Shebah cracks $1 million: Record-breaking numbers of women invest in two startups’ equity crowdfunding campaigns


Motherhood App founders Millie Zinner and Alice Pritchard-Davies. Source: Supplied.

Women-only ridesharing startup Shebah has passed the $1 million mark in its equity crowdfunding campaign, making it the biggest raise on the Birchal platform ever, and the first successful campaign to have more women investors than men.

In fact, a record 94% of Shebah’s equity crowdfunding investors are women.

Alongside Shebah, women-founded startup Motherhood App is also raising on the Birchal platform.

Founded by childhood friends Alice Pritchard-Davies and Millie Zinner, Motherhood is a platform facilitating last-minute childcare bookings, through a network of trusted childminders.

The startup has set out to empower women, allow a little more flexibility in parenting, because “modern motherhood is harder than it should be”, Pritchard-Davies tells StartupSmart.

“Women didn’t evolve to care for children without their tribe and their village, and the modern way of living was putting a huge strain on families,” she says.

Following an 18-month pilot in Sydney, in which Motherhood built a user-base of 5,000 people, the equity crowdfunding campaign is intended to raise enough to expand the business throughout Australia and eventually internationally.

In its Birchal campaign, Motherhood raised a total of $230,000, 115% of its investment goal.

On the morning before it closed, 49% of investors in the campaign were women.

According to data from Birchal, before these two campaigns, just 17% of investors on the platform were women. Shebah and Motherhood combined bring this average up to 29%.

Previously, Memobottle led the charge in terms of women investors, with 35%, while at the other end of the scale, eSports brand ORDER had just 6%, and Black Hops Brewery had 9% women investors.


Shebah founder and chief executive George McEncroe. Source: Supplied.

Speaking to StartupSmart when the Shebah campaign went live, founder and chief George McEncroe said part of the reason she turned to crowdfunding was to allow the drivers and passengers who are “the backbone of the company” to own a piece of it.

“I want to see our drivers and our passengers who stood by us enjoying the fruits of our labour,” she said.

“It would be interesting and fabulous to see [them] being able to grow with us and enjoy being shareholders too.”

This has also rung true for Pritchard-Davies. Motherhood is built on the power of community, and so crowdfunding seems like an obvious next step.

“Most of our community are women, and so many of the families and minders in the community have invested,” she says.

“We really believe in the power of community, whether that’s raising a family or building a business, we passionately believe we’re stronger together.”

However, she also puts the increased interest from women investors down to a wider societal shift — and to good timing.

“The launch of Motherhood has aligned with this wider societal movement of women being more vocal supporters of each other, and rejecting competitiveness and rallying hard together,” she says.

“Having this amazing crowd of supportive advocates on board early as investors is really exciting.”

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