These founders got early checks by being social media savvy • TechCrunch | Techy Kings

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At first blush, founders building a coffee brand, a social networking app, and a fintech-focused venture fund don’t seem to have much in common. But at TechCrunch Disrupt, the founders, together on stage, credited their early success in raising venture capital to their use of social media platforms.

It is an interesting and increasingly necessary ingredient. While one founder, Nik Milanović, who started a small fintech-focused media company and an accompanying venture fund, happens to enjoy the kind of profile that VCs tend to notice (Stanford grad, biz dev experience at Google, white), the checks other two founders raised is something of a statistical anomaly.

Gefen Skolnick, the founder of the coffee brand Couplet Coffee, is a woman; only 2.4% of venture capital went to women-led companies in 2021. For a black founder like Josh Ogundu, whose app Campfire invites users to create and share 30-second audio stories associated with images on their phones, the odds of getting a check are still a more abysmal 1.3% in 2021. (For Latina and black female founders, the odds of getting venture funding in 2021 were close to zero.)

Although Ogundu and Skolnick pointed out that going to esteemed schools and logging time at branded companies helped even the playing field (he attended both Michigan State and the University of Southern California and had a stint at TikTok; she attended UCLA and worked at Tesla, among other internships), all three suggested that smart use of social media can do more than make it easier to connect with investors and customers—it can also keep a founder and their brand relevant and accessible.

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