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Startups and investors are turning to micromobility subscriptions



Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murky path to profitability for shared electric micromobility, an increasing number of companies have turned to subscriptions. It’s a business model that some founders and investors argue hits the profit center sweet spot — an approach that appeals to customers who are wary of sharing as well as paying upfront to own a scooter or e-bike, all while minimizing overhead costs and depreciation of assets.

Many investors think the subscription model will broaden the micromobility market, positioning it essentially as a software-as-a-service business, which achieves a higher multiple.

Across the United States, Europe, some of Canada and at least one Middle Eastern city, existing mobility companies are adding a subscription business line to their repertoire, and entirely new companies are being formed on the basis of the hardware-as-a-service model. But will this new playbook push the unit economics of micromobility in a positive direction? And what will determine which companies win at the subscription game?

In general, subscriptions for everything from groceries and streaming video to exercise equipment and clothing are on an upward slope. Subscription businesses are expected to grow at a rate of 30% this year, according to a 2021 study by digital services monetization company Telecoming.

Micromobility vendors keen to follow other industries into this model are focused on several factors, according to experts following the industry: the ease of scaling, return on investment and cost-per-mile to operate.

“Subscription services for a single vehicle are far more interesting and scalable than the subscription model that was trialed by the shared mobility services,” Oliver Bruce, angel investor and co-host of the Micromobility Podcast with Horace Dediu, told TechCrunch. “The cost per kilometer is just an order of magnitude smaller, and it’s not constrained by citywide caps.”

Shawn Carolan, managing director at Menlo Ventures, is also bullish on the micromobility subscription model because it makes more sense for the consumer, as most people will prefer to pay a low monthly fee rather than a higher upfront fee.

“The best customers are repeat customers, commuters or local neighborhood trips,” Carolan said. “Repeatedly paying per ride is both expensive and cognitively taxing. People want low friction in transportation. Getting from here to there shouldn’t require a lot of thought.”

The key players: E-bikes

Bird and Lime might dominate the shared micromobility space, but they’re not leading the subscription market, largely because their bikes and scooters are built to be heavier and more robust in order to handle city usage. Their operating systems are also designed to manage fleets and keep the vehicles in specific territories within a city. Bird and Spin have announced intentions to offer subscriptions, but so far there’s only been a chance to sign up for a waitlist.

Meanwhile, subscription services tend to offer lighter-weight vehicles that can be carried up flights of stairs or even folded down.

Swapfiets, the bike-sharing company with the distinctive blue front wheel, is one of the pioneers in the world of bike-sharing. In 2015, Richard Burger, Martijn Obers and Dirk de Bruijn started the Dutch company as university students in Delft when they realized that owning a bike could be somewhat of a hassle. The Netherlands is renowned for having more bicycles than people, but that doesn’t make it any easier to buy, sell and maintain them, especially with such high fees at bike shops.

“We asked how we could shift this and get only benefits from using a bike to go from A to B and not have all this hassle,” Burger told TechCrunch. “And for us, the subscription model was really the realization that would fix that.”

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Dmytro Shymkiv On Health Tech Prospects



The Ukrainians can freely join start-up programs and take part in investigations in order to experience new possibilities of medicine. This is an opinion of Dmytro Shymkiv, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Darnitsa Group, expressed by him at Health Tech Talk panel discussion organized by the European Business Association with the support of Darnitsa and Philips companies.

The top manager said with confidence that the Health Tech rapid development across technology, medicine and pharmaceutics had made prophylaxis and treatment of many diseases more available. Nowadays patients can choose among multiple monitoring tools of health biomarkers and early diagnosis of disease gradually formed herewith. Another trend is to use artificial intelligence and machine learning that make it possible to process accumulated information along with biodata and give recommendations. It refers to cardiology, muscular condition, pressure parameters and other things.

According to Shymkiv, twenty-four-hour health state monitoring of millions of people will result in accumulation of a large database analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI). New possibilities are open when it is applied. In particular, Darnitsa, Pharmaceutical Company, studies the AI implementation to improve business operations overall and investigations in patients’ adherence to treatment.

