How Women Can Use Crowdfunding to Power Their Start-Ups

September 14, 2018

By Amanda Weston

Karen Cahn, founder and CEO of crowdfunding site iFundWomen, knows women get a disappointingly low proportion of VC funding, and she's trying to change that.

"Crowdfunding is for cash, is an extremely powerful way to launch your business, to grow your business, or to get it out of trouble frankly," Cahn said Friday in an interview on ChedHER.

Cahn said 11 million firms in the U.S. are owned by women ー and 650,000 new businesses are created by them every year ー but those companies only account for 2 percent of venture capital firms' investments.

"We just really firmly believe that people should not go into debt funding their businesses."

Cahn described the iFundWomen platform as "topic agnostic," helping everything from blockchain fintech apps to farm-to-table restaurants crowdraise funds.

One example is Luminary, a collaboration hub for women in New York City, which raised more than $80,000 during its first two days on the site.

And while the companies on the platform are exclusively owned by women, Cahn said about half of the funders who support them are men.

"We have a super vibrant community of both men and women who believe in funding women-led start-ups and small businesses and know that there's a systemic problem in our financial services industry that women are just not getting funded, and we're in debt trying to get our businesses off the ground," Cahn said.

"But yet when women decide to start businesses, and they get the funding they need, we actually outperform men."

Cahn said since she founded the site a year and a half ago, she now has VCs calling her and asking which founders and start-ups are the ones to watch.

For full interview click here.