Why did you start The Riveter?
I started The Riveter because I wanted to create a network and a platform for women who are building businesses. I worked in corporate America for a decade – I was a litigator – and what you see is a starting line for everyone at the same place, but for women you see a really different finish line. We have more CEOs in America of Fortune 500 companies named John than we do that are women. And I know that women have all of these amazing ideas, but where do they go? Who do they talk to? How are they connected to investors? Where do they work in an environment where they feel supported and where they feel like they can have a community? And that was the basis for The Riveter: Rosie The Riveter is the icon for American women at work and that’s why we named the company what we did.
Why did you choose to work with Founders’ Co-op?
We decided to work Founders’ Co-op because we wanted partners in our home, in the Pacific Northwest, who had shown a demonstrated commitment to early stage companies, to the development of founders, and to growing teams. And Founders’ Co-op is the prime example of all of that.
We built the company in the Pacific Northwest because it is the innovation hub of America today. There is so much happening here, we have these amazing examples to look to in Amazon and Microsoft, and we have amazing examples of newer companies that are doing really exciting things, like Rover. And this is a place where women are growing and developing and coming out of experiences in these amazing tech companies and are just ready to do the next thing. And so for us it made perfect sense to build the company here.
Nugget for founders?
It’s really hard to nail down one lesson, one hard thing about being a founder. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but also the most fun. The lesson that I learned is that when you are going out to raise money for your company, you need to make that your job. You need to turn away from what you’re doing for some time, and hopefully you have a great team that can help you, and focus on the raise. Because it is part of the growth, you need the money to fuel the company, and so you need to treat it as a really important endeavor and devote as much time as you can to it in the period that you’re doing it, and then also put an end to it. When you’re talking to investors, say “I am out raising money. I will choose a lead investor on X date, and if you would like me to consider you, let me know by then”.