Xiaoyin Qu on What’s the biggest challenge for female founders today?

"Hi guys, this is Xiaoyin Qu. I'm the founder and CEO of Run The World! I want to talk about one topic that's pretty heated recently: what are the challenges that female founders are facing when starting a company? You see, to be really honest, it's not like people look at your face and say 'Oh, what an ambitious woman. I am scared of you.'

That's not really the case, you know? The real case I think can be summarized in two words: warm intros. If you have the warm intro for the right investor, you can land your investment, you can get your money, you can get your first customer, you can get your first media coverage. But it's really hard to get that warm intro. You don't necessarily know those people, and you don't even know what kind of warm intro you could get. You didn't go to the same school as them. You didn't go to the same social circle. It's not like you have the same friends. It's not like you're engaged in the same golf tournaments.

As a result, you're just not going to get the same type of warm intro, which is going to be hard for you. So I think it's great that we're talking about all kinds of resources for women, but I do think that there needs to be a way to consistently provide women female founders with the same level of warm intros that can really help with their business.

Selfishly, when we are designing Cocktail Party, which is a speed networking format inside Run The World, I was thinking in a physical event, you know if I'm a female, would people approach me or are they more likely to go and approach somebody else that looks more similar to them. So when we are designing Cocktail Party, I want to make sure that we have a matching system that makes sure everyone has an equal opportunity of getting matched with somebody. And that has been important for me because I feel like that is one way that we can make it more fair and make women to have more warm intros."

"But that is not enough. I'm happy to be the warm intro for a lot of female founders, but I also think we need to have more programming designed around the concept of warm intros to make sure that we truly have a more level playing field for female founders"

– Xiaoyin Qu