Elevate 100: “There is More Inclusivity,” says Shanti Mohan

Elevate 100

Founder of funding platform, Let’s Venture, Shanti Mohan, says there is increasingly more inclusivity when it comes to funding women entrepreneurs. We should also see many more women investors emerge, she said at the Elevate 100 conference, while speaking on Driving Women Entrepreneurship to which SheThePeople.TV is a media and session partner.

Mohan started-up when no such platforms were available. It was much harder in those days, she said. This is the best time to be an entrepreneur – you have a lot of support.

Insights of data from Let’s Venture:

  • Less than ten percent of startups have women founders, but among the startups that are funded, 20 percent are founded by women entrepreneurs. So, we are seeing women entrepreneurs who are getting funded.
  • Profiles: There is parity in the profiles of male and female founders. Women founders are there because they have relevant skills and experience.
  • There was also no difference in equity which is held by male and women founders
  • There is more inclusivity – that is my most important takeaway, says Mohan.

Women as investors:

  • Less than one percent of the VCs are women. This is the most discouraging piece of data.
  • However, as more and more women entrepreneurs are created, more women will also become investors.
  • Money is not a measure of success, it is the amount of impact you have that matters, if you have enabled other micro entrepreneurs to build a livelihood.

Typical women-led businesses are:

  • Smaller firms
  • Lower scale businesses
  • Proprietorships

So as a result, they are less scalable and more boutique in nature, and VCs may not be attracted to them. But Mohan always thinks about whether the search for unicorns is really what it is made out to be:

“Are we encouraging a million entrepreneurs to build one million dollar businesses, or one entrepreneur who has a billion dollar business. Shouldn’t we promote an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she says.

If you have not built a unicorn, it doesn’t matter. If you do what you love, the money will come.


  • There are two key challenges. First, is the access to mentoring, and the other is limited access to capital.
  • Secondly, a lot of the challenges are in your head. Gender equality is not a women’s issue. It is a human issue. It affects us all, says Mohan.

Moving Beyond:

  • Don’t use the fact that you are a woman to justify why you are not getting funded.
  • Believe in yourself, try to be successful and not likeable.
  • Break the apologetic mindset. Accept you are good.
  • Be comfortable with power and money.

Finally, make your own rules. The way to be happy is to be happy along the way.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started!

Also Read: Tips for Effective Content Marketing by Peter Yorke: Elevate 100