These Female Founders are Empowering Their Customers with Freedom

This month we are celebrating the female founders who are crowdfunding on iFundWomen to fund products and services that are empowering their customers. These entrepreneurs have created solutions that enable others to live more independently, with freedom and access to the goods & resources that make their lives better.

Dr. Kari Williams, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Beauty by Dr. K

Dr. Kari Williams, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Beauty by Dr. K

As a trichologist & stylist, Dr. Kari Williams is on a mission to help her clients keep moisture in their strands and prevent breakage. She founded Beauty by Dr. K to give her customers access to salon quality products that guide you to healthy hair at home.

Alex Ingalls, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Pilot Kombucha

Alex Ingalls, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Pilot Kombucha

Alex Ingalls is the Founder of Pilot Kombucha, a livelier local brew that she formulated to bring gut health & immunity support to her probiotic-loving customers!

Babba C. Rivera, iFundWomen entrepreneur & co-founder of  HER USA

Babba C. Rivera, iFundWomen entrepreneur & co-founder of HER USA

Babba C. Rivera is the Co-Founder of HER USA, a community that connects conscious, driven and impactful women in 19 global cities on a local scale. This North American arm of HER Global Network is giving their community the freedom to be vulnerable, unfiltered, and connected.

Rachel Moss, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Subject Swim

Rachel Moss, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Subject Swim

Rachel Moss founded Subject Swim to empower her customers with the freedom to feel confident in their own skin with feminist swimwear that fits well, covers where it counts, and celebrates her, no matter what shape or size.

Julia Munck, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Saged App

Julia Munck, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Saged App

Julia Munck is curating practical woo with her mobile app, Saged, and is giving her customers access to oracle readings, crystal magic, and astrology that empowers them to get connected to themselves, their intuition, and their community.

Each of these founders have live crowdfunding campaigns right now, so head on over to iFundWomen and empower them to continue to empower others.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship

A day in the life of a female entrepreneur

A day in the life of a female entrepreneur

When you ask any female entrepreneur if she can relate to the emotional ups and downs visualized above, you’ll hear a resounding “yass,” possibly followed by a few of these: 🙋🏽‍♀️.

There are 111 Million female entrepreneurs around the world, yet somehow this journey of launching and running your own business can feel lonely, spending significant time each day in your own head and experiencing high-highs and low-lows along an unchartered path. That may all sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is there is probably nothing else you would rather be doing than realizing your dream and bringing your vision to life.

Alongside every founder stands a product or service that they created to solve a problem and fulfill a need in the market. The only way to keep your wheels on the track and manage this emotional rollercoaster long enough to actually determine if you’ve created a viable business is by surrounding yourself with the right support and mentorship along the way. We firmly believe this at iFundWomen and have made it our mission to provide female entrepreneurs with the access to the capital, coaching and community that is critical to launching and growing your business.

In fact, when it comes to expert mentorship and guidance, we know coaching works. Entrepreneurs who lean into our proprietary coaching program called The iFundWomen Method raise 22x more than the crowdfunding industry average.

We also know that successfully navigating the ups and downs of running your own business is about so much more than access to funding. This is why iFundWomen offers on-demand coaching services that meet the needs of entrepreneurs across all aspects of business-building. Our coaching memberships include private coaching sessions (on topics ranging from pitch honing and network mapping to startup founder therapy and building community), virtual workshops, classes & webinars, a monthly Founder Support Circle, and an invitation to our Slack community where thousands of female entrepreneurs are in the hustle together, celebrating, collaborating, and commiserating through their startup journeys.

iFundWomen is providing the support that so many female entrepreneurs have had a lack of access to. In fact, almost half of all women cite lack of mentors and 31% citing lack of a support system as hurdles to running a successful business. So, we’ve developed these resources for you, the entrepreneurs, because you shouldn’t have to go it alone, and no matter where you go to find it, the most important thing is that you get the coaching & community that you need to take along with you on your entrepreneurship ride.


The Network Effect & The Power of Local Cohorts

The seven iFundWomen Seattle pitching entrepreneurs (from left to right): Laura Clise, Founder,  Intentionalist ; Alex Pinkerton & Megan Pakula, Co-Founders,  The Armourie ; Hannah Schnabel, Founder,  Belle Ampleur ; Megan Febuary, Founder,  For Women Who Roar ; Genevieve Livingston & Marimar White-Espin, Co-Founders,  Eco Collective ; Sarah Haggard, Founder,  Tribute ; Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder,  Diverse City LLC .

