Startup ecosystem needs to be more inclusive towards women: Vani Kola
The Founder and MD of Kalaari Capital unveiled 'CXXO State of Women Entrepreneurship Report 2023' at SheSparks 2023. The report observed that a lot more work needs to be done to bring women entrepreneurship to par.
A stalwart of the Indian startup ecosystem and prominent investor, Vani Kola, Founder and Managing Director of Bengaluru-based, unveiled 'CXXO State of Women Entrepreneurship Report 2023' at SheSparks 2023.
The report observed that a lot more work needs to be done to bring women entrepreneurship to par. The share of VC funding by women is still in the single digits (9%), and only fewer than 1% of active angel investors in India are women. Only 1% of funding is received by women-led startups, and 15% of Indian unicorns have female co-founders—only two are led by female CEOs.
"That must change. The ecosystem needs to be more inclusive towards women entrepreneurs in terms of building networks of learning, mentorship, and access to growth enablers," Kola highlighted.
"Investor support is seen as the most important factor (43.4%) to enable women's entrepreneurship, while family, government, peers, and others contribute 11.3%, 15.1%, 11.3%, and 18.9%, respectively," the report noted.
Kola emphasised that enabling more women entrepreneurs to succeed is very important.
"There are various small steps that we can take at all levels to improve the participation of women in our startup ecosystem and leadership roles. There are different roles and contributions that we as individuals and organisations will have to play. The role of policies that are friendly to women employees and how we apply the gender lens is also an equally important factor," she observed.
“But I think the hard walk and hard work you will have to do yourself,” Kola added.
Women's relationships with finance
Kola also pointed out a gap when it comes to women's financial literacy.
"Women have an uneasy, uncomfortable relationship with money, and it shows up in many places, like how women are asked for compensation in board meetings," she said.
Several factors come into play when women founders negotiate equity or present their business plans as compared to their male counterparts. The venture capitalist noted that 80% of women have to justify how they deal with money.
Most also don't look after their personal finances. "Me included; I didn't use to because, as they say, most doctors don't take care of their own health and the cobbler doesn't take care of his shoes, and venture capitalists are not otherwise," Kola chuckled.
But the core question remains: what changes in our daily lives can affect a larger shift? What can be done better to bring more role models into society to aspire women to start their journey?
"It's consistency, and it's discipline. It's the focus," Kola replied.
The investor highlighted that having a sense of purpose is of utmost importance to achieve, and it's essential to derive inspiration from wherever we can.
"...I derive inspiration from so many women that I meet causally, or are integral parts of my life for the example that they serve, from which I can take anything and learn, and it is not about [being in] a place in life, the success, the visibility, or even the age," she added.
Disclaimer: Kalaari Capital is an investor in YourStory.
Edited by Kanishk Singh