MergeLane – the accelerator designed for companies with at least one woman in leadership – is in the homestretch of the application period. We want to give companies that have considered applying one more big push. Because we have learned that female entrepreneurs are their own best critics, we want you to try an experiment. Ask someone else. If your mom or your other biggest fan believes you meet our criteria, we want you to apply to MergeLane today…or by the December 15th deadline.
MergeLane will be hosting eight stellar women-led companies for its first cohort beginning on February 2, 2015. Founding teams are required to be in beautiful Boulder for two weeks in February and during our final week leading up to Demo Day on April 24, 2015.
We have been speaking to teams all over the world about the opportunity to be a part of this innovative program, which is generating tremendous buzz and an unrivaled network of supporting mentors and CEO Coaches. We have some fantastic companies already in the application pool, but we know that at least some of the companies we would like to consider (but don’t know about yet) are opting out because they believe they are not “ready.”
We want to be incredibly clear. Apply. Elizabeth addressed another question we’re hearing – ironically the opposite – in our last blog post, so I’ll address this one now.
We realize we’ve asked for companies that have “traction.” We know this requirement brings up one of the most common doubts we have seen among female entrepreneurs – a reticence about seeking funding, new business, strategic partnerships, and, apparently, accelerator slots before every aspect of their business is “perfect.”
We adamantly reject this misgiving. Although we plan to honor our criteria, we want to encourage MergeLane candidate companies to take the risk of getting “ahead of their skis.” We want you to be uncomfortable. We want you to apply. We give you formal permission to submit an application that advances you, your team, and your business in the best possible light right now – or as of 11:59pm Mountain Time on December 15th.
When I was in second grade, my dad started what was a lifetime (mine) push to get me to put my name forward for any elected position. I have no idea what offices I ran for in elementary school, but I recall running for all of them. If I lost an election for a vaunted slot as a lunch monitor, safety patrol, or captain of a kickball team, he’d pat my back and assure me that if I kept trying, I’d eventually get the nod of the electorate. In those early years, the future President of the Palmetto High School Debate Team (300+ hyper-verbal nerds strong) was born.
Please. Put your company’s hat in this ring. We would love to connect with as many women-led companies and as many stellar entrepreneurs as we can discover through this process. Seriously. Really. Definitely. No excuses. Just apply now, dammit. Learn more about MergeLane and after you do that, click the eye-catching “apply now” button at www.MergeLane.com.
We have talked about declaring investment themes since our launch six years ago. Today we settled on one "anti-theme": Founders who dislike authentic feedback.
Rapid-fire explanations without curiosity or engagement often feel like dressed-up defensiveness. I’m not terribly game to build a relationship with someone who feels defensive from the start.
I’ve made a decision to take a break from speaking engagements that focus topically on women, women in startups, investing in women, women as leaders, and the rest. This includes events that may not be topically focused on women but are part of something called a “women’s track.” Here's why.
It has been a great few weeks for the MergeLane fund. When people ask us what our criteria are for investments, we always talk about team as the distant number one priority. I wanted to share this recent, wonderful interchange with TomboyX after a great week for them:
How the media (and more) judges emotion in leadership differently between men and women, and the costs of those judgments.
Dennis Adsit of Adsum Insights guest blogs about turning your one-on-ones from pedestrian checklist run-throughs to opportunities for connection and growth.