The seven iFundWomen Seattle pitching entrepreneurs (from left to right): Laura Clise, Founder, Intentionalist; Alex Pinkerton & Megan Pakula, Co-Founders, The Armourie; Hannah Schnabel, Founder, Belle Ampleur; Megan Febuary, Founder, For Women Who Roar; Genevieve Livingston & Marimar White-Espin, Co-Founders, Eco Collective; Sarah Haggard, Founder, Tribute; Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder, Diverse City LLC.

We always say that iFundWomen is so much more than crowdfunding, and what's just as true is that the success of entrepreneurs on our platform and within our community is about so much more than the funds they raise.  

Success on iFundWomen is about your willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, put your product/service out there, and touch down on every single person within your network, no connection left untapped.

The truth is there is nothing more powerful than the network effect, which is technically defined as when your product or service increases in value the more people engage with it. This is the gift of rewards-based crowdfunding - It is a marketing tactic that is best utilized by exposing your product/service to as many people as possible in your network (and your networks’ networks). The resulting feedback that you garner from the network effect through crowdfunding is invaluable. Most importantly, it saves you tons of time, and as we all know, time is money.

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This all boils down to the fact that rewards-based crowdfunding is THE opportunity that early-stage entrepreneurs need to take advantage of in order to take their businesses to the next level, and at iFundWomen, we provide access to the tools & resources that you need to harness that network effect and propel your vision forward.

Equally as important is the community and support you are able to surround yourself with while riding that emotional crowdfunding rollercoaster.  Yes, getting that raw, unadulterated feedback from your network and customers is imperative, but it certainly isn’t easy to manage. You need to be surrounded by people in the hustle with you who you can collaborate, commiserate, and celebrate with along the way.

Trust us, we know. We’ve launched nine local cohorts across the country with the intention of bringing our crowdfunding platform and coaching tools to female entrepreneurs in these different cities. Through these activations, we were able to partner with local governments & organizations passionate about supporting the female economy in order to spread the word about iFundWomen allowing us to leverage the network effect and provide amazing opportunities for female founders in each city.

This has never been proven more true than at the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition, just weeks ago.

Happenings at the  iFundWomen Seattle  Pitch Competition on June 4th, 2019.

Happenings at the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition on June 4th, 2019.

This event was the culmination of a year-long partnership with the Seattle-founded co-working space built by women, for everyone, The Riveter.  On June 4th, 2019, seven qualifying, Seattle-based female entrepreneurs, who had successfully reached their crowdfunding goals through iFundWomen Seattle, came together to participate in a celebratory pitch competition with the opportunity to raise even more cash for their businesses.

The work that these founders did to thoroughly map out their networks is what helped them cross the crowdfunding finish line, but it was the network effect of pure energy that filled the room that night.  These seven pitchers packed the house at The Riveter, Capitol Hill with their people...and then their people brought people. Just like that, by presenting in the room that night, each pitcher had her product/service exposed to an entirely new audience. That’s a win right there.

After hearing seven tight pitches from women-led businesses that ranged from a workplace mentorship app to an online guide to intentional spending to a bold solution for women planning bachelorette parties (no more you-know-what straws!), two iFundWomen Seattle entrepreneurs were proudly announced as the winners of the evening and awarded with $5,000 checks, thanks to our event sponsors at SYSTANE®, the #1 doctor recommended brand of artificial tears.

The Judges, iFundWomen team and the winners of the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition: Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder & CEO,  Diverse City LLC  & Sarah Haggard, Founder & CEO,  Tribute .

The Judges, iFundWomen team and the winners of the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition: Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder & CEO, Diverse City LLC & Sarah Haggard, Founder & CEO, Tribute.

The networks that these founders each cultivated through their crowdfunding campaigns were so clearly present at The Riveter that night, and the momentum these seven entrepreneurs capitalized on before, during, and after the pitch event will inevitably have a positive impact on their businesses moving forward.  

Talk about a lasting (network) effect….



5 Ways to Be the Best Mother and Entrepreneur You Can Be

Let’s kick this off by making one thing clear: If you are out there in the world doubling as a mother and an entrepreneur, you are, by definition, a badass, fierce, multi-tasking mama! But let’s keep it real, your work is never done and we mean that in every sense. Whether it’s your growing children or your (hopefully) growing business, both require your undivided love and attention. So, at the risk of asking the most cliché, skin-crawling question ever - how do you do it all? The answer is that you can’t do it all, but you can strive to be the best version of yourself, as a mother and as a startup founder.

