Venture capital fund chief to Bahamian women: become entrepreneurs

Venture capital fund chief Gillian Muessig encouraged Bahamian women yesterday to launch companies, get funded and to not shy away from becoming very wealthy.

Muessig, who spoke virtually during an International Women’s Day event at Crypto Isle, explained to attendees that women typically receive about two percent of funding during Series A 

capitalization rounds.

He also revealed that women are still underfunded compared to men in business, but their return on investment when heading a company is far more than men.

“If they get the money the women get 16 percent of the average valuations awarded to men for exactly the same deck,”  said Muessig.

“We are not talking about the same industry, we’re talking about the same company with the same pitch deck.

“The Swedes did this work for us, they gave a deck to a guy and a gal and sent them all over to go pitch their deals.

“If you had told me women were getting seven percent, I would say yeah, that’s like salaries, we’ll get on with it, we’ll get over it. Not in my lifetime, but in 157 years, we’ll see parity.

“But did you just tell me as an investor, that I can get an 84 percent discount on my initial invested capital, because of the human being who stands in front of me? Oh, you have my attention.

“Now, assuming that she does get funded, and she gets the 16 percent valuation… across the industries, women will raise an average of 44 percent of the capital raised by the guy to build the same company.

“Well, every time you raise a buck, I get diluted. So I like that you just told me 66 percent less dilution over the life of the deal. And again, she will now not only raise less capital, she will create 2.5 times the gross revenue, right, and this is actual revenue coming into her communities, than a guy in exactly the same industry.

“Oh, that’s very useful for businesses, even more useful for governments to know. And then finally, she will exit one to two years sooner than her male colleagues, maybe on average, depending on the industry.

“Well, time is a risk factor that must factor, so I like that one too. And when she does, for more than a quarter of a century, women at the helm of both private and public companies have been returning an average of 35 percent higher ROI [return on investment] through their investors.

“As an investor, where the hell do I sign?” 

She called the statistics an anomaly that nobody is paying much attention to, though she explained that women-led businesses are the “unicorns” she looks for in “uncrowded fields”.

Muessig is the chief executive officer of Outlines Venture Group and the managing director of Mastersfund, which is a global gender-lens venture capital fund.

She explained to the women at the event that launching a company and growing it through funding is a worthwhile venture, and she encouraged them to consider it.

“Never be shy, or afraid, or circumspect about becoming very wealthy from your own work,” she said.

“It will help you to help others to do it as well. Every company that we invested in at Mastersfund, the leaders agree that they would come back and do it again.

“Whether it’s through Mastersfund or forming their own fund or just investing otherwise, that’s the critical piece. Remember to pay it forward.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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