Entrepreneur Jo Burston is hoping to “cut out the 900 cups of coffee” from the process female tech entrepreneurs usually have to go through to secure funding for their business.
The founder of Job Capital today launched a digital funding platform aimed at connecting female tech entrepreneurs with investors and venture capital funds.
The move has received a warm welcome from small business minister Bruce Billson.
“The whole process is to help them become invest ready,” Burston told SmartCompany this morning.
There are several aspects to the free platform, which has been launched under the Rare Birds brand and is housed on the existing Rare Birds website.
The first aspect is what Burston calls the “matrix” – an eight-step process that guides entrepreneurs through everything from developing the vision and values of their business to their financial strategy and even uploading a video of themselves pitching their business to potential investors.
The second aspect is a “deals room”, where those conversations with investors and funds can take place.
High-profile funds are already interested in the platform, with Scale Investors, Right Click Capital, Impact Investment Group and Springboard Enterprises Australia entering into informal partnerships with Rare Birds, which Burston says means they are open to be introduced to the entrepreneurs who jump on board.
And Burston says she is putting out a “call to action” for other funds and investors to put their hands up.
“My altruistic idea is to shift the balance to a point where we’re not just relying on typical VCs,” Burston says.
“We want a great broad range of funds and investors to suit different businesses depending on the journey they are on at the moment.”
Burston says not all deals done in the “deals room” will be purely cash-based, saying there is room for deals that combine cash with mentorship, product develop or even developing international relationships.
She says she is being careful not to attempt to offer a “one size fits all approach” and at the end of the day, it will be up to the business owners and investors to undertake the appropriate due diligence before signing the dotted lines.
And while the platform is targeted at women, male entrepreneurs can also get involved.
Burston says Rare Birds will also roll out media training resources for entrepreneurs next month, which she believes will add another dimension of support.
“I want to wrap them in as many resources as possible so they can be successful, or if not successful, it can be a learning experience,” she says.
Billson described the platform as a “wonderful initiative”.
“Jo has accurately identified one of the obstacles facing enterprising women,” he says.
“We have many outstanding women entrepreneurs that Jo has highlighted and celebrated in her [Rare Birds] book as inspirational for others but many face an obstacle around equity funding to get their idea into the air.”
“The idea that Jo has touched on – being a concierge between investors prepared to back entrepreneurs and women with strong and credible ideas is a wonderful initiative and I congratulate her.