“If you have money to invest, invest it in enterprises that explicitly seek to build community, protect nature, and preserve the cultural commonwealth. Expect a zero or negative financial return on your investment—that is a good sign that you are not unintentionally converting even more of the world to money.”
— Charles Eisenstien
By now, most of us know the horrendous stats for women and venture funding. However, since they are so slow to change, they do bear repeating: female founders received 2.2% of $130 billion venture funding in 2018; Latinx women-led startups have raised only 0.32% and black women have raised only .0006% of all VC funding over the last decade; the average deal size for a male-led company is $17.3 million, whereas for a women-led company it about ⅓ of that amount: $5.9 million. Investment in indigenous women is not even tracked consistently.
In most venture scenarios, the capital holders possess the power — they set the terms of how their capital should be used to produce dazzling growth, unicorn status, and scale at any cost. This model is broken, extractive, and ultimately inefficient. We need another model of growth that creates sustainability and allows ventures to grow at their own pace, on their own terms.
Restrictions on capital keep power dynamics in place and keep us stuck in a broken model. At SheEO, we want to unlock capital for women to use on their terms so that we can uncover new models, new mindsets, and new solutions. This is why we use a 0% interest loan for Ventures, repayable over 5 years, on their own terms.
Working on the world’s toughest challenges takes time. Despite our popular conceptions of innovation happening in one stroke of genius, it often happens after years of failed attempts. Many famous scientists, artists, and innovators had stints of bankruptcy before creating something that would ultimately change the world (e.g. Nikola Tesla, Picasso, Henry Ford)
This is why we believe in patient capital to help spur our most needed innovations. And capital that is used in service of that innovation, not in service of making the investors rich. Money is a flow that comes to us so we can steward it on behalf of the planet and future generations. When ventures receive funding from us, we trust that they will use it to the highest and best use for their business.
We seek to use capital as a tool of relational connection and redemption (rather than a source of shame, coercion, and extraction), and that’s why we believe in ‘capital on your own terms’ at SheEO.
Reflection question: If money were no object, what would you create? What would you build? Who would you invite to create it with you? How would you serve the needs of the world?
ARTICLE 10 ways to redesign venture finance for a more inclusive post-COVID world — Aunnie Patton Power
VIDEO Winona LaDuke — Economics for the Seven Generation
SITE Zebras Unite
SITE Boston Ujima — Center for Economic Democracy
SITE Community Credit Lab
SITE Buen Vivir Fund — Thousand Currents
SheEO is a radically redesigned ecosystem that supports, finances + celebrates women + non-binary folks.