In spite of the fact that women have made significant gains in the ecosystem of entrepreneurial activity in the country over the course of the past decade, the situation is still dismal since women continue to confront formidable obstacles.
According to Google Bain research, women own approximately 13.5–15.7 million firms in the country, which accounts for approximately 20% of all businesses. The exact number of businesses in the country is not known. The figures look fantastic, but the underlying fact is that a considerable proportion of these businesses are not “owned” nor “managed” by women. This is a big proportion of the businesses that are not owned by women.
According to figures provided by the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, just seven out of a total of one hundred entrepreneurs in India are women. Despite the fact that women have made inroads into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country over the course of the past decade, the situation is still dismal because women continue to face daunting roadblocks, which can be several notches higher than the obstacles that their male contemporaries encounter.
What do women entrepreneurs have to say?
Raising capital is almost always a challenge for a startup’s founder, but for female business owners, this challenge might feel even more insurmountable. There are a number of causes at play. Still, one of the most common ones is that investors have deeply ingrained gender biases and preconceptions that make it difficult for women-led enterprises to gain access to investment capital. According to a study that was conducted by researchers Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, and the team, venture capitalists ask different questions to men and women. The researchers found that investors tend to ask men about how they will promote success, while investors tend to ask women about how they will prevent failure. This, in turn, affects how much funding they get.
Titan Capital is a major seed-stage investment business that was formed by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. The firm has a portfolio that includes several female entrepreneurs. When analyzing a potential investment opportunity, investors need to take a new approach, according to Bipin Shah, Partner at Titan Capital. He says, “One cannot differentiate between women-led and men-led ventures.”
When considering making an investment, a person’s gender should not be one of the primary considerations. Our strategy for determining which business endeavor to put money into does not differ in any way. We look at the founder’s passion, the product’s place in the market, their approach to addressing problems, and their problem-solving talents, as well as the team’s strength and potential. When it comes to the representation of different genders, our own staff is relatively well-balanced, which is beneficial for conducting impartial reviews.
When Ghazal Alagh, co-founder of Mamaearth, first began her journey as an entrepreneur approximately six years ago, the number of women entrepreneurs who were pitching their businesses to venture capitalists was far lower. “I was regarded as an equal by Titan Capital, which was one of the first venture capital firms to invest in our business endeavor. It is not necessary to treat women in a distinct manner; rather, we should be treated on an equal footing.
“I found that regardless of gender, an entrepreneur is still an entrepreneur, and it is something that I experienced with them. They consider the concept and the passion that lies behind it, and this is what elevates them to the role of leader in their own unique way. They have been an incredible source of assistance and support for us throughout our journey as business owners.”
Pallavi Utagi, the founder of Superbottoms, explains that she had often been confronted with issues regarding how she would operate the firm on her own because there were many possible investors.
Putting out their wings
In addition to financial support, female entrepreneurship is undergoing rapid transformation, and it appears to have been particularly successful in a select number of industries. According to Surabhi Purwar, who is a Principal at Titan Capital, “Till a few years ago, companies focused on women’s health, and well-being was almost non-existent.” However, throughout the past three to four years, there has been a significant increase in the number of new businesses entering the sector. For instance, our portfolio includes companies such as Uvi Health, Oziva, and Imumz, all of which were founded or co-founded by women. Women founders are continuously recognizing unfulfilled needs that are ‘female-focused,’ and they are building solutions for those needs. However, it is important to note that their vision is not restricted exclusively to these opportunities.
According to Purwar, female business owners are playing a winning role and grabbing a higher portion of the direct-to-consumer market segment. In addition to the topic of women’s health and direct-to-consumer sales, Shah notes that digital entrepreneurship has traditionally been the domain of males; nevertheless, the barriers that once prevented women from entering the field are gradually dismantling.
However, from the perspective of business owners, particularly in the early stages of a company’s development, the value of an investor’s involvement extends far beyond the monetary contribution that they can make to an organization. In addition to this, such endeavors have a significant requirement for guidance as well as networking opportunities.