We Need More Unicorns Like Emily Weiss

emily weiss

When it comes to female led start-ups, getting funding is one of the biggest hurdles. Especially when $9 out of every $10 is given to companies started by men. That’s just one reason why Emily Weiss’ recent round of venture capital funding is so important.

Weiss landed her cult status beauty brand Glossier in the news again for securing $100 million in Series D funding with Sequoia Capital. This comes on the heels of their reported $100 million in annual revenue back in 2018. All of this success has earned Glossier a spot in a very exclusive club: the unicorn startups.

What is Series D Funding?

Series D funding can be a big deal because it is the fourth round of funding companies may go through. It’s done if the brand has found a new path or iteration of what they are doing to make more money. Or, in some negative situations, it’s done because the company didn’t meet requirements expected of them when they went through their third round of funding.

With the recent launch of their first spin off Glossier Play, it doesn’t seem as if Glossier or Emily Weiss will be going anywhere soon.

What is a Unicorn Start Up?

A unicorn startup is any privately held company that is valued over $1 billion. As of January 2019, there are only 333 unicorn startups which include the likes of Uber, Airbnb, and Pinterest.

No updated number is available for how many of those unicorns are female led in 2019. But there are reports from September and November of 2018 that out of the then 239 unicorn startups, only 23 of them had a female founder.

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Baby me in 2014 wasn’t sure if we could afford the next hire, didn’t know if anyone would like her idea for a beauty company, was engaged to be married, and hardly knew a venture capitalist from a bank teller. Emily in 2019 has been through hell and high water to build an incredible company with incredible people, endured heartbreak and experienced new love, and been among a very small minority of women raising this kind of money at these kinds of prices, to build the things they believe in. Today Glossier was able to achieve something very special. And all it means, is that we get to keep building things that make people happy. On this day especially, I am so excited to say: go team go ✨

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That is what makes Glossier and its companion blog Into the Gloss so valuable in the land of female led businesses. Emily Weiss was able to take a company aimed at empowering women through multiple rounds of venture capital funding. A world dominated by men.

Only 9% of venture capitalists are women. That’s only 170 women in venture capital firms who have power to write checks to startups. This gender gap in turn means that only about 15% goes to startups with at least one female founder.

All of this information I just threw at you is a very long-winded way to say that we need more venture capitalists to take risks on women. We need to empower all women who want to head their own startup to go for it.  We need more women in venture capital funding with check righting abilities. Women shouldn’t have to settle simply because firms are unwilling to give them funding.

This gender gap is unacceptable and I’m proud when I see women blazing over these disadvantages and helping other women do the same. We have to stick together and support each other’s wins. Today we start with Glossier. Tomorrow I hope we start with you.

Cover image via The Cut

Also published on Medium.