Why Startup and VC Culture is Unsustainable

Have you heard of startup and venture capital (VC) culture? Entrepreneurs are looking to pitch new and exciting business ideas to investors every day. As a business coach and owner, the startup pitch culture that exists has positives and negatives. 

What I love about startup pitch culture is that it forces you to build something HOT! Something that people will love. Something that catches the eye and seizes the audience’s attention and judges’ hearts. It makes the competitive aspect of business design fun and challenging if you’re up for that. Startup pitch culture makes the everyday entrepreneur embrace his or her innovative Sasha Fierce that lives within. 

What I don’t love about startup and VC (venture capital) pitch culture is that it’s the opposite of musical chairs. Instead of everyone hustling to get a seat leaving one person left behind, it’s more like one person gets a seat and everyone else gets left behind. 

See, my people have spent way too long without a seat. So I guess it doesn’t sit right with me to focus on the .2%. I want everybody to eat. It’s why I don’t focus on VC work with my entrepreneurs. I do friends and family access work at Sistahbiz.

It’s also why I don’t host pitch competitions. I offer my grants to the masses when they are funded. Yes, you have to have a solid business model that makes sense, but you don’t have to have the next… (whatever business model is hot this week).

It’s why I don’t look for the next sexy Black, woman-owned health tech company. I work to make sure the everyday mom and pop shop or service provider is tech-enabled and empowered to leverage technology to grow a scalable business.

It’s why our Black and Bankable initiative at Sistahbiz is about loan readiness and bankability and not VC readiness. Our support for our entrepreneurs entering pitch competitions is more about helping them improve their business plan and access prize money, not attracting VCs.

It’s not sustainable. I don’t care what y’all say. Any system designed to invest only in “the unicorn” that makes the investor even more wealthy and then tosses the masses to the wind – is not sustainable at scale and should be controlled for balance. The unicorn isn’t real. The unicorn’s name even means “only one”. Unicorns don’t care for the ecosystem. Beavers and bees do. We need to fund the beavers and the bees. They pollinate. They regulate. They contribute. They are about the collective win.

To be clear, I believe there is a place in our ecosystem for VC funds and pitch culture has its benefits. Some people are born to fight for inclusion in that space and I applaud them and their work. I just believe it dominates funding and conversations in an extraordinarily imbalanced way.

As for me and my house, I was made to focus on the 99. Because I’m interested in seeing as many Black women cross the 6, and then 7-figure line, and build generational wealth as I can before I sit down and take a break one day.

Yeah, I know that’s not sexy or selfish enough for our current wealth culture. But don’t come for me, it’s my story of love for my community, and I’m ok with the absence of popularity and instant gratification in my approach.

You don’t have to take the journey alone. Sistahbiz Global Network guides Black women entrepreneurs, through building teams and scalable businesses. Our sistahpreneurs are here and ready to have your back. Join the community today to get access to the resources you need to scale your business.

Makisha Boothe

Makisha is Head Business Coach and founder of Sistahbiz Global Network. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design.

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