At a Fast Company Innovation Festival panel about the growing number of women leading fintech companies, Ellevest founder Sallie Krawcheck, BBG Ventures founder Susan Lyne, and theBoardlist VP Lesley Grossblatt spoke about a characteristic women often bring to finance and business decisions: pragmatism.
“[Unlike men], women aren’t investing to try to beat the SMP or to make more money,” Krawcheck said. “They’re goal-oriented: They want to buy a home or start a business.”
Lyne said it’s something she often sees in the entrepreneurs she mentors. “They’re looking at something they feel is really screwed up,” she said. “They’re laser-focused on finding a way to fix it.”
For Lyne, an entrepreneur’s fixation on solving a common problem is a key indicator of potential. “[They stand out when] they’re doing something I hadn’t really thought about before, but makes so much good sense to me when I hear it,” she said.
Lyne cited her recent investment in HopSkipDrive, the Uber-like car service for kids that requires each driver to have child-care experience. The company was started by three working mothers with eight children between them. Recognizing that their business could serve as an alternative to a nanny, the founders priced the service at a premium.
Another recent investment for BBG Ventures is The Wing, a social club for, as Lyne put it, “women on their way.” “It’s a place you can go after work, before a meeting, or to just take a break,” she said. “The founder said she started it because she changed one too many times in a Starbucks bathroom. [I thought], there’s a clear need here.” (That founder, by the way, is Audrey Gelman.)
The Wing launched last month with 300 members and 1,400 more on the wait list.
01 / Photos: Celine Grouard for Fast Company;