she1K aims to remove the hassle for women angels
By Kiran Kaur Sidhu July 23, 2019
- Goal is to rally 1,000 women and champion 100 startups
- First investment is in Singaporean drone startup
BACK in 2016, Christina Teo (pic) founded a community of support for women in startups called Startup Asia Women, as well as a platform presenting female corporate role models, WomenChangemakers. Being a high-powered corporate woman who has held positions at Acer, IBM, 3Com, O2 and Yahoo!, Teo’s knowledge of the business sector runs deep.
Extending from this experience and her interest in the startup space, is her desire to bridge the corporate-startup gap for women like herself. As explained on the she1K website, there is ample room for growing the involvement of females as directors with women making up only 27%, 20% and 10.7% respectively in the UK, US and Singapore respectively.
Admittedly, the vibrancy and disruptiveness of the startup space can be intimidating for corporate folk. Holding firm to the belief that action speaks louder than words, Teo started she1K, a network aiming to recruit 1,000 corporate women globally and empowering them to become angel investors.
“Men are ahead of the game when it comes to investments in general. Many corporate women definitely have the income to start building an investment portfolio,” Teo commented, explaining that she1K aims to remove the hassles women face in the decision-making process. “Joining she1K allows them to be involved as much or as little as they want with the network assuming some due diligence work on their behalf.”
The ripple effect of she1K can eventually drive massive outcomes, Teo believes. “If I get to bring together 1,000 strong corporate women who have a lot to offer, then exponentially, they can build even more wealth financially and knowledge-wise, empower change, innovation and entrepreneurship.”
To ensure the quality of members, the network is invitation-only although those interested to join can express their interest via a form on the website. “We only onboard corporate executive women of large corporates with industry or functional experience of more than 15 years.”
Currently, the network is made up of close to 50 members. The goal is to recruit 1,000 corporate women and champion 100 startups. However, Teo knew from the get go that onboarding women executives would require a longer cycle.
“We find that women tend to adopt an all-or-nothing attitude. Hence, they would want to take this on fully or not at all,” she commented.
Although the network has clearly laid-out goals, it is in no rush to achieve them. “We do not want to be a mass factory for startups. Right now, we would imagine [championing] eight to 10 startups a year and gradually growing that scale annually.”
In fact, it recently made its first investment in a Singapore drone startup, Performance Rotors. Its core focus is confined spaces inspection. “Performance Rotors was chosen because they have a highly qualified team, acquired some significant reputable customers and are already revenue generating. Furthermore, they were recently accelerated at PortXL, the world’s first maritime tech accelerator, which opened its doors to large maritime, oil and gas and plantation conglomerates.”
In addition to introducing diversity to the board and offering mentoring, Teo says she1K plans to “follow the startup through its fundraising journey and foster necessary connections.”
As to whether she1K is partial to particular types of startups, Teo says: “We are more keen on B2B startups because we believe our corporate members will be able to add more value there. It is a segment we understand better in terms of business models and overseas expansion.”
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