MicroVentures, Sharp Skirts Help Women-Led Startups Find Money

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Crowdfunding investment site wants to shatter funding glass ceiling for women.

We hope to increase the visibility of the gender gap and help more women raise capital for their companies

Recognizing that women entrepreneurs often hit the glass ceiling when raising money to fund their company’s growth, MicroVenture Marketplace Inc. is partnering with Sharp Skirts to help women-led startups gain wider exposure and access to potential investors.

MicroVentures, an online peer-to-peer investment service allowing investors to invest small amounts of money in deals they might not see, is waiving the fee businesses typically pay to be reviewed and listed on the site for Sharp Skirts’ members.

In return, MicroVenture’s largely male base of 750 investors will gain access to deals they might miss from Sharp Skirts, a knowledge network for women entrepreneurs located throughout North America.

“Author and management guru Tom Peters is right when he says women are one of two of the ‘big-humongous marketplace stories’ for the next 25 years, and that the two markets are ‘pathetically misunderstood and woefully underserved,’” said Bill Clark, founder of MicroVentures.

“A startup with great potential deserves to be funded no matter who is running it,” Clark added. “We hope to increase the visibility of the gender gap and help more women raise capital for their companies.”

From 1997-2002, women-owned firms grew at twice the rate of other groups and women-owned firms continued to keep pace through the nation’s economic woes, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research.

At the same time, only 5 percent of all equity capital investments in the country go to women-owned companies. Just 3 percent get investments from venture capital, according to Babson College research.

“Those investment numbers are abysmal,” said Carla Thompson, Sharp Skirts chief executive officer and founder. “In this economy, micro-investing makes a lot of sense. Partnering with MicroVentures gives our members access to a new funding vehicle that is attracting a new breed of investor.”

Founded in 2010, MicroVentures helps entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses seeking $150,000 to $500,000 find sophisticated and accredited investors who want to invest as little as $1,000 to $10,000 per investment, through its online service.

MicroVentures’ peer-to-peer investment service, which is similar to crowdfunding, allows investors from all over the country to gain access to deals they otherwise wouldn’t see and to invest smaller amounts.

Thompson hopes women interested in investing in startups will test the waters with the MicroVentures/Sharp Skirts partnership. If successful, these women may pursue larger investments in women-led startups, she said.

Women seeking to raise capital to grow their business should register on the Sharp Skirts site and enter coupon code ‘MVsharp1’. Once registered, they will receive details on how to submit their plan to MicroVentures. Women and Sharp Skirts members interested in investing in startups can register with MicroVentures and put “sharp skirts” in the referral line.

Contact: Bill Clark, MicroVentures, 512-461-3686 or bill.clark(at)microventures(dot)com and Carla Thompson, Sharp Skirts at carla(at)sharpskirts(dot)com or 512-827-9256.

About Sharp Skirts
Sharp Skirts is a knowledge network for women entrepreneurs, an online and offline community providing tools and services to help women build smarter, more successful businesses. Based in Austin, TX, with members around North America, the Sharp Skirts brand will ultimately serve as a marker of business success, as well as support of a vital cause – increasing the amount and accomplishments of women in business.

About MicroVentures Marketplace
Based in Austin, TX,MicroVenture Marketplace Inc.’s capital model allows investors to fund startup opportunities not typically available outside a traditional venture capital structure. Using its online peer-to-peer investment service, MicroVentures creates additional investment opportunities for investors looking to make smaller commitments by pooling and connecting them with entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses looking to raise money.

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