Found this on Business Insider and was moved that Fred “Superman” Wilson was insightful enough to focus on the topic. He summaries the post by Terezan entitled XX Combinator.

xx combinator

xx combinator

This is Fred’s summary of the basic argument:

Y Combinator participants are for the most part very young — in their early 20’s. This is not when women would be most inclined. Women who start businesses like to know what they’re doing, and be trained and experienced in it. That takes up our 20’s. We have kids in our 30’s. Our entrepreneurial sweet spot is around age 40. Conventional tech investors are not really into this group and the metrics they look for are really hard for these people to hit. Most of the (few) women’s businesses that go big were funded by friends & family or strategics, not traditional angels and VCs.

I love it. I would think that most would agree with this argument. Surprise! One of the commenters posted the following:
“That is extremely troubling to me, and suggests that while Y Combinator has done great things for technology, something structurally, while unintended, is keeping women out.”

No, it doesn’t. You are assuming that the number should be higher without any rational basis for it. From that you jump to the conclusion that they are actively (if unknowingly) discouraging women.

Stop that.

Wow! Tereza’s reply:

I didn’t say ‘actively’. I said ‘structurally’.

If they’re in SV and require that you move there for three months to do the program, as a friend of mine did, that is a requirement that a parent of young children cannot do. Especially a mother. So net net, they would not bother to apply.

In this era of Obama, I’m quickly jolted back to the traditional insensitivity around the conversations of race, civil rights and women’s rights that we have witnessed for 100 years+.

Tereza, H10 is with you. What can we do to help you? There is a desperate need for XX combinator. However, this requires a NEW thing; not like something we have seen before; not some hacked, twisted model of someone else’s dream. Even relating it to Y Combinator trips up the narrow minded, lemmings that can’t relate to this NEW idea. Don’t cheat your idea! What I love about the folks at Betaworks is that they made their own lane. They simply took what they had and ran with it. It fit what they wanted and were capable of doing. And with Betaworks we have witnessed the law of attraction – You attract the people and the circumstances that connect with your dominate thought. They defined the platform and the right ventures were attracted.

I’m sure the same will be the case for XX (I’ve stopped using the Combinator already). What systems, programs or support would work for 40+ women entrepreneurs? Is the web space the most fertile spot or would mobile apps be better? What about the coming Internet TV revolution? Is capital the critical factor? What’s the end game?

Having been an early supporter of BlogHer, thanks in part to my former business partner Steph Roberts, I found that they simply asked the women bloggers what they needed and filled in the gaps. They also applied the reality and desires of advertisers (the bloggers’ customers in this case) to the mix and found themselves in a very sweet spot – empowering female bloggers, giving the brands exactly what they needed, with a profitable business proposition for everyone. They created a NEW thing.

This is also our mission for H10, with the hope that in supporting entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs we will be able to grow an ecosystem that 20 years from now makes a XX or a H10 unnecessary.

All the best,

James
Founding Partner, H10

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