The Elephant in the Room is Pregnant

Tons has been written lately about the lack of female entrepreneurs, particularly female tech startup founders. Many have debated where the fault lies — with VCs not funding women or women not going after the funding in the first place. In a recent blog post, Paige Craig shared his reluctance as an angel investor to invest in companies run by moms or soon-to-be moms. He stated what many of us have feared — his concern that  “A pregnant founder / CEO is going to fail her company.” While at first I wince at this statement, I actually think it’s good to address this elephant in the room.

As founders of a startup, my business partner and I are constantly faced with challenges. Every day. To be honest, it’s hard to discern whether any of these difficulties are because we are women or if it’s just what you sign up for when you start a business. I am certain, however, that as a mother of a 4 year old I have not devoted any less time or energy to my business than my male counterparts. I admit that I’ve let a few things slide — my house is usually a mess, I probably could use more sleep, and I’ve given up on the daily shower. I have the same work hard play hard approach as many male entrepreneurs, it’s just that my play includes Candyland, Thomas the Train, and soccer in the yard. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

In fact, I’d like to point out how my mom-ness greatly benefits my company. Since having my son, I’ve sharpened a number of skills including time management, creative problem solving, and fiscal responsibility. I don’t flinch when it comes to making personal sacrifices for the benefit of my company or my family. It’s difficult to address this topic without making generalizations, but my experience is that many moms I know and admire are pros at getting the most out of every minute of their day and their practicality is awe inspiring.

I also believe that female entrepreneurs are able to bring a different and much needed perspective to the business world, and particularly to tech innovations. But with women owned businesses receiving well under 10 percent of all equity financing, this perspective doesn’t always get the chance to surface. As a result, the mom user segment is woefully under represented. Why is this such a huge miss for investors? Women make 80 percent of the household purchases and commonly buy for three or more people. Pair that with the fact that mobile moms are the fastest growing and largest population of smart phone users, growing more than 64 percent last year.

I admit that I’m slightly biased, but what I see here is huge opportunity. And if I wasn’t already running my own company, I’d put my money on founders with a keen understanding of the mom consumer. In fact, I find it mind boggling that investors are missing out because they fear a female founder will get knocked-up. More for the rest of us, I suppose.