Geri Stengel's blog

Growing Companies Have Financing Alternatives

Jamie Kent needed money to grow Yoga Download. But she didn’t qualify for the bank loan she wanted and she didn’t want to give up equity to investors. She found another solution — revenue-based financing from Lighter Capital.

Kent started Yoga Download in 2007 to provide yoga that was more affordable and accessible. Someone on the beach or at home could have access. Initially, she provided audio downloads that could be played on an iPod or MP3 player. But when online technology advanced and streaming video became common place, she knew she had to offer video because her competition was. But producing video was much more expensive.

To read all of Growing Companies Have Financing Alternatives go to Forbes.com.

10 Life Lessons For Getting Where You Want To Go

The meteoric rise to the top is a nice story but it doesn’t match reality. Obstacles overcome and setbacks endured are part of every success. It is out of these experiences that life-lessons are learned. I had the good fortune to meet Gillian Zoe Segal at a dinner party. She shared with me her book, Getting There: A Book of Mentors. I’ve summarized some of the lessons that the women entrepreneurs Segal interviewed learned on their rise to the top.

To read all of 10 Life Lessons For Getting Where You Want To Go got to Forbes.com.

Brands Hear Women Entrepreneurs Roar

Target women entrepreneurs and profit
Look out marketers, there is a revolution coming! Women with money, power and influence are tired of having their needs ignored. Consumer-product companies don’t seem to get it and business-to-business vendors are even more clueless.

Faith Popcorn, futurist, author of EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women, and founder and CEO of marketing consulting firm, Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve,  thinks there’s a huge pot of gold waiting for companies that meet the needs of women entrepreneurs. No surprise, I couldn’t agree more. A vast majority – 79% — of women will try a brand that supports women-owned businesses, according Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the leading certifier of women-owned businesses that sell to corporations and large government organizations.

Read all of Brands Hear Women Entrepreneurs Roar on Forbes.com

How Crowdfunding Is Closing The Funding Gap

There’s no doubt about it: Women entrepreneurs face more obstacles than their male counterparts raising money, but some women are finding that crowdfunding is a way around those obstacles.

Stand Out In the Crowd: How Women (and Men) Benefit From Equity Crowdfunding, research I just completed, finds that the successes of pioneering women entrepreneurs show the way to financing that will work well for other women who are starting and growing companies.

When I started the research, I thought I would focus only on women entrepreneurs marketing their securities via crowdfunding platforms. But there were larger stories.

Read all of How Crowdfunding Is Closing The Funding Gap on Forbes.com.

Is Tennessee The New Hotspot for Women Entrepreneurs?

Look out California and New York, Tennessee is on the rise and it’s attracting women entrepreneurs with really interesting businesses. Launch Tennessee’s (LaunchTN) is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee. An impressive 30% of graduates from its recent masterclass, which draws from nine accelerator programs across the state, are female founders.

Lucy Beard moved from Silicon Valley to Chattanooga. Her company, Feetz, is a ‘Digital Cobbler’ that uses  3-D printing technology to make custom shoes and delivers them within 7 days. She just raised $1.25 million  from Khosla Ventures, which led the investment round, and was joined by Chattanooga-based JumpFund and former Reebok Inc. Chief Executive Uli Becker.

Read all of Is Tennessee The New Hotspot for Women Entrepreneurs? on Forbes.com.

How to Get The Attention Of Investors In-person And Online

Getting the attention of your audience is the only way you can ask someone for something. When the stakes are high, as they are when you are pitching investors for raise money your business, you can’t afford to be less than perfect.

Imagine my delight when I bumped into Sam Horn at SXSW. She’s a presentation coach, pitch consultant, intrigue expert who also works with women participating inSpringboard Enterprises , an accelerator program for women-led technology, media, and life sciences businesses. I was even more delighted when she told me about  her new book, Got Your Attention?: How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone.

Read all of How to Get The Attention Of Investors In-person And Online on Forbes.com.

Clear Purpose Drives Entrepreneurial Success

Women control 80% of all consumer purchases but, with so many media options, reaching female consumers has become increasingly difficult. As a marketer for a large corporation, Aliza Freud recognized this as a major pain point. In 2007, she launched SheSpeaks’ to help brands better understand female consumers and what motivates them.

Shespeaks’ started attracting a lot of influential female bloggers. These women wanted to amplify their voices and spread their opinions far and wide. The company pivoted when Freud realized that she could not only provide insights from influencers but could use them to the spread the word about products and services they liked. In an industry that doesn’t stand still — and these days what industry does? — Freud has learned the importance of adaptability. She’s built adaptability into the DNA of her company and yet stays committed to its original purpose — understanding what women want and sharing their insights with others.

Read all of Clear Purpose Drives Entrepreneurial Success of Forbes.com.

Photo credit: Tracy Paul & Company And LA’s Blogger Elite Host A Multi Brand Press Preview In West Hollywood

What's Ellen Pao Got to Do With Crowdfunding?

Ellen Pao, former venture capitalist and now CEO of Reddit, lost her gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. However, “even with her loss in the case, Ms. Pao’s suit succeeded in prompting debate about women in technology and venture capital,” said Deborah Rhode, in The New York Times. Rhode is a law professor at Stanford University. “This case sends a powerful signal to Silicon Valley in general and the venture capital industry in particular. Defendants who win in court sometimes lose in the world outside it.” Traditional and social media are keeping the heat on this story.

It’s not just Silicon Valley, venture capital or technology where gender bias lurks. It’s everywhere. After a year and quarter’s worth of data, it’s clear that women are sitting on the sidelines of raising money publicly through equity crowdfunding and not participating, even to the degree that they do in raising money offline from angel investors. Equity crowdfunding was suppose to level the playing field for women and other underrepresented groups, but it is not living up to its promise.

Read all of What's Ellen Pao Got to Do With Crowdfunding? on Forbes.com.

How Lean Startup Can Work For Brick-And-Mortar Stores

If it breaks, someone needs to fix it. The rising popularity of expensive, damage-prone smartphones has made cell phone repair a big business — $1.4 billion in the United States alone, according to IBISWorld’s Cell Phone Repair market research report. These devices have fragile LCD touchscreens, inaccessible batteries and other breakable parts that make them more susceptible to damage and more in need for repair. The industry is highly fragmented and small operators dominate.

Lauren Fairbanks and her partner, Alex Mouravskiy, recognized an opportunity. This is where they wanted to make their mark.

Read all of How Lean Startup Can Work For Brick-And-Mortar Stores on Forbes.com. 

Connectional Intelligence Helps Crowdfunders Succeed

Connectional Intelligence is the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning. It is the secret sauce for crowdfunding success.

The book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence by Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole Joni explains how connectedness give us the power to solve big problems, turn dreams into realities, create products and much more. The women I interviewed for Stand Out In the Crowd: How Women (and Men) Benefit From Equity Crowdfunding, have connectional intelligence.

Read all of Connectional Intelligence Helps Crowdfunders Succeed on Forbes.com.



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