At iFundWomen, we are all about paying forward the lessons learned and we would never leave you without some tangible tips, so we tapped into the iFundWomen community and asked some of our #MamasInBusiness to share their best practices for managing the balancing act that is life as Mompreneur:

  1. Teach your kids independence.

Natalie Garay, Founder & CEO,  Ther Happy , with her three daughters.

Natalie Garay, Founder & CEO, Ther Happy, with her three daughters.

You are raising little humans who will some day, whether you like it or not, turn into adults (if they haven’t already!). Do yourself and your children a favor and train those mini-me’s to take on some of the simple day-to-day tasks that will make your life easier and that will give them a sense of pride for having done something to care for themselves.

2. Share your work with your children.

Kate Anderson, Co-Founder & Director of Operations,  iFundWomen , with her kids.

Kate Anderson, Co-Founder & Director of Operations, iFundWomen, with her kids.

Your children and your startup are likely two of your greatest passions in life, and being present at home doesn’t have to mean hiding something you love and care about from your family. So, whenever possible, share some of your work life with your children, giving them some context around this thing you are working so hard at each day, and make them feel a part of your entrepreneurial journey!

3. Plan ahead.

Tasha O’Farril, President,  Checklist Home Services , with her kids.

Tasha O’Farril, President, Checklist Home Services, with her kids.

NBD, right? In all seriousness, there are of course things we can all be doing better to stay on top of our calendars and to-do lists, but when you add being a mom to your daily duties, staying on track becomes that much more important. Try not to let tasks that come up just bounce back and forth in your brain all day - it will only hinder your productivity. Instead, get new to-do’s out of your head, onto a to-do list, and prioritized as soon as possible.  You will spend far less time doing this than you will trying to tap into the hodgepodge of tasks just lingering in that head of yours!

4. Be present.

Sarah Sommers, Co-Founder & Marketing Director,  iFundWomen , with her son.

Sarah Sommers, Co-Founder & Marketing Director, iFundWomen, with her son.

Whether at work or with your family, every single moment is precious.  It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. So the last thing you want to do is waste that time being unfocused, and then agonizing over the fact that you haven’t really given the task or people before you 100% of YOU. So do yourself a favor and, if you are spending time with your kids, spend time with your kids. If you’re at work, be at work. It’s easier said than done, but if you can put this to practice, you will inevitably start to experience more and more wins each day! 

5. Be brave and you children will be, too.

Amri Kibbler, Co-Founder,  HEYMAMA , with her daughter.

Amri Kibbler, Co-Founder, HEYMAMA, with her daughter.

Never forget that by having the grit and determination to create a product or service that solves a significant problem, you are setting the ultimate example for your children.  The entrepreneurial road is long, windy and there is definitely some you-know-what that you’ll step in along the way, but the passion and perseverance you put on display for your kids will have a significant impact on how they go out into the world and fight for what they want in life.  

Believing in yourself is contagious, so be sure to find your tribes of women who are in the hustle just like you, who can relate to what you are going through, and who can support you and give you the confidence boost you need to be a rockstar mom and business owner each day! For those mompreneurs out there who are new to iFundWomen, be sure to join our weekly webinar and learn more about the community we have built to support all of the women entrepreneurs on our platform!

For all the working moms out there, hopefully these five little tidbits of wisdom bring you some relief, and perhaps make you feel a little less alone and more appreciative of all that you are doing for your family and your business each day.

This Sunday, give yourself a pat on the back, or rather make sure someone gives you a massage...they can do the back-patting!

Happy Mother’s Day to all our #MamasInBusiness

Love,

The iFundWomen Team







The Magic of Women Writing The Checks

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by Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO, iFundWomen

My co-founders and I started iFundWomen to solve a problem: there is a complete lack of funding options for early-stage entrepreneurs. Only 1% of companies, regardless of the gender of the founder, will ever raise venture capital. So, what do the other 99% of startup founders do? They max out their credit cards or they try to take out a bank loan, and nobody should go into debt funding the early days of their startup.

But the funding gap for women entrepreneurs is not just about a lack of access to capital. Lack of access to coaches and mentors who have “been there, done that” to guide them in the process, and lack of access to a community of sisters in the hustle raising money alongside you are also huge barriers.

