Here’s how many entrepreneurs start their companies: They begin by financing themselves, burning through savings or working for little pay. Then they go to friends and families for small investments to get up and running. Their third and fourth rounds of funding often come from angel investors or venture capitalists.
It’s called boot-strapping and it’s a time-honored tradition for entrepreneurs who attend the mega South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference, held every March in Austin, Texas. But Rebecca Gonzales, a marketing and technology entrepreneur in Austin, says this funding model often puts women and minorities at a disadvantage.
“When we get in front of the angel groups, and if we get in front of a VC, we’ve already missed those two rounds of funding and feedback,” Gonzales says. “We have no ‘Tío Warbucks’.”