Q1. Why did you start a Growth Funding for Women Entrepreneurs in India?
- Access to more equity funding / risk capital because women may not have collateral for loans
- Number of women entrepreneurs are on the rise due to 50% demo, suited for women, increase in education
- Women are a great asset class that give better returns (35% increased returns: Mckinsey Report)
- Lack of empathy or gender lens investing
- Women entrepreneurs leave a greater impact on society, (if we invest in women they give back 80% to society)
Q2. About AWE?
- Sector agnostic fund
- includes companies which supply chain is women or consumer base is women
- tech innovation – food, agri, healthcare, clean energy, supply chain, fintech
- From Pre-series A or Series A
- Initial cheque size of 3-5 cr going up to 5 million
- Eligibility – strong mgt team, scalable, USP, big market
- Companies between 1 -3 cr which are profitable or on a path to profitability
“Only business with sustainable models will be able to grow, rest will die down”
Q3. What are some of the myths around Women Entrepreneurship?
- Women run businesses clock lower revenues than their male counter parts – Actually data suggests that today women around the globe clock sales of more than $1.3 trillion and this rev is more than the combined market cap of Apple, Microsoft, GE, Google and Sony.
- Women are not good at numbers – Women are inherently great negotiators and can tell a strong story with their numbers
- Women and men face the same level of difficulty when raising equity financing – Actually women have to put in more effort because of socio-economic biases around family, marriage and kids
- Women focus on lifestyle business – Even if there is a lifestyle business it can be very scalable and profitable like AND by Anita Dogre in fashion or Nykaa in beauty. Only 11.8% of women run businesses around the globe are in lifestyle!
- Women do not take risks – actually women take calculated risks and tend to outperform their targets rather than giving very large unrealistic goals
“We prefer all companies (in a portfolio of 12) giving a 3X to 6X return rather than one company that gives a 100X return and remaining giving 0.5 to negative returns”“Indian women have access to 4% equity funding (as per IFC) which is still double that of US at 2% of overall capital”
Q4. What are the challenges that are unique for women entrepreneurs?
- A strong training and mentoring program is required.
- Programs are required to target attainable goals like 5X increase in sales
- Empathy is important and gender lens investing becomes important as women investing in entrepreneurs tend to understand their challenges better
- Access to networks for scaling and marketing are required
“We have men’s clubs but there is nothing like a women’s club”