Most of you reading this can totally relate to this problem: being a solopreneur, feeling isolated and alone, racking up credit card debt, just trying to make your entrepreneurship dream come true. We see you, we are you, and we get it.  

iFundWomen Co-Founders: Kate Anderson, Karen Cahn, Sarah Sommers

iFundWomen Co-Founders: Kate Anderson, Karen Cahn, Sarah Sommers

Sarah, Kate, Olivia, Zeina, Maya, Stephen, and I know about this problem in a very intimate way because we are our own customers. We built iFundWomen for us – for female founders. There are 111 million of us around the world who are seeking the capital, the coaching, the creative, the community, and the connections that we need to launch and grow businesses.

This is iFundWomen.

And we’re on the same exact journey that our customers are on, we’re just a few stages ahead. So, this past fall, after raising a seed round to invest in tech and talent (thank you to the amazing, feminist men who funded us quickly), the time came for us to raise even more capital.  

It also occurred to us that we were a company named iFundWomen without any women on our cap table, and that needed to change.

So, when we received an announcement from The Wing about a new startup accelerator they were launching with _able called Wingable, we jumped at the chance to apply. Not only was this an opportunity for iFundWomen to raise much-needed capital from female investors, but this was also the chance for the coaches to get coached.

The moment that iFundWomen was named as one of the 10 companies chosen for Wingable, was the moment we knew that we were embarking on a mission to diversify our cap table, and we were SO READY.

Wingable Class of 2019

Wingable Class of 2019

Wingable was a six-week startup accelerator unlike anything we had ever experienced. We learned how to build a women’s brand from the experts who helped Audrey and Lauren build the Wing. Because of the access to the Wing’s team in all areas of their business - from design thinkers to lawyers to programming experts (not the computer kind, the IRL community kind) - we were learning from the best and we could not take notes fast enough.

It was clear that Amanda Eilian and Lisa Blau, the partners of _able, understood the immense impact that the combination of funding, coaching, and connections would have on all 10 companies who made it in. These were the principles that Amanda & Lisa valued most as women investors, and this is what our cap table had been missing all along.

Wingable, and the subsequent investment from _able partners, was the first check we received in our round. That feeling that our entire team felt - being validated by the tastemakers who were invested in some of the hottest women’s brands like The Wing, Goop, and Daily Harvest - was a startup founder high like no other.  We were on our way to diversifying our cap table!

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Ok, so how did we raise the rest of it? First, we fundraised with intention, making a commitment to walking the walk and building a fundraising strategy that was representative of our brand, our mission and the problem we are solving.

Second, we fundraised within a community. To us, diversifying our cap table meant not only bringing on investors who reflected our company’s values, but also conducting our raise in a way that celebrated the powerful magic that can take place when you get a bunch of badass female leaders in a room together IRL.  

And it was truly magical.

We invited 40 potential investors to join us at Luminary, a space in New York City, that was funded on iFundWomen, to experience the value of our product, to hear the founders mission and vision, to meet our team, and to really talk to our customers. We called it “The iFundWomen Off-Road Show” because we didn’t leave our block to do the meetings. The investors came to us. Why? Because we selected a highly curated group of women who we KNEW put their money where their mouths are. This was a no-BS group of power ladies who were already invested in female founders, and came to play.

 
 

The opportunity to pitch your business to a room full of passionate, brilliant women who just get it cannot be taken for granted and iFundWomen’s Off-Road Show was a moment that is now etched into our company’s history.

Now, here we are, two months later, proud to say that we have closed our seed round, and we are so excited to announce iFundWomen’s new female investor team including ‘the most powerful woman on Wall Street’, the new female founder whisperer & designer of the famed “Morning After bag,” and the woman who invented the glam service we literally can’t live without. Head over to our Instagram to see the full list of women writing the checks.

The value we received from Wingable went far beyond the funding, and that rings true for the effect each of these investors will have on our cap table. They are not just women writing checks. They’re part of our growing community. They’re our connectors. They’re our rapidly growing pipeline. They’re our brand ambassadors.

But most importantly, they are women who believe in the impact iFundWomen is having, and will continue to have, on the massive funding gap facing female founders, and they wrote the checks to help make that possible.

Money talks.

PS - We are currently basking in the glow of closing our round, but stay tuned to all iFundWomen channels as we continue to share more of the practical takeaways from our funding journey.

Will You Be My Co-Founder?