The managers of Darnitsa Group consider artificial intelligence to apply it in silico investigations. There are no respective platforms developed in Ukraine yet, and specialists of the company study experience of the USA. Darnitsa’s second development trend is to search for new ways of use of the already known molecules.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the pharmaceutical concern emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic had speeded up telemedicine development. In Ukraine there are start-ups that invest in that. On the whole, it increased by 35%-40% under the influence of the coronacrisis. A doctor’s visit will become a thing of the past, and a primary consultation “via a computer network” will be absolutely real. It will solve another problem, that is shortage of physicians all over the world. However, correct diagnosis is known to be a part of success. Often patients need long term therapy or surgical intervention. In that case, the future is in medical robots according to Dmytro Shymkiv.

Among other important trends the top-manager of Darnitsa Group mentioned the so-called personalized drugs that are systems to identify individual dosages and dynamics of drug treatment being tested in Ukraine as well according to Dmytro Shymkiv. The digital therapeutic trend is also relevant, when in addition to medicines and procedures patients are prescribed mobile applications, which functions can be to track and correct such psychological conditions as posttraumatic syndrome, in particular. Nowadays such applications are already used in treatment of neurosis, for example. They track a sleep stage or tranquilize brain with a specially developed game.

Dmytro Shymkiv said that all top international pharmaceutical companies have branches engaged in digiceuticals. And Darnitsa Group is not an exclusion. Its managers study start-ups and possibilities of partnership. According to the top manager’s forecast, Darnitsa will not only offer pills and infusions but also healing applications after a while.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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The Evolution in Video Production Technology is Seeing the Rise of Hollywood Films Located in London



With the aid of a great video production company in London, companies can benefit from receiving expert advice and benefit from the latest technology to capture and direct the footage required to create videos.

Nowadays, filming in London is becoming  popular and is making its mark on the silver screen. Movie directors and studios are flocking to London to shoot pivotals scenes and make the most of the technology at their disposal.

London is such a multicultural city featuring historical landmarks that have prominently featured on our screens and one of the famous landmarks being frequently used for filming are London’s various underground stations.

Let’s take a look at why London is one of the most famous filming locations in the world and how it helps promote the film industry, particularly during this post-pandemic era, as well as how it’s getting the sector functioning once again.


Producers need to ensure all staff members are comfortable and enjoying their time away from home when relocating potentially hundreds of people during filming. It is not just the filming hours that need to be considered for the crew and cast.

For every taste, London has activities and an atmosphere to offer. From gardens to theatre and shopping to the museum and busy nightlife. The time off is as important as the working hours, and no one would likely complain about staying a few days, weeks or even months in this wonderful city.

Years of History

More than ever, the last decade has witnessed the popularity of period dramas. The Hollywood and US would be very happy if they have in their possession the historical sites and grounds that London offers. Unfortunately, we can’t compare the history of the UK to that of LA, as the history of LA is nowhere near the history of the UK.

London offers the perfect backdrop for historical pieces, from grand country estates and palaces to modest Tudor cottages. London has it, no matter the need.

Available Actors

Every film will always need extras or last-minute stand-ins to say a couple of lines, even though the main cast list is typically predetermined before filming starts.

Filmmakers have an extensive pool of talent to choose from, with over 36 drama schools located in London alone, plus video production company London. All available within a tube or miles stops of most locations.

There is always a vast array of talent available, coupled with different video production agencies. All you need is just a quick phone call away, with the Westend being home to some of the biggest talents the UK has to offer and many actors residing in London.

The Best Equipment and Crew

Equipment hires businesses are plentiful due to the growing popularity of video production agency London. It is costly flying equipment around the world. And that aside, there is the risk of damage to cameras or other tools during transit, which can lead to delays in filming.

This could be anything such as the realization that a different kind of lighting is needed for a particular scene at the last minute, or the camera malfunctioning. In most cases, an engineer can be on site.

To add, it might be difficult to find a good technical crew. But in London, whether it is hired from a third party, freelance, or on a payroll, London is a famous hub for a film crew. The London-based filmed crew are renowned for their passion for their art, knowledge and work ethic.


