Michelle Kennedy, on how she got a boost from Ashton Kutcher’s venture fund, and how to be a successful female founder by tapping into these 3 super powers.
In business, it seems most of the buzz is around inequality towards women. But, there are several benefits to being a female founder and I want to shine a light on those. Of course, in order to do this, I knew I needed to interview a kick-ass female founder who was seeing success and could help me benchmark what had gone right. That female founder is startup extraordinaire, hip mama, and spirited entrepreneur, Michelle Kennedy.
Her app has been called ‘Tinder for moms’ and she was recently featured as Apple’s App of the Day. Oh, did we mention she got backing from Ashton Kutcher’s venture fund? So what did Michelle do that was so right to gain all of this attention and upward momentum? Let’s talk about how she tapped into her super powers and kicked her startup into high gear.
Power to Get Funded
The thing about so many startups entering their seed round is that they aren’t ready. Potential investors have heard every pitch, a million different ways, and they know. They know when you’re ready because you speak their language, as well as your own. They know when you’re ready because you have answers to the questions that mean the most to them. They know when you’re ready because you show up to do business. This is where the true power to get funded sits. Oh, and female founders, sometimes more success happens when you go in with a male counterpart. Hey, we didn’t write the rules, we just learned to play by them to level the field. It isn’t that the male investors don’t trust you, they just usually see a different vision. Understanding this, without taking it personally, also puts a huge amount of power in your hands.
Power of Connections and Relationships
For women, isolation is a common theme in life, especially when motherhood hits. They tell you it takes a village… but nobody seems to know where the village is. Apps, like Peanut, are making it easier to kill the isolation and step into the power of shared connections. Going in, this was a huge point of inspiration for Michelle, because she experienced that isolation, and even though she knew she wasn’t alone, she still felt that way.
The point is, there is real power in numbers and relying on those numbers and connections is a super power (sometimes) very unique to women. Maybe you’ve heard it called “the gift of gab” or “chatty Cathy” but we like to call it a super power. The ability to make connections and build relationships is a foundational element to success in business. It’s not about networking. It’s about sharing common ground , and this is one of the reasons Michelle’s app is also successful. Peanut helps women find other like-minded, common interest, women nearby. She tapped into something women wanted but weren’t getting. She found a gap and filled it, which is the first page of Business Basics 101.
Power of Clarity in Vision and Message
When you read an article about Michelle, anywhere, her message and voice are the same. When you install the app, the branding is consistent and you feel her message in the steps. This is the power in having an absolutely clear vision and message. Everything has to feel complete because, if it doesn’t users won’t stay, which equals failure. A lot of founders fall short on this because they want to be everything to everyone, or they want to be too niche. It works best if you can just be yourself. Authenticity draws people in like a cat drinking water out of a bathroom faucet. They can’t look away because, even though they think they know what to expect, they still want to experience it.
It’s A Great Time to Be A Super Woman
The thing is, there is tremendous power in being a female founder today, but you have to step into it, be ready to tap into that power. Michelle was very successful, very quickly because she tapped into these super powers and didn’t look back.
Read the original INC article published on January 11, 2018.