Founded in 2016, the company seeks to level the playing field for women founders looking to overcome gender inequities in funding. Last year, only two out of every hundred dollars went to companies started by women, according to data from PitchBook.
“We are so excited to be coming to Philadelphia,” Chief Revenue Offices Concetta Rand told Technical.ly. “Women own nearly 41,000 businesses in Philadelphia and the city is home to one of the most vibrant minority startup ecosystems in the country.”
Think of iFundWomen as Kickstarter with a diversity twist: women-led companies pitch their idea and seek funding from the general public.
Depending on the size of the investment, founders will offer rewards that range from a personalized “thank you” email to limited-edition items. The other element to the equation, per Rand, is offering founders coaching, video productions services and connections to other entrepreneurs in an effort to improve their approach to fundraising.
iFundWomen takes a 5 percent fee on the funds raised. Twenty percent of its revenue is invested in live campaigns on the site. To join the platform, Philly entrepreneurs can apply here.
“We are here to share the best kept secrets about crowdfunding: that it allows you to assess and generate demand before investing in supply and to help change the way women launch and grow their businesses,” Rand said.
So what’s the city’s role in all of this?
“Our role is mainly that of a promotional partner,” said Lauren Cox, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. “iFundWomen decided to launch in Philadelphia in part because of the promise of support from the local government.”
Cox said the city, through StartUp PHL and Commerce, will also be providing additional services for participating businesses through some of its existing programs, depending on the type of businesses that get funding.
“It is undeniable that women, particularly women of color, have gone underrepresented in the world of business for too long,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a press release. “To close the gap that currently exists, we must make deliberate efforts to support more women entrepreneurs, and an important piece of that is increasing access to capital. iFundWomen Philadelphia will allow current and aspiring business owners in our area to tap a national network of funders and receive personalized coaching and resources from the platform’s staff.”
In the spring, businesses that raise the full amount on their campaigns will join a pitch competition, where they’ll have access to local investors and opt for some follow-up capital.
The launch of iFundWomen holds value for Francisco Garcia, the city’s Director of Business Development for Innovation and Technology who joined city government at the end of last year.
“It’s an engagement strategy for us,” Garcia said. “Engaging entrepreneurs is the kind of thing we need to do more of. Our partnership with iFundWomen is a positive step towards providing women-owned businesses with a fair chance at launching and growing in Philadelphia.”
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