Europe is a hub of creative talents. However, these talents are scattered across the countries in Europe. The popularity of London in Europe makes it a perfect location to collate and collaborate with the best of the best. In addition to alleviating some of the language barriers cast and crew may have elsewhere, it is also a short journey from mainland Europe.

English is the most widely spoken language among non-native speakers. This means that the likelihood of everyone involved being able to communicate is higher.

Saving Finances

It is worthy of note that the biggest blockbuster sticks to budget. This is the reason why the opportunity to save cost without compromising the quality of the film is what any producer would jump at.

There is tax relief for any production that chooses to film within the borders of London, with up to 25% savings. This is one of the reasons London is a popular choice, and attractive to video producers in and outside London.

Further, the UK government offers other incentives. Producers can claim between 20-25 % of all the wages they pay their talents. This includes crew members, health and safety personnel, and actors.

Generally, the financial benefits and the popularity of video production in London is helping to boost the film industry, from small indie productions to big blockbusters.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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Extra Crunch roundup: Here’s everything you missed at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021



If that headline sounded judgmental, I apologize.

We just wrapped up a three-day virtual event that included discussions and interviews with some of the most notable people in technology, media, government and venture capital.

Even in person, there’s no way to absorb Disrupt in its entirety.

Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members
Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription

Normally, I would use this space to spotlight an article we published in the last few days, but our content management system runneth over. Many reporters filed stories recapping the interviews and panels they conducted at Disrupt, and there will be more to come in the next few days.

As you review the summaries below, please note that there’s a video at the bottom of every Disrupt story that includes the panel and interview.

Thanks very much for reading, and congratulations to the entire TechCrunch team for a job very well done!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

Duolingo doesn’t want to disrupt the college degree

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn has appeared at TechCrunch Disrupt before, but this year was his first time representing a public company.

A few months ago, reporter Natasha Mascarenhas described Duolingo’s debut as the “bellwether edtech IPO of the year,” so she was well-equipped with questions about the company’s plans for boosting revenue. For example, is premium content in the cards?

“If we wanted to make more money in the short-term, we could probably start paywalling things, but I think that would stifle our growth,” von Ahn says.

“If we start charging for some aspects of language learning, eventually we’re just gonna charge for everything.”

Here’s a recap, along with a video that captures the entire interview.

The whole package: How plastics and sustainability startups achieve success

Designer sketching drawing design Brown craft cardboard paper product eco packaging mockup box development template package branding Label . designer studio concept . (Designer sketching drawing design Brown craft cardboard paper product eco packaging

Image Credits: Cavan Images / Getty Images

The amount of plastic pouring into our oceans is set to triple by 2040, and most un-recycled plastic in the world is generated by consumer packaged goods.

As people look to minimize the waste they produce, startups are coming up with novel solutions to help people and companies meet sustainability goals.

Editor-at-Large Mike Butcher spoke with:

  • Svanika Balasubramanian, co-founder and CEO, rePurpose Global
  • Brian Bushell, co-founder and CEO, by Humankind
  • Lauren Singer, founder and CEO, Package Free

SEC Regional Director Erin Schneider talks SPACs, Coinbase and what startups could do better

SEC logo over pattern of cryptocurrency icons

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Connie Loizos asked Erin Schneider, regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s San Francisco office, about crypto lending and the potential for new regulations covering SPAC companies and NFTs, but Schneider was clear from the outset that she was limited in what she could say.

“She did, however, share insight into her personal thinking about a range of these issues, which, given her position, seems very much worth knowing,” writes Connie.

Can the path to equitable healthcare avoid insurers?

Tablet pc in doctor's office

Image Credits: Tetra Images / Getty Images

The U.S. healthcare system is a contentious topic, an uncomfortable truth that became evident when Darrell Etherington moderated a conversation with Cityblock Health president and co-founder Toyin Ajayi, Forward CEO and founder Adrian Aoun, and Carbon Health‘s Eren Bali.

“We keep saying that these companies are kind of consumer-centric,” Aoun says.

“But in many ways I think one of the things that you realize is that when you get in bed with the insurance companies, which, whether it’s a Carbon or a Cityblock, at the end of the day, [if] you get in bed with the insurance companies, unfortunately, your incentive is basically not to go build a good consumer product.”

