Our 75-minute panel discussion covered a host of fascinating topics. Here are some key observations I took away from the day:
Empathy and Innovation
What inspired each founder to start their own company often involved deeply personal experiences that informed innovation. In the case of Jurist-Rosner, this involved navigating healthcare decisions for a parent for 28 years, which then led her to start a company that could make caregiving easier.
Culture continues to be a CEO priority at early-stage companies. It fuels collaboration, innovation, and employee experiences, which are so critical to helping companies grow and succeed. Del Beccaro spoke about her belief that innovative products stem from a great collaborative culture, and that a positive customer experience has a direct correlation to culture.
Learning New Skills
Building your skill set is a lifelong endeavor, and the founders discussed the valuable skills they wished they had gained earlier in their careers. For Jurist-Rosner, it was the importance of becoming an empathetic storyteller and having the confidence to relentlessly pitch and sell her idea. Del Beccaro talked about the need to sift through advice and not get locked into a notion of one right way for a company to accomplish its goals. Roy spoke about the ability to stand up and speak out in the face of inequity.
Although women have made tremendous strides in the venture space, there is still more opportunity, as women founders only secured 2% of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021. Early-stage fundraising tends to be based on connections and belief in the individual’s capability instead of concrete company metrics and results. Roy spoke candidly about how women founders are often asked “prevention questions.” Examples of this would be “How do you intend to prevent competitors from entering the market?” or “How will you prevent revenue decline in a recession?” Conversely, men are often asked “promotion questions,” such as “How big can this company be?” or “What is the potential market share?” Understanding these dynamics and knowing how to turn a prevention question into a promotion question is vital for women raising money.
This is just a sampling of the great insights these exceptional women shared with our audience. I was truly inspired to hear the panelists openly and honestly discuss their perspectives. I personally took away so much and am confident that the attendees did as well. You can view the entire recording of the conversation here. Workday Ventures will continue to support events and networking, as well as champion our goal to provide opportunities for the next generation of women entrepreneurs.