We had another fantastic Female Tech Founder event last week. Missed it? Here’s your round up!
The event kicked off with a Q&A panel discussion on strategies on alternative strategies for raising investment (crowdfunding, debt financing, etc), ably compered by host Claire-Marie Boggiano (@CMBoggiano), director, Lurig Change Management, with sisters Laura Beattie (@laurajbeattie) and Rachel Beattie (@RachelCBeattie), co-founders of luxury ethical womenswear brand Careaux (@careauxofficial), Delight Mapasure (@DeeMapasure), founder of Ks Wors Ltd (@Ks_Wors), a multi-award winning eclectic range of Southern African inspired Boerewors sausages, and Jala Daly (@GcbfJala), Business Development Manager, GC Business Finance.
We heard from Rachel and Laura about the journey that went into creating the unique dress with hidden zips that Careaux is known for, inspired over ten years ago! They are no strangers to Female Tech Founder, having spoken in the spring of 2019. After electing to go for a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, they set out to run an eight week campaign on Kickstarter which successfully raised £11,780!
Rachel shared some helpful tips on using Kickstarter – the time-limited nature of campaigns pushes people to buy, which is helpful, as is the fact that you are not limited to what you can offer as a reward. Careaux offered post cards as a reward, along with the full collection of dresses available.
A key learning point was the importance of sharing and promoting Kickstarter campaigns on social media, sales came not just from the community on Kickstarter but from people who found it from someone sharing the campaign on Twitter.
Jala and Delight talked about the journey from kitchen table to national listing on Ocado for Delight’s range of Boerewors sausages!
A tale of persistence and perseverance, Delight shared some of the difficulties faced when approaching high street banks for funding and how a relationship with The Growth Company stood her in good stead to not only secure a startup loan, but also develop the business to the point that it has now gone direct to consumer following increased demand during the pandemic.
Delight highlighted how a lot of female founders face barriers just in presenting their idea and company to funders – a bank she approached requested she attended a meeting with her husband and business partner before progressing her application further, implying she wasn’t the founder.
“Women… suffer from this idea…“it’s still a man’s world”
She overcame that and many other challenges because a passion to grow her business drove her to find ways of raising funding without giving away equity.
Jala’s work with GC Finance provided additional support to Delight at a time she had been turned down for a loan. Together, they worked with the additional support provided by the Growth Company’s Access2Finance team to develop her business plan and cash flow forecast and as a result she was able to secure the funding when she re-applied.
Heartening proof that there is support across the board from the Growth Co, it’s not just about finance!
After the fascinating Q&A discussion came a spot of networking via breakout rooms. The time passed very quickly, as per usual and soon we were back in the main Zoom room to hear from our first lightning speaker, Christina King (@ChristinaEKing), Chief Commercial Officer, Tribosonics.
Christine shared about her very, eclectic career so far. A Mechanical Engineering graduate, she worked on the Challenger 2 tank, helped set a Guinness World Record with Guy Martin and currently helps Tribosonics on their scale up journey as CCO.
The company makes embedded sensing technology to help companies in transport, manufacturing and power generation run energy efficient operations.
“I get to learn about all their businesses and their challenges.”
The Ideas Factory concept “two hours of focussed play” that is used at Tribosonics to support customers as they look at internal challenge generated a fair bit of interest – as founders it’s valuable to learn about how to partner with your customers to create solutions, and keep that commercial conversation going.
Bex shared about starting a service design agency in the charity sector after working for a long time in tech. Her motivation was to create a company that did good.
It was a personal account of her journey in stepping out to create her company Reply, despite battling to recover from burn out.
Her answer to a great question from the audience captured a lot of her why, passion and drive. The question was: what would be great for you in 12 months?
Bex replied that business snowballed for her soon after she started Reply, to the point that she achieved her target for the first year in the first few months and so key for her was living by her own standards.
“Good intentions do matter but, in the tech for good sector, impact is way more important.”
Thanks again to our wonderful speakers!