Updated Mar. 3, 2017 at 7:58 a.m.

Cindy Whitehead's Pinkubator, Crowdfunder team up to promote women-led startups

Published: 2017-03-03 07:56:00
Updated: 2017-03-03 07:58:15


"We've walked a mile in your stilettos and will now walk alongside you offering access to influencers and marketing specialists that shape your strategies and success." - The Pinkubator

RALEIGH - Cindy Whitehead. the CEO who sold Sprout Pharmaceuticals for some $1 billion in 2015, and Chance Barnett, the CEO of fast-growing crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder, are teaming up in an effort to promote and help grow women-led startups.

"Money is not scarce. great entrepreneurs are," Barnett told a crowd of entrepreneurs and investors Thursday night. "When you become that scarce resource, you will find as much money as you need."

Barnett and Whitehead want as many of those "scarce" resources to be women.

The two announced their effort Thursday night at an entrepreneurial event hosted in North Hills at the recently launched Pinkubator, a startup incubator launched by Whitehead's consulting and investment firm The Pink Ceiling.

Chance Barnett, left, and Cindy Whitehead, right,“Through this partnership, our goal is to empower women across the globe and change our economic future," Whitehead explained.

"As it stands, only 7 percent of venture capital funding goes to female founders. Crowdfunder’s democratization of the equity process is changing the conventional VC landscape: people can now freely seek out ideas they connect with, especially women helping women to build great companies."

Crowdfunder, which works with startups to help raise funds through the still-evolving and fairly new crowdfunding mechanism, recently unveiled its own pay transparency and equal wage policy. According to Crowdfunder, its employee structure is more than 50 percent female, and 65 percent of its development staff is female.

“Crowdfunder’s top priority is ensuring the wellbeing of our employees, who have invested in our company both professionally and personally," Barnett explained. "The decision to implement pay transparency and equal wage was undoubtedly the right thing to do.

Cindy Whitehead and friends at the Pinkubator“We’re proud to be at the forefront of companies taking actionable measures to close the gender-wage gap. Beyond signifying mutual goodwill between Crowdfunder and its employees, the move has translated to better business results.”

The partnership will offer companies:

  • Investor connections
  • Business counseling
  • Mentorship
  • Networking

Whitehead and Barnett said their firms also want to "streamline" startups' access to Pinkubator services, which are available virtually or onsite, and Crowdfunder's investor network.

"When you have a mentor behind you," Barnett told the crowd, "investors see that as a signal of confidence."

​Pinkubator also offers seed in vestment for startups whose focus is on women's issues.

Whitehead launched Pink Ceiling last year and made an investment in Undercover Colors, a Raleigh-based startup developing technology to help fight date rape.

Talking startups at the Pinkubator"Women on a mission, we’ve built brands, companies and movements into groundbreaking successes that have a profound impact on people’s lives," the Pink Ceiling says.

"We’re here to help you do the same. Let us use that school of hard knocks, experience and insight to propel you to shatter pink ceilings.

Crowdfunder now has more than 125,000 members in its investment network and has invested $120 million in startups. More than 30,000 companies have sought funding through its platform.

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