Sramana Mitra: I’m going to change the one questioning a little bit, and ask you what your feelings are about being a woman entrepreneur in the technology industry. What are you seeing? What has been your experience? Do you experience bias against you being a woman entrepreneur?
Janet Kosloff: I wouldn’t say I experienced any overt bias but it was very difficult, especially that very first bit of money.
Sramana Mitra: But that’s true of every entrepreneur man or woman.
Janet Kosloff: I would say that I was asked by more than one potential investor when I was raising the angel round if I was ever going to hire a man because the team slide on my deck had all women on it. I thought that was an odd question because I don’t think anyone would ask a man if they were ever going to hire a woman.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting anecdote.
Janet Kosloff: I’m in Boston. I’m not an MIT or Harvard grad. I’m not 22 years old. I don’t match the pattern of the typical tech entrepreneur. I believe that it was harder for me but it certainly is hard for everybody. I, certainly, didn’t let it stop me or trip me up. I just doubled my effort. I think that success speaks for itself. I really don’t feel that when I run into situations where I’m biased against. Diane and I have shown that we could build a great business and that we could build a business that is growing quickly. It’s not apparent to me at this stage. The only time where I felt a twinge of it was in those early times.
Sramana Mitra: Good. I’m glad to hear that. I haven’t seen it either in my experience. I’m glad to see that you are succeeding.
Janet Kosloff: I would say that women entrepreneurs or women who want to be entrepreneurs could use a different kind of coaching sometimes. I think lots of women have great ideas and sometimes are more reticent to go forth with those. I would love to be part of the movement that instills confidence in women to go for it.
Sramana Mitra: If you have a chance, listen to this talk I gave recently to the Women Who Code group. It’s on our YouTube channel. It’s called Women Entrepreneurs: The Myth, The Minefield, The Movement where I’ve covered a lot of these issues and specifically touched on some of the women-related topics. There are issues that have to be tackled but I don’t think that it’s helpful to start with this negative perspective that there’s a bias against women.
I think what’s going on is that it’s really hard. Entrepreneurship is really hard. It does take resilience, persistence, and a fairly aggressive mode of existence. That’s true about men and women. The issue is that it doesn’t naturally come to women to be aggressive and forthright. Those are more the roadblocks as opposed to the bias in the fund raising world. I don’t think customers have any such idea that they’re not going to buy from women. That’s the one that matters the most.
Janet Kosloff: When you share your story with customers, they love it. They want to be part of your success. I haven’t found any bias at all on the client side.
Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.