It struck me that’s it’s almost been a year since #PinkyGate – when two cis-male entrepreneurs went on the German equivalent of Dragon’s Den (Die Höhle der Löwen) to seek investment for…. pink plastic gloves to dispose of and hide used period products.
The gloves were expensive, environmentally-unfriendly, stigmatising, sexist and quite simply poorly researched. But the real kicker was that it piqued the interest of 2 investors (naturally, both men) and ultimately received investment to the tune of €30,000.
Despite the show’s attempts at gender parity (that season featured a rotation of 7 dragons, or lions in German, of whom 2 were women), it’s well-known that the world of investing is heavily dominated by men. What’s more only 2.3% of global VC funding currently goes to women-led start-ups.
But maybe the issue is a lack of start-ups founded and/or run by women? Well let’s look at a similar example from the show.
Just one year prior two women entrepreneurs proposed a period underwear solution, a product that’s gaining popularity and market share globally. Period pants are sustainable, promote menstrual hygiene and boost positivity on what is still a taboo topic in many circles.
So what feedback and level of investment did these women receive in their business?
Not only did the dragons decline to invest, they went so far as to call it a “niche product” („Nischenprodukt“).
In any case, after bootstrapping their “niche” product to market, the founders have repeatedly sold out and used their platform to advocate for women investors and greater representation in key positions in business.
Diversity is commercially important – whether it’s your leadership team, your agency partners or the businesses you invest in. And while this isn’t limited to people who menstruate and those that don’t, it’s a good place to start.
Find how we can help you diversify your business here.