Home Entrepreneurship iFundWomen CEO Helps Women Create Their Own Economies Through Crowdfunding Platform

[Sheconomics Spotlight] iFundWomen CEO Helps Women Create Their Own Economies Through Crowdfunding Platform

Karen Cahn is the founder and CEO of iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform that, like the name says, helps women entrepreneurs raise money for their startups. But it’s more than that – iFundWomen is a community “for women, by women,” that offers expert coaching to help drive success, local cohorts for connecting and collaborating in an entrepreneur’s home state, and in some cases, grant money, part of iFundWomen’s paying it forward, all to help female entrepreneurs successfully launch, and grow, a new business.

Failure As A Foundation For Success

It was the failure of Cahn’s first business that inspired the former internet executive to create iFundWomen. At the forefront of the digital revolution, Cahn’s first job out of college was at Salon.com. in 2001, her second job, Cahn joined Google, years before the search engine became the behemoth it is today. She stayed 10 years. Recently, Cahn worked at YouTube and AOL (now Oath), before deciding to launch her own software business. Cahn thought she was ready to be an entrepreneur.

“I spent a year and a half, and my own money, to perfect a product for an idea that I didn’t know if anyone else wanted but me. And after all of that, when the product wasn’t great, I had no money left to fix it. So, my co-founders and I, as a Hail Mary to make payroll, launched a Kickstarter campaign. And for days, no one contributed” says Cahn. “So my instincts as a monetization guru kicked in. I started making as many phone calls to my network as humanly possible and we started getting our campaign funded. I learned that crowdfunding is all marketing and sales, nobody tells you that.”

New Beginnings

Ultimately, Cahn and her co-founders raised $30,000 for their company, but the experience gave them a new direction. Crowdfunding offered entrepreneurs a great way to raise funds early, to determine if people will want the product or service being created, and without going into debt. But Cahn noticed there were no crowdfunding platforms to help women specifically, even though women were opening new business at a record pace. Over the past five years, the annual growth rate in the number of women-owned firms has been more than double that of all businesses.

So, Cahn and her team pivoted to create a new company to fill this need: iFundWomen. The startup funding platform provides female entrepreneurs with access to capital through crowdfunding and grants.

Cahn says, “I believe that more women need to be taught about raising cash rounds in the early stages of their business as opposed to pursuing venture capital or worse, maxing out their credit cards or taking out a loan. It’s tough for women to get a loan and when they do, they pay higher rates, get lower loan amounts and have a higher payback. Don’t go into debt funding your startup.”

Venture capitalists rarely invest in women-led businesses. In 2019, just 2.8% of the $136.5 billion invested by venture capitalists went to all-women teams. Compared to the 86% of all venture capital investments going to all-male teams. By 2020, the proportion of dollars to female-only founders had dropped to 2.3%.

Partnering with Our Sisters For Parity

iFundWomen is an open platform, the sector doesn’t matter once the business is vetted. Since inception, iFundWomen has raised millions of dollars for hundreds of entrepreneurs. Cahn describes her crowdfunding platform as a startup sisterhood, a community of entrepreneurs helping each other succeed.

“The rising tide lifts all boats. The reality is, money is power, and when women are financially independent, we can control our own destiny. That’s what I’m all about as a person and an entrepreneur” Cahn says.

Stacey Tisdale
Stacey Tisdale
Founder, CEO, Executive Producer

Stacey Tisdale, a more than 20-year veteran TV broadcast financial journalist, and financial behavior expert, is one of the first women, and the first African-American to report from the New York Stock Exchange, in her role as a reporter/anchor for Dow Jones' Emmy Award-winning, Wall Street Journal Television.

See Full Author Bio

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

[Mental Health Awareness Month] Low on Confidence? Start Saving & Investing Money

A study by TIAA finds that Americans are having a bit of a crisis of confidence when it comes to their financial security, with...

[Financial literacy month] 5 questions you must ask yourself about your parent’s ‘money’ role modeling

I once interviewed a woman who was experiencing a lot of stress in her marriage about money.  She and her husband were having a...

[Wealth Wednesdays] Actress Naturi Naughton of Starz ‘Power’ Talks Love and Money With Angela Yee & Stacey Tisdale

More than 40% of couples in the United States commit financial infidelity – lying to their partners about money by doing things like hiding...

Stacey Tisdale Shares 3 Tips That Help Couples Stop Fighting About Money

https://youtu.be/84O0LdHmT6s Couples are in crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with many relationships stressed to the point of breaking from COVID-19 restrictions like...

Recent Comments