Said Darrell: “Let’s just say this conversation got heated — fast.”

Peter Beck says Rocket Lab actively prepared for interplanetary missions ‘from day one’

RocketLab's "As the Crow Flies" Electron rocket launch

Image Credits: Sam Toms and Simon Moffatt

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck told Senior Editor Devin Coldewey that his own ambition to explore and learn from space goes back to his youth.

“I always felt that, if I could have the opportunity to go out into those stars and explore and perhaps ask or answer, one of the biggest questions in mankind’s history — ‘Are we the only life in the universe or not?’ — I would take that chance,” Beck says.

AI luminary Kai-Fu Lee and sci-fi author Chen Qiufan predict the future in ‘AI 2041’

long exposure stars with silhouetted figure

Image Credits: Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash

Where will today’s technologies lead us over the next 20 years, and what will an AI-infused world look like across the globe?

Sinovation founder and AI thought leader Kai-Fu Lee and breakout sci-fi author Chen Qiufan (aka Stanley Chen) make an educated guess in “AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future,” a set of stories and essays that explore AI’s potential and pitfalls.

After reading the book, Senior Editor Devin Coldewey talked with Lee and Chen about how the collaboration came about, how their points of view coincided and differed, and why they think the future will be how they describe it.

Peloton CEO John Foley on the changing face of connected fitness

Person riding Peloton bike plus, living room

Image Credits: Peloton

Peloton CEO John Foley discussed broader safety issues with the category, noting that the unfortunate circumstances behind a recent recall forced the company to take a closer look at product safety, as well as whether the company will maintain its pandemic-boosted growth as cities reopen.

“We’re seeing a lot more people get excited about Peloton and say, ‘I’m not going back to the gym, the gym was a failed model. It was a failed contract between the member and the business, and actually, I didn’t go to the gym. It wasn’t convenient, I didn’t want to go drive somewhere and shower outside my home and take that extra time away from my family,’” the CEO says.

It turns out fintech is worth as much as SaaS

Alex Wilhelm has spilled much ink about the Toast IPO in recent weeks, but he kept at it Thursday, comparing the debut of the Boston-based software-and-payments company to Remitly’s Wednesday evening flotation.

Seattle-based fintech Remitly, like Toast, priced above its proposed range.

“At $43 per share, Remitly is valued less like a fintech company with gross margins in the 50% to 60% range and more like a middle-tier public SaaS firm, flush with recurring revenues and net-dollar retention north of 100%,” Alex writes.

“The lesson from today’s public markets appears to be that revenue growth matters more than near-term margins for fintech companies, allowing them to secure valuations that far surpass their final private marks.”

Dear Sophie: What’s the difference between IEP and the latest proposed startup visa?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

What’s the difference between International Entrepreneur Parole and the latest proposed startup visa?

Do you think the startup visa will become a reality? If so, when?

— Financial Founder

Latin America’s second wave of digital transformation

Digital World

Image Credits: blackdovfx (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

“When we first shared LatAm’s digital acceleration story in last year’s Latin America Digital Transformation Report, we believed we were at the peak of digital growth catalyzed by the pandemic,” Julio Vasconcellos, the managing partner of Latin America-focused VC fund Atlantico, writes in a guest column.

“But with 2021 came all the second- and third-order effects of the crisis, further accelerating a continentwide tech expansion to a pace beyond any projections.”

Vasconcellos breaks down the details from this year’s report. Just one eye-popping stat: Eight new unicorns have already been minted in the region this year, nearly hitting the 2020 rate by midyear.

What Canva CEO Melanie Perkins looks for in a potential acquisition

person using Canva platform on mobile phone and desktop

Image Credits: Canva

Design software startup Canva has experienced “staggering growth,” Managing Editor Jordan Crook writes in a recap of her conversation with Canva CEO Melanie Perkins.

With a fresh $200 million and a $40 billion valuation, could Canva utilize acquisitions to continue that explosive growth?

