Viewing entries tagged
pitch competition

How SheFly Raised $50K on iFundWomen and Then Kept Winning

Charlotte Massey & Georgia Grace Edwards,  iFundWomen  Alumni & Co-Founders of SheFly

Charlotte Massey & Georgia Grace Edwards, iFundWomen Alumni & Co-Founders of SheFly

Georgia Grace Edwards, Bianca Gonzalez, and Charlotte Massey founded SheFly with the firm belief that everyone deserves to answer nature’s call without baring their bums to mosquitos, cold winds, cactus pricks, or even other people. So these Vermont-based co-founders invented a layerable line of outdoor pants, allowing for a comfortable, safe, and easy way for women to relieve themselves in the outdoors.

It all started when Georgia Grace worked as one of a handful of women glacier guides on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. Spending 8–12 hours a day on the ice, Georgia Grace realized the serious disadvantage she faced when it came to using the bathroom on the glacier. In comparison to the guys, whose flies allowed them to simply turn around to answer nature's call, she was forced to trek across crevasses until she could find privacy, completely remove 3–4 layers in sub-zero temperatures, do her thing, put it all back on, and hike back. It was a waste of time and energy, and it often left her feeling cold for hours after, to the point where she started cutting her water consumption—a story not uncommon among women adventurers in group settings or cold environments. 

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At that point, Georgia Grace knew this was no longer just a “me problem,” this was a “she problem.” After all, 1 in 3 women have reported having a pee-your-pants accident outside. That’s right. Grown women, peeing their pants (and you can hear more about these stats and the SheFly story by checking out SheFly’s TedX talk). Enter the solution to the pants patriarchy: SheFly.

SheFly hiking pants

SheFly hiking pants

After a year of  pitching, prototyping, patenting, and getting press, the SheFly team was ready to crowdfund. The timing could not have been better as iFundWomen Vermont had just launched in partnership with Governor Phil Scott.  iFundWomen is the only crowdfunding ecosystem designed specifically for female entrepreneurs and this local cohort was a unique opportunity for female entrepreneurs to raise capital for their startups and small businesses in the State of Vermont. 

Not only was the SheFly team ready to raise money on iFundWomen, but they knew that, in order to successfully bring SheFly to market through a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, they needed to lean into the expert coaching and community that iFundWomen had to offer.  It was no secret that those who take advantage of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching services raise 22x the crowdfunding industry average. So, Georgia Grace, Bianca and Charlotte invested in dedicated crowdfunding coaching and utilized the iFundWomen Method Playbook to ensure that they were ready to get the $15K they set out to raise.

It was no secret that those who take advantage of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching services raise 22x the crowdfunding industry average. So, Georgia Grace, Bianca and Charlotte invested in dedicated crowdfunding coaching and utilized the iFundWomen Method Playbook to ensure that they were ready to get the $15K they set out to raise.

On March 14, 2019, SheFly launched their iFundWomen Vermont campaign and, as a result of all of their hard work and dedication to doing the crowdfunding prep work, 5 days later, they were funded. At that point, there was no stopping this funding exPEEdition. Georgia Grace and her team decided to introduce a stretch goal of $25K and 5 weeks later, they had raised over $50K (and more than tripled their original goal) to produce their first official line of SheFly hiking pants, with hundreds of pairs pre-sold through their campaign.

SheFly iFundWomen funded campaign

SheFly iFundWomen funded campaign

SheFly now had the funds needed to manufacture their signature hiking pant in partnership with a fair trade and zero-waste facility, and had also become qualified to participate in the iFundWomen Vermont Pitch Experience - a virtual pitch competition hosted by iFundWomen where entrepreneurs who had reached their crowdfunding goals through the local cohort would have yet another opportunity to infuse more cash into their businesses. Thanks to iFundWomen Vermont sponsors Milk Money VT, The Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Works, Mamava and Dagne Dover, there was $3,500 on the line (plus a Dagne Dover backpack - the perfect accessory for an entrepreneur on the go!). 

On July 16, 2019, the virtual pitch event took place and SheFly was joined by three other female-led businesses that were funded through the iFundWomen Vermont cohort: StrollRunner (founded by Heather Dalton), Subject Swim (founded by Rachel Moss), and Birdhous (founded by Jes Scribner).

Each founder brought her A-game and pitched to a selection of expert judges from the Vermont area - Meg Smith, Director, Vermont Women’s Fund; Christine Dodson, Co-Founder & COO, Mamava, and Louisa Schibli, Co-Founder, Milk Money VT.

The caliber of pitches heard from the four founders was exceptional and choosing a winner was no easy task for the judges, but in the end there was one company that did an outstanding job at presenting the problem, solution, market opportunity, business model and traction for their product thus far. That company was SheFly!

SheFly  presenting at the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience on July 16th, 2019

SheFly presenting at the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience on July 16th, 2019

iFundWomen was thrilled to announce SheFly as the winners of the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience live on Facebook and Instagram, and we encourage all female entrepreneurs out there, whether you are ideating, prototyping, launching, or pivoting, to take a page from these pee empowered founders - get out there, get coached, and get funded.

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….