at de mørke kvindelige iværksættere er endnu mere i undertal, og specielt når vi snakker om at rejse funding til virksomheden. Det er jo et helt problem for sig selv. Jeg synes det kunne være interessant at vide mere om og brede budskabet herhjemme.
Kvinden bag Project Diane, Kathryn Finney, har jeg fået kontakt til og stillet hende nogle spørgsmål (Interviewet er på Engelsk).
1. What made you start Project Diane?
While looking into the role of intersectionality in tech entrepreneurship, we noticed that existing conversations and initiatives on inclusion were focused on either women or black (mostly male) founders. There were no data on black and Latina women founders.
So in February 2015, digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise focused on finding untapped opportunity in underserved markets, launched #ProjectDiane, a proprietary research study, with the aim of disrupting pattern-matching in tech by identifying black women startup founders. We named it in honor of civil rights activist Diane Nash.
2. How many black female founders in tech is there in the US? And how many of them raise investments to their companies?
Black women comprise 4% of the total number of women-led tech startups (~2,200) in the U.S. Our research found 88 black women led startups in the US. We focused on startups that fit the definition of a “startup” as defined by Steve Case.
For those who were submitted in our #ProjectDiane database though, 56% raised outside funding, with the average amount raised by black women founders at $36,000. This amount is less than a third of the lowest average raised for pre-seed funding ($100,000-$500,000 at idea stage) and .01% of the $41 million average raised by companies that exit.
Lastly, only 11 of the founders we have surveyed have raised more than $1 Million in outside investment.
3. Why do you think it is a problem with few black female founders?
The problem is an issue of capital; All founders need capital in order to grow their companies. Despite black female founders being well-educated and extremely entrepreneurial, they remain undercapitalized ($36,000 raised on average by black women vs. $1.3MM raised on average by failed startups in general) and are rarely included in accelerator programs which could have helped develop and fund their startups (only 34% of the Black women-led startups underwent an accelerator program at some point).
4. Who do you think will win if we one day will see more diversity in the rolemodels in tech-founders?
The demographics of both the US and Europe are becoming more “brown” and it’s in the best interest of everyone to make sure these groups are successful.
5. Do you know anything about the issue in others countries in the world compared to the US?
Of course. We live in a borderless world. What happens in one country has an impact on what happens in other countries.
6. Did you start a company yourself? Which company? And did you raise investments to it?
I started my own online media company in 2004, and its flagship brand was The Budget Fashionista. Until its sale to another Midwest media company in 2014, I have opted not to take outside investments.
Currently, I am the Founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (my second company, which started in 2012). We don’t have investors, but we receive grants and awards from agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administrations.