“As a company with huge goals — to empower anyone in the world to design, and as a result of that, to become one of the most valuable companies in the world — anyone who helps Canva ‘leapfrog’ toward those goals is particularly interesting as an acquisition target,” Jordan wrote of her chat with the CEO.

How Calendly is building a platform by turning scheduling into a center-stage event

Image Credits: Calendly

Ingrid Lunden began with a simple question when she sat down with Calendly founder and CEO Tope Awotona: If the product works well, how do you take it to the next level — and frankly, why should you?

Calendly raised $350 million at a $3 billion valuation earlier this year, but little has changed despite the infusion of cash.

“The question I had at the time [of that funding round] was, will the company take it as a distraction and become enamored with the publicity that comes with that? Or will we stay focused and continue to work really hard for our customers and partners and ourselves?” Awotona says.

“Nine months later, it’s very clear that we’ve done the latter. Our culture and values have more or less remained the same.”

Microsoft now more focused on ‘killing Zoom’ than Slack, says Stewart Butterfield

photo illustration of salesforce tower with white clouds and slack logo pattern

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield and Salesforce COO Bret Taylor discussed their $28 billion merger, how they’re integrating the two companies, and the ongoing competition it faces from Microsoft Teams, which has grown faster than Slack, and which Butterfield once said was “unhealthily obsessed with killing Slack.”

“Over the last year, maybe even 18 months, I think Microsoft’s preoccupation with Slack has shifted somewhat to a preoccupation with killing Zoom, because Teams turns out to not really [be] so much of a direct competitor,” Butterfield says.

Twitter’s Rinki Sethi on why CISOs win when security is a shared responsibility

illustration of twitter logo, padlock pattern and shields

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

When is the right time to hire someone to oversee a company’s security efforts?

In an interview with Security Editor Zack Whittaker, Twitter CISO Rinki Sethi talked about the modern role of a chief information security officer and how the next generation of CISOs can stay ahead.

“I’m not going to be the security idealist and say you need to invest in security before the product or business features, but I think there’s a really strong balance,” Sethi says. “If you think about building security right from the beginning, I think you do have a really strong competitive advantage.”

Indications of a hot market abound as Freshworks, Toast price IPOs

Alex Wilhelm could not be more adamant: The market is so hot right now.

For Wednesday’s Exchange, he backed it up with numbers, noting that Toast and Freshworks both priced above raised per-share price ranges.

“If you are looking for an indication that it’s a good time to go public, this is it.”

For Bio​​NTech, the COVID-19 vaccine was simply the opening act

The COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is translated to the viral spike protein in a ribosome

Image Credits: selvanegra / Getty Images

It took a global pandemic for BioNTech to become a household name: The technology it had been plugging away at meant it “happened to be positioned extremely well to use its mRNA technology to address the novel coronavirus, in part because it already had a partnership in place with Pfizer to develop a flu inoculation.”

BioNTech co-founder and CEO Uğur Şahin spoke with News Editor Darrell Etherington about the company’s start and its “broader vision,” which extends beyond the use of mRNA.

“Ultimately, BioNTech’s mission is to make treatments that are optimized not only to specific patient needs, but also to time and place,” Etherington writes in a recap for Extra Crunch. “All the treatments in the company’s pipeline are about refining the approach to addressing disease, making the process much more like a metaphorical scalpel than a bludgeon.”

“We can develop classical pharmaceuticals like a vaccine [in the case of COVID], but on the other side, also really continue to follow our vision,” Şahin says.

Seth Rogen explains how Houseplant promotes cannabis without breaking the rules

Houseplant weed and container

Image Credits: Houseplant

Many celebrities have turned their personal interests into thriving commercial concerns: Ryan Reynolds owns Aviation Gin, Jessica Alba founded nontoxic goods startup The Honest Company, and George Clooney will earn as much as $1 billion for selling his tequila company.

This year, actor Seth Rogen co-founded Houseplant, which sells pottery, cannabis and related accessories.

“We’ve sold house goods in all 50 states at this point,” Rogen explained. “That’s us, developing a relationship and trust with customers in places where weed is not legal yet.”

In a conversation with Managing Editor Matt Burns, Rogen, CEO Mike Mohr and chief commercial officer Haneen Davies discussed some of the challenges of brand-building within the confines of a strict regulatory environment.