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There’s nothing like having a co-founder (or two, or three) by your side during your startup journey. In honor of Galentine’s day, these co-founder teams within the iFundWomen community are showing some love, sharing the ins and outs of what you should look for in a startup partner, and paying forward some tips on how to best work together.

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Kate Anderson, Sarah Sommers and Karen Cahn, Co-Founders of iFundWomen

Kate Anderson, Sarah Sommers and Karen Cahn, Co-Founders of iFundWomen

What has been the greatest benefit of having co-founders by your side on your entrepreneurial journey?

The greatest benefit of having trusted co-founders is having two other, totally dedicated humans, to walk the walk with. Running a startup is overwhelming and stressful with high-highs and low-lows, and the best way to manage the good, the bad, and the ugly is to do so with your trusted co-founders by your side. keyword: trusted

How have you and your co-founders learned to work best with each other?

Communicating clearly, being patient and knowing we are all working towards the same goal.

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

First and foremost, you need to find someone who is passionate about the mission behind your business and the problem that you are solving. You should look for people who have a different set of skills that you have. If you are great at marketing but not so great at operations, look for an operator. If you are a girl who codes, but has no idea how to build a brand, look for a brand person.

- Karen, Kate & Sarah


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Courtney Bernabei & Amanda Raposo, Co-Founders of Pal by Project Playdate

Courtney Bernabei & Amanda Raposo, Co-Founders of Pal by Project Playdate

How did you find your co-founder?

I was running my business as a solo-founder for seven years. I knew that if I was going to succeed beyond local scale, I needed a co-founder that had a complimentary skill set and a passion for this vision. We were on the same "learning team" at Columbia Business School. We were thrown into so many highly stressful academic experiences and worked super well together. It was co-founder love at first sight for me! It took me about a year and a half to court her. ;)

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

Our success as a team is driven by the tension between two very different skillsets, personalities, experiences and, often times, opinions. As long as there is sincere mutual respect, working with someone who is different than you and who won't "yes" everything you say is, in my opinion, the best possible co-founder.

- Amanda & Courtney


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How have you and your co-founder learned to work best with each other?

Open communication is everything. We share (overshare) everything. It's important not to take things personally when we’re giving feedback to each other and realizing that we both have the companies and each others best interest in mind. For us, there is a high level of understanding of where the other person is at mentally and emotionally. We always encourage each other to take care of ourselves, whether that be personal days, exercise, game nights, ice cream, etc.

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

When you decide to start a company with someone it really is like you’re getting married. Your co-founder is the last person you’ll text at night and the first person you’ll text in the morning (maybe that's just us?). You need to completely trust the other person, because you’re going to be relying on them A LOT.

- Courtney & Jane

Courtney Snavely & Jane Mitchell, Co-Founders of Ovee

Courtney Snavely & Jane Mitchell, Co-Founders of Ovee


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Kate Viggiano & Amy Dagliano, Co-Founders of The Rowan Tree

Kate Viggiano & Amy Dagliano, Co-Founders of The Rowan Tree

What has been the greatest benefit of having a co-founder by your side on your entrepreneurial journey?

The greatest benefit of having each other has been the ability to lean on each other's strengths -- and simply, to lean on each other -- when we need to. We tag-team all the time, bounce ideas off of each other, and make those ideas even better because we build on each other's thoughts. Plus sanity. A co-founder really helps with sanity.

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

Transparency, honesty, confidence, passion, drive and an undying work ethic.

- Kate & Amy


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How did you and your co-founders find each other?

We found our way to one another through different advocacy work each of us was doing within the Advertising industry. We believe it was mostly the universe and some good witchy vibes that brought us together. ;)

Can you describe when and how you knew you needed to bring on a co-founder?

The Coven literally wouldn't exist without all four of us co-founders making it happen together! We knew we needed each other from day one.

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

A likeminded, like-hearted partner in crime with a skillset much different from your own. Someone you can love deeply, argue with, and confide in. Basically find someone you want to marry because that's really what a business is...a sexless marriage full of spreadsheets and ideas.

- Bethany, Liz, Erinn & Alex

Bethany Iverson, Liz Giel, Erinn Farrell, Alex Steinman, Co-Founders of The Coven

Bethany Iverson, Liz Giel, Erinn Farrell, Alex Steinman, Co-Founders of The Coven


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Kristin Carroll & Jillian Schmitt, Co-Founders of Survivorship Solutions

Kristin Carroll & Jillian Schmitt, Co-Founders of Survivorship Solutions

How have you and your co-founder learned to work best with each other?

