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shies away from inviting investors or service providers, such as consultants or marketers.
Jules Pieri, CEO of Lexington, MA-based e-commerce site Daily Grommet, said the women entrepreneurs she’s run into at the gatherings “don’t waste time” and drop the sales pitch she’s run into at other entrepreneurs’ events. “We’re doing something that’s hard enough as it is, what’s the point of obfuscating?” she asks. “Honesty is an obligation.” She says she also received many congratulations from women in the group she had never met when Daily Grommet said last month it raised $3.4 million in the first installment of a Series A financing.
One benefit of the monthly meet-ups is that it provides an opportunity for less experienced CEOs to get insight and advice from the women who have done it a few times before, Hein says. One such beneficiary is first-time entrepreneur Monika Desai, CEO and co-founder of the stealthy Open Runway, a community-based e-commerce site where users can co-design and purchase customized fashion products.
Desai has been attending the group since the fall, when she started seeking out advisors and resources for her business. Desai is especially looking to the group’s perspective as she prepares to raise venture capital, a game that is usually much more dominated by men. (That may be changing, though. The New England Venture Network, the East Coast’s largest network of young venture capital professionals, recently added Rudina Seseri as its co-chair, who joined existing co-chair Geraldine Alias, meaning the group is now led by two women.)
Serial entrepreneur Beth Marcus says she’s been able to lend her perspective in raising capital to the She-E-O group. But she’s found resources there, too. Though Marcus has experience in running other startups, such as joystick technology company EXOS, which she sold to Microsoft in 1996, she’s looked to the She-E-O group for information on engineers and public relations consultants for her current venture, a stealthy startup called Playsmrt that’s working on making the Internet safer for kids to browse.
“We use each other’s Rolodexes as much as we can,” Marcus says.
Women interested in joining the group can e-mail here.
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