“I think the merger of house and plant is what’s going to help us establish a brand name that goes beyond the limiting restrictions you have to abide by to communicate cannabis,” Davies says.

WarnerMedia’s Andy Forssell discusses a fascinating first year for HBO Max

HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation

Image Credits: Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

No one roots for a global pandemic, but WarnerMedia launched HBO Max just as cities and states across the U.S. restricted in-person gatherings as COVID-19 spread.

In many ways, the service seemed well-positioned, even in a crowded sector. HBO Max brought decades of critically acclaimed series, coupled with pricey acquisitions like the “Friends” and “South Park” back catalogs.

COO Andy Forssell joined TechCrunch Disrupt to discuss the fascinating 17.5 months of the service’s life so far:

“The early impacts were all negative, though, I think we, along with everyone in the industry, learned to roll with them,” he says. “Everybody had to work from home. That was tough, though I think we made the transition better than everyone thought. We were at launch mode at that point.”

How Ryan Reynolds mastered authentic marketing

Ryan Reynolds Mint Mobile

Image Credits: Guy Aroch

Most people know Ryan Reynolds from his movies, but he also owns a majority stake in Mint Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator, which has grown more than 50,000% in the past three years. And he also invested in Aviation Gin before selling it for a staggering $600 million last year.

He’s also a founder of Maximum Effort, the marketing firm that promotes the “Deadpool” franchise, Aviation Gin, Mint Mobile, and that viral ad featuring Satan and the year 2020 as a match made in hell.

He spoke to Jordan Crook about how startups can adapt his concept of “fast-vertising” to use real-time cultural moments as a springboard for building their own brand buzz, among other things.

“When we lead with creative and we have an idea or are inspired by something, we get quite aggressive with our excitement and try to make something infectious around it,” Reynolds says.

Latin America finds a champion in SoftBank Group International CEO Marcelo Claure

Latin America

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Since first announcing it was planting a stake in the ground in the region in early 2019, SoftBank has plugged more than $5 billion into Latin America and expects that number to top $8 billion by year’s end.

Its capital contributions are meaningful. In 2019, startups across Latin America raised $5.3 billion in funding, according to CB Insights. In 2020, they raised roughly the same amount.

This year, the pace of dealmaking has shifted into overdrive, with $9.3 billion being invested in Latin American startups in the first six months of the year. SoftBank Group CEO Marcelo Claure believes that by 2023, close to $30 billion will be invested in the region annually.

“Finally, the world has realized that Latin America has size,” Claure, a native of Bolivia, said this week at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Bootstrapping in 2021 goes a long way

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim have spent a lot of time unpacking this year’s staggering venture capital numbers, but they ended the week with a look at the value of startups eschewing VC.

“After all, not all successful startups are in a good position to IPO, and we are facing an IPO traffic jam that even SPACs are failing to solve,” they write.

“But funded unicorns can’t escape it: They need to provide liquidity to their investors, and it’s too late for them to pursue a different route. Their bootstrapped counterparts, in contrast, have options.”

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Aiming to create a gender-equitable startup landscape?



When it comes to gender equality in the business world, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg hit the nail on the head: “Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.”

While access to opportunities, funding and support has improved for women in the startup space over the last couple of decades, there is still a long way to go. In fact, women early-stage entrepreneurs receive an average of $1 million less in funding than men do, despite performing better on average. Leaders across the board openly advocate for female-founded businesses receiving more venture capital and entrepreneurship support, but few are taking decisive actions to close this glaring gender gap.

The problem lies not in the fact that women don’t want to build million-dollar businesses, but in the disconnect between our dreams and the industry support we receive — or lack thereof. As the world embraces a new way of working and strategizes for a post-pandemic world, it’s vital to investigate new ways of supporting women’s entrepreneurship. Here are the key questions that we need to ask — and how we can go about resolving them.

What are the systemic difficulties that women face today?

Few business leaders will openly state that they have little interest in a more gender-equal world. However, the gap between intention and outcome illustrates that nowhere near enough decisive action has been taken to make this the case.