We communicate all the time. We are completely honest with each other, even if it means we disagree sometimes. We also trust each other. It's like any relationship - if you don't have trust, you don't have anything. We know we are aligned in our intentions, so even if one of us has to make a decision without the other, we assume she will do her best. And the decision is usually awesome.

How did you find your co-founder (or how did she find you)?

Jillian and I worked together at our last job and we shared a lot of the same work and life missions, work ethic and passion for owning our own business. We knew that we could do better for our colleagues and healthcare organizations nationwide and saw a vision to get us there. Jillian was ready to walk out on that limb of entrepreneurship and offered me the role as co-captain on that ship!

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

Someone who is self-aware, a good listener, a good communicator, open to ideas, flexible, adaptable, and dedicated.

- Kristin & Jillian


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Carissa Tozzi & Gena Mann, Co-Founders of Wolf + Friends

Carissa Tozzi & Gena Mann, Co-Founders of Wolf + Friends

Can you describe how you knew you needed to bring on a co-founder?

I knew from personal experience that there was a blank space in the special needs market that needed to be addressed. So I approached my friend + former colleague Gena Mann, whom I've known since elementary school, and was raising two boys on the autism spectrum, about my idea: creating a shopping and lifestyle destination for families that was inclusive, inspiring, and fun. I knew I needed a partner who was a mom with a lot of experience and a positive, honest perspective raising children with special needs to get involved.

What should female entrepreneurs consider when looking for a co-founder?

Find someone who is in it for the same reasons you are. And find someone you like and respect as you will be spending most of your time with them making very important decisions.

-Carissa & Gena


How This Entrepreneur Stands Out in a Saturated Market

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Jumping on the hot, new trend can be extremely lucrative or extremely difficult for entrepreneurs because you must find a way to distinguish your product or service as the new kid on the block. Cate Luzio, Founder & CEO of Luminary, left her 20-year banking career to build a physical space for women to develop, network and connect.

We sat down with Cate to discuss how she used crowdfunding to launch her business and how she’s paving the way for Luminary in the sea of female-focused spaces.

Q: Tell us about Luminary.

Cate Luzio: Luminary is a new collaboration hub and meeting space for women who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. We created an ecosystem of quality programming and amenities for women. We opened our doors in November 2018 and our members have access to 15,000 square feet of open workspace and communal areas in the NoMad neighborhood of New York City.

Luminary has everything you need to fit in your day with a fitness studio with various classes in barre, HIIT, yoga, pilates and more, a beauty Bar in partnership with Glam + Go, numerous conference and meeting rooms, event space, phone booths, a lactation room, free coffee and wine on tap and so much more.

Q: What’s sets Luminary apart from other co-working or wellness spaces for women?

CL: Luminary exists because there is a growing need for more spaces and places for women to invest in themselves and their self-care. Luminary is the ultimate career advocate for women. We lead with a deep commitment to supporting and advancing the careers and businesses of our members through a comprehensive slate of daily programming. We are all about community and women supporting each other. These are just some of the qualities that set us apart.

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Q: What advice would you give to women creating products/services in industries where solutions have already been built?

CL: Create it! If you have a concept or product idea that you’re passionate about – write a business plan and make it happen. Even if there are existing solutions in the space – hone in on what makes your idea different and lean into that. It’s also important to survey and understand the landscape you’re entering to see what other players in the space are doing – this will help you to see your unique opportunity. Innovation and disruption often happen in established industries and you could be leading the next big change.

Q: How did you know you were ready to leave your 9-5 career and pursue your entrepreneurial dreams?

CL: After leaving my job, I started weighing other banking opportunities. I attended an intimate, networking event with incredible women. The conversations were so fascinating and each woman wanted to stay connected, extend help and their networks.  I rode home on the subway and thought, “How can we do that on a larger scale?” I started writing down all of these ideas and those ideas translated into the business plan for Luminary.

I was so committed to this concept and getting it off the ground. I did my research and hit the road to visit other women’s spaces around the country, led focus groups for feedback, and poured all my energy into the concept. Given my dedication to creating Luminary, it was clear that this was more than a passion project or a hobby. I knew that my next step would be as an entrepreneur.

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Q: Why did you decide to crowdfund?

