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What does it mean to be a Momtrepreneur?

Imagine waking up 6 a.m., feeding and dressing yourself, your toddlers (and your husband), preparing lunch for everyone, and then speaking with investors from Asia and entrepreneurs from Israel in the car as your youngest child complains that her “powdered” chocolate milk “just doesn’t cut it” in the back seat. Entrepreneurship leaves little time for […]

The post What does it mean to be a Momtrepreneur? appeared first on iAngels.

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Imagine waking up 6 a.m., feeding and dressing yourself, your toddlers (and your husband), preparing lunch for everyone, and then speaking with investors from Asia and entrepreneurs from Israel in the car as your youngest child complains that her “powdered” chocolate milk “just doesn’t cut it” in the back seat. Entrepreneurship leaves little time for the tenets of a normal life such as family dinners, a social life, sleep or exercise, let alone the responsibilities of being a mother. Yet every day, we wake up and find a way to balance the scales.

Finding balance between running a business and running a family requires an honest appraisal of reality. Even in the most equality-driven households, the mother is still responsible for the bulk of household maintenance. Furthermore, in Israel, women face novel challenges, such as getting a later start in the corporate world due to military obligations as well as a culture that encourages corporate meetings in the evening – the worst possible time for a mom.

To address existing prejudices and often unreasonable expectations, momtrepreneurs develop a skill set that includes context switching, multitasking, minute-to-minute efficiency, hyper focus, and transparent communications. And of course, our ability to endure sleep deprivation! Granted, many men also embody these traits; but they do so out of discipline, not necessity. As momtrepreneurs, we have no choice; either embody these qualities or entrepreneurship is not an option. 

In fact, while sitting on an investor panel, one of our colleagues admitted publicly that he expects more from female founders. Not only do we have a full-time job being a mom – caring for the kids, the house, the husband, the in-laws – but some investors also expect more from us than male founders. Personally, we do not think that a company has more or less risk depending on the founder’s gender. We believe that both men and women are equally capable of developing the skills and attributes necessary to build successful companies, and thus have a rigorous process in place to screen for the best entrepreneurs. Yet in the U.S., only 18% of all startups have a female co-founder, and 8% of Bay Area startups and 13% of New York startups that raised Series A rounds in 2015 had a woman on the founding team.

Although stats around female entrepreneurship have actually improved in the last five years, there remains much room for improvement. Both female founders and female investors are scarce: only 6% of VC partners are women and an even smaller percentage are moms. This industry is still very much a men’s club and we are set on changing that.

Our company, iAngels, employs a majority of women and we’ve invested more in women-led ventures than any other investor in Israel in the past two years. We also mentor women to inspire them hopefully to take on a similar path. But even within the platform we have built, we see the vast majority of investors are men. Despite the glass ceilings and institutional biases, women and moms are well equipped to create substantial value in technology companies. 

How ‘partnership thinking’ could change the startup ecosystem

A key driver of this value creation will come from what we call “partnership thinking.” As women entrepreneurs, partnership thinking is something we believe that we do instinctively. We’re always thinking of “alignment of interests” rather than focusing negotiations on immediate short-term gains and trying get the upper hand. 

We believe in an Israel that’s known not just as the opportunistic, deal-making, inventive Startup Nation, but also as the Partnership Nation. Partnership is one of three key principles that we are building into our company and into every deal that we back and bring forward to our network. We find entrepreneurs who aren’t just about “the next big thing in technology,” but who also know what it takes, or can learn what it takes, to build solid win/win partnerships.

Furthermore, we are happy to see the trend of hi-tech entrepreneurs focusing less on “build to exit” and more on “build to scale and stay.” This has a profoundly different impact on the economy: It’s not just “how do we create wealth for our investors and founders” who are the top 5% of society, but how we can create employment and opportunity for society as a whole. By taking the long-term approach to growth, and investing in entrepreneurial opportunities brought to us by women and other minorities, we’re growing a second family of sorts that can grow, prosper and carry these values forward to the next generation.

The kind of culture we promote as momtrepreneurs – finding balance between the frenetic pace of building a business and the nurturing yet complex challenges of building a family – is the kind of culture we want our children to accept as normal. Women, and moms in particular, can do anything they set their minds to, including being an entrepreneur, a tech expert, or an investor! We take pride in being part of the generation that finally cracks open the glass ceiling, and empowers women and mothers worldwide to flourish alongside their male counterparts.