Women founders face obstacles across the board. Even in my industry of environmentally and socially conscious brands, women leaders are worse off than their male counterparts: This 2020 Vegan Women Summit founder survey found that 45% of respondents have faced bias while fundraising and 75% say they have dealt with gender bias specifically. Women have historically been asked different questions by VCs than their male counterparts, and, as a result, are seen as less ambitious and less focused on potential gains.

Even before decision-makers have met women job applicants, their subconscious bias is already coming into play. In this study, acceptance rates of women candidates rose from 18% to 30% by obscuring the gender in the application.

Women working in technology often face assumptions and questions about their family life, marital status and children, which leaders and VCs may consider to be obstacles to their progress within a company or a limit to their potential as a founder.

Combating these inequities requires a concerted effort from VCs and company leaders to invite more women into decision-making positions.

One way to do this would be to apply for B Corporation certification, making it essential for the company to work toward reducing inequality in its workforce. Another would be to introduce diversity quotas for women in leadership positions — an approach that has seen success since its legal implementation in California.

How can we better support women to grow their companies?

Women are consistently losing out when it comes to accelerator backing and VC support. In Chile, where I founded my company, 77% of women entrepreneurs use their own savings as financing, while only 14% have obtained co-financing from state or private programs.

In my experience, while many groups attempt to improve the inclusion and representation of women, the majority of them fail to move beyond conversation and superficial resolutions.

For example, a commonly cited solution for more women founders in tech is to encourage more women to study STEM subjects. This is a start, but it seems that the issue requires more than simply adding women to the funnel. Instead, we need to better understand what’s holding women back from growing their businesses to their full potential.

Women lose out time and time again when it comes to startup funding. We need to better support women through the entire startup lifecycle, from seed to IPO, especially when it comes to raising external capital.

One initiative that’s doing important work in this area is Start-Up Chile’s The S Factory, a pre-acceleration program specifically for female entrepreneurs that provides selected startups with mentoring, pitch training and workshops, along with a cash injection of $15,000. These types of initiatives should be expanded from seed to provide support for Series A, B and C rounds through IPO.

Given that women often lack access to the same networking and mentoring opportunities that men are privy to in the tech world, organizations like TheNextWomen, a global network of women-founded companies and female investors, are essential. TheNextWomen helps female founders benefit from a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors through knowledge-driven programs and inspirational events. Women Tech Founders also champions the value of female-only networks, aiming to connect, inspire and advance women in tech through events and online resources.

These communities can be fundamental for women entrepreneurs and other women tech leaders seeking to build a support system around them and gain the skills necessary to grow their businesses.

How do we fix funding?

The lack of diversity at VC funds is stark and remains an overwhelmingly contributing factor to the disproportionately low amount of VC funding that women receive — a number that is not improving. In fact, in the U.S., only 4.9% of VC partners are female, and in Europe, the picture isn’t much better: 83% of U.K. firms have no women on their investment committees. It’s no surprise then that 93% of tech investment in Europe goes to companies with no female founders.

To fix funding, we need investors with a gender-neutral lens, evidenced by metrics that measure their progress on diversity and inclusion. On average, startups founded or co-founded by women generate 10% more in cumulative revenue over five years — yet they receive less than half the average investment of men. These statistics will be key in demonstrating that investing in women is not taking a risk — in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What’s more, female-focused investors are emerging as a way to lift women-founded companies and level the playing field. For example, the Female Founders Fund recently closed its third fund valued at $57 million, making it the biggest seed fund for women in the world.

In Asia, many investors are also seeing the value in backing women-led companies — and reaping the rewards. Over 90% of SoGal Ventures’ portfolio companies have female co-founders, and the fund has generated an internal rate of return of over 80% over the last four years. Initiatives like these can help level the playing field for women and provide them with the opportunities to fulfill their potential.

When it comes to fixing the gender divide in the startup world, there’s no silver bullet. Closing the gap requires a concerted effort from all sides of the industry, from founders to investors.

Only by leaving behind inclusivity lip service and taking decisive actions to bring women into funds and encourage them as founders will we start to achieve gender equity in the startup world.

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