This month, I joined Antler, a global startup generator, as an advisor.
When I first heard about the program, I was immediately drawn to it. Not just because I think that it will help us build more great businesses in Australia, but because I think it will help more women to build great businesses.
Throughout my career, I have launched four startups in the real world, and dozens more in my head. Some of them, like Lazada, Southeast Asia's largest eCommerce group, have gone on to be super successful. Most of them have failed. I am proud of every one of them.
Although, in nearly every business I have been the only girl in the room.
I think this is partially because we get told a lot of myths about building a startup. That you need to be "technical". That building a business is an innate talent, not a skill that can be taught. That you need to have committed everything to the business – your full-time job, your life savings, your family time.
These myths impact women the most. Women are less likely to have a technical degree, but that doesn't mean they can't build successful businesses. I don't have a computer science background, neither does Mel Perkins from Canva, or Cyan Ta'eed from Envato, or Naomi Simson from Red Balloon. Antler's program matches you with a technical co-founder, if you need one.
Building a business is also a lot easier when you have the support of a coach or a network. I learned a lot from other entrepreneurs and advisors when I was building Lazada, as well as from my boss Mark Coulter, now I work at Temple & Webster. But these people and groups aren't always easy to come by. Antler helps with this too. You don't need to be an expert on everything from day one – Antler helps you build a team and can connect you with a global network of advisors and experts that will help you to succeed.
Lastly, I've had so many VC's tell me that they look for founders that are 100% committed. This is normally code for saying you need to have mortgaged your house, chucked in your day job and put all your eggs in one startup basket. That's great if you are a 22-year-old without a family or a mortgage, but for everyone else, and particularly women who are more risk averse than men, it creates a big barrier to entry. Antler provides founders with funding from day one and sets out a clear funding pipeline from the beginning.