Carolyn Rodz and Courtenay Siegfried had already experienced corporate success when they founded Circular Board, a collaborative accelerator for growth-oriented female entrepreneurs, about two years ago. Rodz had scaled two companies, including a luxury retail line and a global marketing agency.
In speaking with other female entrepreneurs, Carolyn and Courtenay found that three major pain points tended to emerge above everything else:
- Funding and funding opportunities
- Marketing and brand awareness
- Legal concerns/needs
Circular Board was born out of trying to solve those issues for female-led companies; it was the first-ever female-centric virtual accelerator in the world.
There are three cohorts per year, who participate in a 12-week program with other founders from around the world. Each week focuses on a different module and brings in best practices. To the fundraising pain point, Circular Board has already been incredibly successful: the founders who have gone through the program to date have raised $70M in the past 16 months.
Ironically for a couple of entrepreneurs who teach other entrepreneurs, Carolyn and Courtenay reached their own challenge point: how could they scale the accelerator program to reach even more female-led companies?
They came up with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform called "Alice," which looks at the entrepreneurial profile of anyone in a cohort (or wishing to be) and immediately pulls out references of relevance to them. For example, real estate marketing and legal marketing can be very different; a real estate company run by a female needs resources specific to their challenges, not to the legal market. Alice will do this.
"Time is the most valuable asset anyone has, and especially entrepreneurs," says Courtenay, "and that's what Alice does."
“Alice is a female founder’s best mentor, guide and consultant. The current startup ecosystem continues to cycle resources among a very small percentage of well-connected entrepreneurs, making it difficult for less traditional founders to navigate,” says Carolyn. “Alice instantly filters millions of resources down to the personalized, verified content that enables founders to scale to the highest heights, no matter where they are located or who they know.”
This will be helpful in helping female entrepreneurs scale -- right now women-owned businesses employ 7.8M people and drive $1.3 trillion in revenue, but only 2% of female entrepreneurs in the U.S. have ever reached $1M in revenue. The goal of Alice is to flip that stat to 98%.
Watch the video from Dell World.
Photo sources: Dell.com