This month Lioness Publisher Natasha Clark interviews Loretta McCarthy, managing partner at Golden Seeds LLC. Founded in 2005 and run by 10 employees, Golden Seeds manages a nationwide network of 300 angel investors.
Clark reached out to McCarthy to talk funding and the state of female entrepreneurs and venture capital.
Natasha Clark (NC): Tell me a little about your background in venture capital funding?
Loretta McCarthy (LM): [I am the] former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Oppenheimer Funds, a large mutual fund company.
NC: What makes Golden Seeds unique?
LM: Golden Seeds provides funding to women-led companies. We see over 400 companies a year. Each one has one or more women in leadership positions.
NC: Women-owned businesses are often underfunded and underexposed. What are some factors, you feel, play a part in this?
LM: Many women start lifestyle businesses that may not require outside funding, but we believe that increasingly women are starting companies that have the potential to achieve substantial growth and could be attractive opportunities for investors. At Golden Seeds, we provide an environment in which women-led companies will be seriously considered for funding.
NC: We are proud to provide a platform for female entrepreneurs. As a woman, what would you say are some key things women need to be cognizant of when breaking into their respective markets?
LM: Become very effective describing your business and why you feel it will succeed. Be familiar with the industry and the competition. Know your numbers. Listen to your customer.
NC: Do you think enough women go after venture capital funding?
LM: Recent data says that 16% of companies that seek funding are led by women. Women-led businesses in the US are over 45% of the total, so this suggests that women are hesitating to seek funding or don’t know how to navigate the funding options.
NC: A recent study showed that a man and a woman could give the same exact pitch, and attractive men were more than 60% likely to get the funding. How powerful is it for a woman to pitch her business to another woman?
LM: Some entrepreneurs have mentioned to us that they appreciate that our investors are mostly women. We believe that the best decisions are made by teams that are gender-diverse, so Golden Seeds has both men and women who are investors. That said, the majority of our members are women.
NC: Why did you get into this type of work?
LM: For many years, I have been involved in issues of parity and fairness for women. This is a logical continuation of that work.
NC: Who is your ideal woman to come to Golden Seeds for funding possibilities?
LM: There is no ideal woman. If they have a great business concept, we are eager to meet them.
To learn more about Golden Seeds and they can assist you, visit http://www.goldenseeds.com/.