"What I learned Pitching Investors"

Featured article by Leon's founder, Angelica Deleon, live on Swaay.com, What I learned Pitching Investors As A Latina Founder.

Keep reading for the article:

When I set out to begin Leon, I knew one thing - I wanted to work in business but struggled to find clothes that made me feel confident while doing so. With little to no knowledge or experience in the tech and fashion industry, I ventured to conceptualize Leon, an eCommerce petite women's clothing brand. Through collaborations with my passionate team, YouTube videos, university courses, mentorship sessions, and real-time trial and error, I learned about business management, design making, supply chain operations and the inevitable ups and downs that the entrepreneurial journey ushers.

I thought to myself, what will be next? Do I find more mentors that will help me refine my business plan? Raise seed capital? Or, close the shop and venture out onto a new idea? Well, because my problem of finding petite clothing didn't vanish, I knew I had to make this work. I dipped my foot in the raising funds for Leon idea and was taken aback when I learned ...

U.S. female-founded startups have raised just 2.2 percent of venture capital investment in 2018, even though women founders are outpacing men in new business. Latina women received less than 1%.

2.2%!? Less than 1%? At first, I was excited to see this number, I've always liked a good challenge but then I let it sink in…

2.2%. What would my odds be? What would make my company stand out? And why was that percentage so low? Without an answer to this question, I was motivated to fortify Leon and joined Almaworks, Columbia University's Start-up Accelerator. The reason? To learn exactly what VC's were investing in and learn how I could lead Leon to a standard in which the 2.2% did not feel so intimidating. During this time, I met with engaging, intelligent and kickass mentors who would ultimately help me refine Leon's business strategy and make priceless relationships. During the last day of Almaworks, the cohort participated in Demo Day, where each company presented their venture to a room brimming with VC partners and investors. While pitching Leon, I recall feeling anxious yet prepared, nervous yet excited and the results? Invaluable experience, constructive feedback from top NYC VC partners and an immense sense of relief. While answering investors' questions with confidence and complete transparency, I learned a few lessons during this journey that I'd like to kindly share with women who find the 2.2% daunting and perhaps discouraging.

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