CL: We partnered with iFundWomen for our membership drive. We offered discounted, pre-sale memberships on the platform to ensure we had a strong community of women before we opened our doors. We’re committed to partnering with other women-led businesses like iFundwomen and the platform already has such a strong community of female founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Q: How long did it take you to prepare for your campaign, and what advice do you have for someone planning to launch her crowdfunding campaign in 2019?

It took us about two months to prepare our campaign for launch. We took time to think through the content and messaging and how we wanted to showcase our membership options and rewards. We also did a campaign video and that was essential to explaining what Luminary is all about before the physical space opened. People respond well to visuals and I highly encourage those looking to crowdfund to invest in a video and their website.

Another tip that I would offer is that it’s alright to make changes after you launch your campaign. We took in feedback and made changes to respond to what people wanted - iteration is alright. I would also say that you need to cast a wide net with your outreach, encourage others to share and don’t be afraid to follow-up.

Don’t be afraid to lean into the experts at iFundWomen; this is their business so the guidance, coaching, and learnings they can provide are instrumental.

Q: What are your greatest learnings from your crowdfunding experience?

CL: I learned a great deal throughout the crowdfunding experience. Luminary is all about building community and I found it so helpful to start by building bonds online through the crowdfunding campaign. It’s hard work so be prepared. The campaign helped me build stronger relationships within my network and even identify those who are great brand ambassadors – spreading the word with me.

Q: What are Luminary’s 2019 goals?

CL: We are excited to bring more members into our growing community. This is our first year so we are looking forward to focusing on our roster of professional programming, kicking our fitness offering into high gear, and bringing more and more inspirational voices in to meet and interact with our members. We ultimately want to create personal and one-of-a-kind experiences for each of our members so that they feel at home with us.  

5 Ways to Start Planning for Your Crowdfunding Campaign

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by Olivia Owens, Marketing Manager at iFundWomen

`We often get asked when the best time to run a crowdfunding campaign is and the truth is you should run your campaign once you’ve done the prep work. Pro tip: the earlier you start prepping the better.

The next question is - what goes into planning a crowdfunding campaign? So we’ve compiled some steps you can take now in preparation for a crowdfunding campaign in 2019!

1. Take advantage of our free resources to learn the crowdfunding basics.

If you haven’t taken our free Crowdfunding Basics Webinar, that’s the best place to start. We cover everything you need to know about crowdfunding on iFundWomen. From the different reasons women are raising money on our platform to how to build a strong rewards strategy that doesn’t cut into your profits. Like to be extra prepared? Check out our Campaign Guide and come to the webinar with questions to ask our coaches!

2. Build up your email list.

The larger your network, the more money you’ll be able to raise, so start building now! Go to networking events, join online communities, and treat yourself to a co-working space membership (because IRL connections are where it’s at). Start telling your friends and family about your campaign early on. Encourage people to join your email list to stay in the know and keep them updated on your progress. Then, when your campaign goes live, they’ll be ready to support you!

3. Hone your pitch.

Your pitch is the foundation of your marketing strategy for your campaign (and your business).  You need to be very clear on the problem you are solving and how your product or service solves this problem. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel and sound when you’re ready to start asking for money. People want to be able to believe what you’re saying so don’t give them any reason not to. If you know you can’t hone alone, get out there and find professionals who can help you.

4. Establish your brand.

What do you need in order to crowdfund on iFundWomen? You need to have a website along with a style guide and social handles. Establish your presence and make sure your brand is consistent. Need some help with this part? We have a ton of marketing, branding & social media specialists within our network. Join our Slack network and let the community know what you need.

5. Set realistic goals.

As you start planning when to launch your campaign, set attainable, actionable goals for yourself. Choose a target number for your email list, the amount of events you want to attend, and followers on your social media.


When you’re thinking about your campaign goal amount, ask yourself these two things:

  • What is the minimum amount I need to raise to execute the next step for my business? If you’re manufacturing the first order of your accessories line, how much do you need for an initial production run? If you’re launching an online course, what’s the minimum amount you need to develop and publish that content?

  • What is the size of my network? If you know 100 people, you probably shouldn’t set a goal of $300K.  Instead, if you know 100 people, and on average you think they’ll contribute $50, somewhere around $7K is going to be a great place to start.

Luckily, we have an amazing, free tool that you can use for all of this planning: Our Coaches Playbook. Use it to write out your pitch, evaluate your network, build a rewards strategy and determine an appropriate goal amount.

Bonus: Sign up for iFundWomen for more tools and support!