Who Rules the World Panel at Capital Factory

Smile a lot and wear a great outfit, those are a few pieces of advice given to women pitching their tech startups to investors.

But even that doesn’t seem to work. Women founders actually raised less money last year than in 2020 with female founders securing just 2 percent of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021, the smallest share since 2016, according to Bloomberg News.

To say things are not great for female founders in Texas or across the United States today is an understatement.

The landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the court held that the constitution does not confer a right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health organization set women back years in their fight for equality.

Couple that with the fact that Texas bans abortions at all stages of pregnancy unless you have a life-threatening medical emergency. Texas law does not provide exceptions for cases that involve rape or incest.

Despite all the obstacles, the first day of Austin Startup Week at Capital Factory focused on women in technology and showed how resilient and innovative female founders in Austin are.

For example, Eunice Ajim, the founding partner at Ajim Capital, launched an early-stage fund and angel community to provide startups in Africa with pre-seed to seed funding, with check sizes of $25,000 to $150,000.

Lesley Robinson, director of the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, said she sees UT students interested in social, political, and environmental and impact startups.

“We’re seeing a lot more social impact, environmental entrepreneurs, and I like that trend,” Robinson said during an afternoon panel discussion titled “Who Runs the World.”

Ajim said women need to see their differences as advantages.

“When you get in a room and you are different people pay attention,” Ajim said.

She wears a great outfit in a room with a bunch of people wearing suits and that stands out.

“Use it to your advantage,” she said.

Bet on yourself every time, said Cat Dizon, Active Capital Co-Founder, and Chief Operating Officer.

Women pitching to investors need to come in with passion and determination, Dizon said.

“If it’s not a real problem, and you’re not really passionate about it, It comes through in everything that you do and that you say,” she said.