A case study from Tumml’s summer cohort.
By Clara Brenner and Julie Lien (Co-founders, Tumml)
Are there tangible differences between companies run by men and women? During our accelerator’s Summer 2013 cohort, we had the chance to see a firsthand case study. After recruiting for a class of urban impact entrepreneurs, we were pleased to see that 48% of our applicants had a woman as part of the founding team. And, of the companies we chose for the cohort, two of the five companies had women co-founders/CEOs.
Before we launched Tumml, we were warned by a number of respected advisors that the female entrepreneurs in our program might need more or specialized support – in selling themselves, pitching to traditional investors who tend to interact mostly male founders, or valuing their contributions to their companies. And we are often asked if we tailor our curriculum to specifically meet the needs of female founders – implying that they need a different type of support.
But we can say with all confidence that the women founders we have met through Tumml face the same challenges that their male counterparts do. And they are just as likely to rise to these challenges as their male counterparts.
One of our inspiring female-led startups, HandUp, is a mobile donation platform for the homeless. Rose Broome, the co-founder behind HandUp, has proven to be a natural in building partnerships and attracting press. During HandUp’s pilot, the company was named Fast Company’s Innovative Startup of the Day and featured in VentureBeat, Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Newsweek as part of an emerging trend of socially conscious tech startups. HandUp shows no signs of slowing down as the team is enhancing its web offerings in support of crowdfunding toward useful items, such as housing, clothing, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, etc.
Another of our incredible female-led startups is KidAdmit, the brainchild of the tenacious Tejal Shah. KidAdmit is a startup that provides an easy, efficient way to apply to multiple preschools online and manage the preschool admission process. Tejal’s personal experience navigating the convoluted process of getting her kids into preschool inspired the product. And boy, can she sell it. KidAdmit launched this summer and is already the technology provider for ~25% of San Francisco’s preschools.
We’re inspired by all of the incredible female founders we’ve been lucky enough to connect with along the way. And, as we move forward, we hope to recruit more women like Tejal and Rose to apply to Tumml.
Do you know of any women entrepreneurs tackling an urban problem? Help us find them! Tumml is recruiting now for our Winter 2014 cohort (deadline is December 1)
About the authors: Clara and Julie are the co-founders of Tumml, an urban ventures accelerator with the mission of empowering entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. Currently, Tumml is recruiting urban impact entrepreneurs for its Winter 2014 Cohort. Through a four-month program, Tumml invites early stage companies into its office space to receive $20K in seed funding; mentorship from civic and government leaders, urbanites, and investors; and $30K of in-kind services such as free desk space in San Francisco, government advocacy, and web/hosting services.