Women in tech make strides to end trends
Female founder of P2Binvestor, Krista Morgan, works to redirect startup culture
As an entrepreneur and now chief executive of P2Binvestor, Krista Morgan has first-hand experience with discrimination and gender-based challenges in the technology industry. She has faced funding issues while trying to get her company off the ground, like so many of her female peers.
The statistics are undeniable. Trends from recent years indicate only 7 percent of entrepreneurs who received funding were women. According the PitchBook data, female entrepreneurs only received $1.5 billion of venture capital funding last year, while men received the remaining $58.2 billion.
“The fact that 7 percent of venture dollars go to companies with a female founder, not even a female CEO, is abysmal,” Morgan says. “I think we should be ashamed [of] those kinds of numbers we are putting out there when there are just as many women graduating college; there are just as many women who are capable, and so yes, there is definitely is gender inequality.”
To overcome her own funding roadblocks, Morgan and her father teamed up to build credibility and raise funds through angel investors and crowdfunding.
Not only do many women face financial roadblocks, they are forced to overcome harassment and discrimination obstructions as well. A study by NBC News suggests that more than 60 percent of women in the tech industry have experienced some sort of sexual harassment during their careers. A similar report mentioned 83 percent of women in leadership roles were told by male counterparts that they were “too bossy.”
Many women in technology are stepping up and working to end this trend and redirect startup culture. With persistence and refusal to be marginalized, they are making progress that will benefit not only themselves, but young women like Ellory Jones and every self-starting, ambitious woman who endeavors to enter the entrepreneurial world.
Jones, a rising 8th grader and hopeful future innovator, recently participated in the program Girls on Fire, a summer camp that mentors young women in tech and teaches them to develop their own integrated apps. The program is funded by the University of Colorado, Boulder and various grant funding from the National Center of Women and Technology.
After weeks of work, Jones presented her color-changing, app-controlled, relaxation pillow to a group of onlookers on August 4. She took charge during the camp by mentoring younger girls as well. Her mother, Janna Jones, mentioned her daughter was hesitant to become involved at first, but thrived in the environment after working in groups with other girls.
In Colorado, businesses are teaming up with events such as Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins startup weeks, to open conversation about gender inequality. In May 2017, Boulder Startup Week offered a new forum called “Change the Ratio.” Each session focused on empowering women and working past the stigma of females in startups.
The session, Catalyzing Feminine Leadership explored the ways women in powerful positions can be more empathetic and intuitive while retaining authority and respect.
“Though there isn’t an easy solution to [gender inequality], I have some theories on how we can solve the problem; but the first step is we have to really acknowledge that there is a problem,” Morgan says. “I sometimes hear from people that the reason women are not getting funding from venture is because they are not starting the kind of companies that are a fit for venture funding, and I think that is absolutely incorrect. Women are starting awesome tech companies that could qualify for just as much funding as men, but they’re not getting it and why not? And I think it is because they are not in the right networks. We don’t have the same connections. We don’t run in those circles.”