April 15, 2023

Breaking Into VC: From Media to Venture Capital - An Inspiring Story for Startups

Breaking Into VC: From Media to Venture Capital - An Inspiring Story for Startups

As a startup, getting into the venture capital (VC) world can be tough, and barriers to entry are high. But it's not just getting in - even once you're in, there are still hurdles to overcome, particularly for female founders. In this blog post, we'll explore the experiences of Tzvete Doncheva, International Investor Relations for VC firm PropTech1, as she shares her journey from media to VC, the challenges she faced, and why female founders historically receive less funding than males.

Tzvete's journey to VC wasn't planned - in fact, she stumbled upon it while working as a journalist, where she covered stories that involved startups and venture capital. Her interest in the industry grew from there, and she eventually landed a job at a PropTech startup, where she gained experience from an operator's perspective. From there, she transitioned to investor relations at PropTech1.

However, getting into VC is not easy, and Tzvete acknowledges that the industry can feel closed off to outsiders. One of the biggest barriers to entry is the lack of awareness about venture capital - many people don't know how it works, how it's used to finance high-growth startups, or even that some of their favorite companies are venture-backed. Improving awareness and education about VC can help make the industry more accessible to people from different backgrounds.

But it's not just about getting in - there are also challenges once you're there. Female founders historically receive less funding than their male counterparts, and Tzvete attributes this to a combination of factors, including unconscious bias and a lack of representation among investors. She notes that male investors may struggle to relate to female founders or their products, and that female investors are still underrepresented in the industry. Tzvete believes that more diversity among investors is crucial to addressing this issue and creating a more equitable playing field for female founders.

So, what can startups do to increase their chances of success in the VC world, especially if they're led by women? Tzvete suggests several strategies, including:

Build a strong network. As with many industries, networking is key in VC. Build relationships with investors, other founders, and mentors who can offer guidance and support.

Focus on traction. Tzvete notes that investors are often swayed by traction and momentum, so focus on building a strong user base and demonstrating growth potential.

Be persistent. VC is a tough industry, and rejection is common. But don't give up - keep pushing, iterating, and refining your pitch until you find the right investor.

Seek out diversity. Look for investors who value diversity and have a track record of supporting underrepresented founders. Tzvete notes that many VC firms now have diversity initiatives, and seeking out these firms can increase your chances of success.

In conclusion, getting into the VC world as a startup can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Improving awareness about VC, building a strong network, focusing on traction, and seeking out diversity are all key strategies for success. And as the industry continues to evolve, there is hope that more opportunities will open up for underrepresented founders, including women.

📫 Find out about each guest and be the first to know when new shows drop when subscribing to the ICL newsletter! (subscribe on right side of page). Catch the podcast interview with Tzvete Doncheva here.