Why Equity Crowdfunding Changes Everything For Underrepresented Founders Facing VC Bias

Written by Dan Miller

As a black male that has worked in Silicon Valley for six-plus years, I am very aware of the biases — both implicit and explicit — that act as barriers to different levels of success in the tech industry.

The barriers to entry are weakest at the individual contributor/employee level, although most outsiders may view these barriers as the toughest to navigate. As an employee of companies like SurveyMonkey, Salesforce, and StyleSeat, I have to admit my experiences have been nothing short of great.

I have worked with amazing coworkers and managers — some who have undoubtedly changed my life for better — which I know is rare, and is something I relished as an employee.

Things changed when I crossed over to become an entrepreneur.

From Medium. Story by Dan Miller, CEO of Level Therapy.

I am currently the CEO of Level Therapy, a digital health company that provides access to treatment tools and psychotherapists to help people achieve mental fitness. Our team came together about two years ago to have the very first conversations of what would become Level Therapy.

In that time, I have noticed that the valley — namely the VC community here — has proven to be a system of subpar pattern matching which has exposed cowardice and lemming-like behavior.

For entrepreneurs that put everything — savings, reputations, time, etc. — on the line to create a future they believe should exist, we are all too often met with empty reservations attached to fear. Fear that the VC isn’t analyzing the opportunity well enough. Fear of being first money in. Fear that the team isn’t right to get the job done.

These reservations strengthen when members of a founding team are from underrepresented groups.

For a class of people that operate and succeed while facing more fear/uncertainty every day than the average person experiences in a month, hearing empty reservations from people that position themselves as being there for the entrepreneur, and understanding of what entrepreneurs are experiencing is complete bullshit.

These consistent experiences were the impetus of why we decided to raise a seed round on the largest equity crowdfunding platform, SeedInvest.

As I am sure most of you know, the JOBS Act allows accredited and non accredited investors alike to invest in private companies — after a substantial due diligence process to meet SEC regulations.

This is proving to be a real viable alternative for entrepreneurs to raise the capital they need to realize/grow their businesses. This is especially true for underrepresented founders that are disproportionately subjected to biases when they are raising funds.

Aside from the JOBS Act being a good tool to gain momentum on a financing round, entrepreneurs that do so will not be attached to the external pressures from VCs to become a billion-dollar business as quickly as possible. This is very important if you are operating in a regulated space…or you are interested in growing at a pace that is advantageous for your customers.

Level Therapy is focused on democratizing access to mental fitness. We believe increasing access to our investment opportunity is aligned with that mission. If you agree, would like to learn more, or would like to join us on this mission, please check out our SeedInvest campaign. Our team would be extremely grateful, and you would be backing an innovative company that is treating great organizations like Teach For America and MedStar Health.

Dan Miller is the co-founder and CEO of Level Therapy. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

This article was reposted with the permission of the author.

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