Starting a company to direct dollars to women and only finding…men.
Where are all the women?
A year ago we founded Dough over a coffee conversation about how we wanted to support women with our wallets, but it was hard to find all the amazing things female founders were creating. From that day forward, we made a commitment to support women business owners every step of the way as we launched the company. But, despite our best efforts, we found ourselves building a business to support women founders on the backs of…men.
You need to build a website? Time to pay Anthony (Squarespace), Matt (Wordpress), or Tobias (Shopify). You need to advertise online? Swipe your credit card for Mark (Facebook/Instagram), Ben (Pinterest), Evan (Snap), and Larry/Sergie (Google/Youtube). Need to accept payments? Give those to Patrick (Stripe) or Elon (Paypal). Need to ship an order? Pay up to Frederick (FedEx) or David (UPS). Want to give up and just set up shop on someone else’s marketplace instead? Josh (Etsy), Jeff (Amazon), Peter (Wish), Devin (eBay) will happily take your dollars.
This isn’t a “we hate men” essay; the founders above are talented operators who have created and manage transformational products. But, this is a rallying cry. It’s not by accident that there are no women in that list- currently female CEO’s receive less than 3% of total dollars from venture investors. A stat that isn’t surprising given that three out of every four venture capital firms in the U.S. still have zero women writing checks (source).
As we all know, money is power. It allows companies to hire top talent, to attract more customers, to take risks, to ultimately soar to billion dollar valuations and become household names. Women don’t have equal access to that power from the top down just yet (we’re working on that) but we do yield a powerful tool in the fight for equality; our wallets. We control nearly 80% of consumer spending, which means at the end of the day it’s ultimately in our hands as shoppers to decide which consumer companies grow, scale and succeed. By choosing, with each purchase, to direct dollars to other women, it’s a conscious vote for representation and equality on store shelves.
Someday, our hope is that you could have the option to read this on a new platform created by Ellen, not Evan (Medium), and you might have found this article not from a post on Twitter (Jack) or Reddit (Alexis) or Facebook (Mark), but by a new social network founded by Trinity or Eva or Ambika. Creating change is never easy- to get there is going to take every ounce of our collective consumer power. However, it’s a future that is possible and important to achieve, and one that is long overdue.
Let’s put down our iPhones (Steve), pull out our wallets, and get to work.