This article originally appeared on Geektime

Source: https://www.iangels.com/2016/03/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-momtrepreneur/

Private Equity

Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures). It uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

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Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

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Benson Hill uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

The company said other strategic and ESG focused investors also participated. These included Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Emart, GS Group, Louis Dreyfus Company, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures, S2G Ventures, and additional strategic and family office investors.  (FOOD navigator-USA.com)

Benson Hill technology

Benson Hill uses biotechnology, data science, and AI to enhance the nutritional qualities, flavor, and sustainability of crops and vegetables.

The firm’s “Cloud Biology” is the fusion of data, machine learning, and AI techniques with biology. Its “CropOS” is a proprietary platform that facilitates the accessibility and actionability of Cloud Biology.

The CropOs platform uses plant phenotyping, predictive breeding, and environmental modeling algorithms to better control the plant breeding process and realize these advantages:

  • Produces plants that are highly productive, highly nutritious, and better tasting
  • Better texture
  • Reduce the number of processing steps
  • Reduce the need for additives
  • Grow plants that “do more with less,” thus boosting sustainability

The company’s work so far has been concentrated around soybeans.

Its new, ultra-high-protein (UHP) soy products spiked the interest of investors. They come from a highly productive non-GMO soybean that is rich in oleic oil content.

Use of funds

Benson Hill plans the commercial launch of the first Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in 2021, among other product launches.

It also plans to expand its team by adding top talent and continue the development of Cloud Biology and CropOS.

“As a society, we’re at a crossroads made more evident as the pandemic has revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our food system,” said Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. “Food choices that create enjoyment, make us stronger, and help preserve our environment need to be accessible to everyone, and the power of plant diversity and technology innovation can help fuel that evolution.

Related Story:   Smart Farm Technology To Take The Drudge Out of Plant Breeding

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/agtech-startup-benson-hill-lands-150m/

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Private Equity

FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock. The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products.

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FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

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Alliance Data will pay in cash and stock for the acquisition.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock.

The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including BNPL products. BNPL is a major trend now that consumers have embraced the interest-free, zero-fee facility to pay in installments. Alliance is a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty, and payment solutions. (Alliance)

Digital BNPL is particularly popular with millennials and the younger set. They prefer not to run up credit card debt and like the speed and convenience. The technology and products acquired from Bread will address this segment of the population.

Bread already has tie-ups with merchants such as online jewelry seller Noémie, the luxury watch seller Hublot and Newton Baby, the crib mattress provider.

BNPL customer experience

“Bread’s flexible, easily-integrated payment solutions, coupled with Alliance Data’s Enhanced Digital Suite, will improve the digital customer experience and support increased acquisition and checkout rates, offering the best payment product to the right consumer at pivotal moments in the customer’s online shopping journey,” Alliance said in a statement.

Alliance intends to leverage Bread’s solutions along with its own existing private label, general-purpose and commercial products.

COVID-19

Its brand partners will therefore get another advantage in the eCommerce channel, with online businesses already getting a boost from COVID-19.

“With the timing of the holiday season upon us, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and perhaps nowhere as significantly as in financial services and payments,” said Val Greer, chief commercial officer, Alliance Data.

BNPL is now crowded with cash-rich players

Payments giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced in August that it would begin offering BNPL services, recognizing that COVID-19 had triggered a dramatic increase in their popularity.

Other players in the BNPL field include Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Quadpay.

In a recent study, Tech Crunch found that PayPal had the highest retailer coverage with a presence of 65% retailers. Afterpay was a distant second at 10%, then Affirm 6%, Klarna 5%, and QuadPay 2%.

The study concluded that PayPal was primed to dominate the BNPL wars.

Related Story:   PayPal Challenges Klarna In U.K. BNPL Tussle                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alliance-data-buys-bnpl-fintech-bread-for-450m/

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Private Equity

Morgan Stanley Capital Partners completes investment into US Healthconnect

Morgan Stanley Capital Partners has completed an investment into US HealthConnect, a digital education strategies and engagement data solutions provider for the healthcare industry.

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 Morgan Stanley Capital Partners has completed an investment into US HealthConnect, a digital education strategies and

Source: https://www.altassets.net/private-equity-news/by-news-type/deal-news/morgan-stanley-capital-partners-completes-investment-into-us-healthconnect.html

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