Photo: Binta Brown
Although women have made huge strides recently, they only make up three per cent of VCs and 12 per cent of angel investors.Binta Brown is trying to fix that.
But she has a very specific goal: to help fund more women-owned tech startups. “For me, it’s actually representative of a broader point, which is that all of us really want to maximise the potential of humanity,” she tells us. “We really want to maximise the potential for prosperity and global prosperity. We have to, in every possible way, maximise the capacity of women. It’s simple maths, from my perspective, which is to say that if we are more than one half of the population, but if we are under-utilized, then the world isn’t benefiting from what we might have to offer.”
Brown explains that a lot of people want to have women-run businesses because women are consumers and it makes sense from a markets and capital perspective. But she says that what is often more relevant when trying to find the best minds, the best ideas, and the most creative solutions is that you simply cannot do so without half the population.
She explains, “If women aren’t at the table in every possible way, then the world isn’t benefiting from them because, just statistically, it can’t be the case.”
But when Brown says she wants more women in tech, she doesn’t mean to create a fun app for her iPhone. She’s thinking much bigger. “I’m talking about a technology business or a business that utilizes technology to solve a particular kind of problem or that utilizes technology to disrupt an ongoing problem that is scalable and has the capacity to generate massive revenue and employ thousands of people. I’m really not talking about somebody sitting in their apartment that can put a pretty button on my iPhone.”
To make this happen Brown says she’ll do whatever she can to help women get their feet wet. After being a mentor and advisor for women for many years both at Barnard and through non-profit fundraising, she’s more than qualified to work with driven women.
“I’m in and out of the entrepreneurial startup world all of the time. I’m always meeting people and what happens more often than not is people ask me for my advice, and my opinion, and my thoughts, and I help them,” she says. “So the ideal situation would be for me to aggregate more capital and to be in a position to make more investments and advise more companies.”
Brown says that for now she just wants to get out there and do more public speaking and business advisement. That will enable her to get her name out there and help people that could use it. “The more you do it, the more opportunities you become aware of and the more good you can do in the process,” she explains.
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