Nicole Denholder, Investing in female founders | Teaching women about money
Nicole Denholder

"Focus so that you're maximizing effort money, and time to get the quickest result"

- Nicole Denholder

Maximize money, effort, and time – Nicole Denholder


Founder of Next Chapter Ventures (NCV), where we are redefining partnerships for Female Entrepreneurs, Investors and Partners. NCV has launched Next Chapter Crowdfunding platform – a rewards based crowdfunding platform; followed by Next Chapter Raise – a platform which provides courses and coaching that connects female founders with the investor community and financial institutions. We take the fear out of fundraising and help you grow your business faster.

Co-founder of Sophia, a financial education platform for women to address the gender wealth and investing gap. Sophia not only teaches women how to gain control of their personal finances but also addresses the gender wealth gap and the gender investing gap. In turn, directing capital towards women-led start ups.

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The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor I’m your host Jeffery Potvin and let’s please welcome Nicole Denholder founder of next chapter raise as our investor for today welcome Nicole it’s real pleasure having you join us today.
Nicole: Hi thanks so much for having me I’m excited to be on um looking forward to chatting with you.

Jeffery: Now likewise I’m I’m pretty excited because I know we’ve chatted a few times and we’ve gone into many different tangents so there’s some really uh some really good things that we’re going to dive in today and I think today too is going to be exciting because we’re taking a different approach um when we’re going to uh to this interview today is because we want to look at something a little bit different and also kind of alter the way we were kind of attacking the market with our with our podcast so I’m pretty excited about the little changes that we’re making and uh glad that it’s going to be with yourself today so to kick things off let’s jump into uh everything about you you can jump in and share a little bit about kind of your background where you came from from the Canterbury times all the way through PWC to Sophia um even on the schooling side and then the last thing is one thing about you that nobody would know.

Nicole: Um so fantastic okay well I’m an Australian living in Hong Kong um I’ve been here 20 years and prior to that I was in Europe for six or seven years it all sounds quite scary is that as it adds up um and so I grew up in Brisbane Queensland went to Queensland University of Technology I did an international business degree um I think my dad or my parents know this but I mean the main reason I did that degree was only because it had International in front of it because all I ever wanted to do was travel um and you know when I was young um you know 11 12 year old people would say you know my you know what do you want to be when you’re older and I’d be like I want to be an expatriate that was it I just wanted to travel I think the bug was in me from my parents um and interestingly um it kind of really drove my decisions around University your sum it really drove all my first actions in terms of working as well because I I you know I started working I finished my business degree which I enjoyed I got to spend six months on a government scholarship in Indonesia um as part of that to Commonwealth government scholarship which was fantastic um so I got kind of some of that International exposure early on and I really appreciated that and actually met kind of two of my best friends through that experience that I’m still really close with to today and then I yeah I left I left um university and as you mentioned I went to Canterbury and that was um that was really a good experience but really what I was trying to do was kind of save up money so I could head overseas so pretty much I was only there a year because um I bought a one-way ticket to London you know I was the um kind of the typical Australian maybe who then heads across to Europe to kind of explore the world however it was during the October 1997 crash so the Australian dollar tanked so I went to a third of what I thought I would have um so that certainly dictated what I did um yeah so so I you know following that I was always interested in and I was always interested in working I I really did look forward to kind of getting out and getting a job um and you know you know always happy the the busier I am the happier I am I definitely thrive on that and I traveled extensively and then I was very fortunate when I um after traveling moved to London that I was working at um Prudential UK in London and at that time pricewater housecoopers was doing a a project with them and it just happenedto be that I was working on the Contracting team that was working with pricewater housecoopers and at that point they were forming um you know a lot around their you know they’d formed their Global Capital markets group just kind of a couple years prior to that and then they were building that up and so I had the opportunity to um join them off the back of the work that I was doing at Prudential um and that was one of those you know sliding doors moments because at that point I was probably going to return to Australia I’d been overseas a few yearsat that point but that opportunity led me to stay in London and then you know led me to um you know just get the opportunity to travel more which is really what I loved I just love um traveling and and then yes I was with pricewater housecoopers which was a phenomenal experience I really enjoyed working there I worked with amazing people we were very much Project based we flew people from all over the worldto work on um us IPO related transactions and um and you know during that opportunity I then moved after another five years in the UK I moved to Hong Kong and then covered Asia so I wasbased out of Hong Kong spent quite a substantial time in Japan Korea um China as well as you know substantial time in Switzerland South Africa as well as traveling to a lot of other cities so um so I can definitely say I’ve ticked that element of traveling for work traveling for pleasure um through um all of those opportunities and one of the things that I noticed and this is kind of what fed me into next chapter raise and ultimately into Sofia as well which are the two companies that I’m founder and co-founders of um it is really you know I was really interested in kind of looking at these companies what was motivating them financially um you know kind of you know we were very gender balanced as an organization um particularly in the global Capital markets Group which was fantastic to see so it was really great to see you knowso much diversity and inclusion and I you know as I left pricewater housecoopers what I was interested in it was taking that and exploring that and seeing well how can we see greater diversity around the support for female Founders particularly around the financing they receive um because the statistics are dire interms of less than three percent of um uh Venture Capital um money goes to female Founders particularly Seoul female Founders and obviously we can talk about key person risking all those matters there but um you also see that and no there’s a you know less than seven percent um of um investment decision makers are female as well so you don’t just have a lot of women in the industry you don’t have enough female Founders being funded and so that’s what led me to launch next chapter raise and really that um was focused it kind of started as a crowd funding platform and has really moved into an education and coaching and connecting platform to support women on um not just Equity but also different types of financing you can look at so inaddition to crowd funding Grants revenue-based financing and obviously the equity aspect of of scaling your business and and I’ve just worked with a phenomenal amount of women and men in terms of the exposure I’ve had and then off the back of that I met my two co-founders in Sofia because wewere all in this space kind of engage around the gender Finance in terms of where where I masked a lot um I’d like a female investor I’m asked that a lot um you know particularly in the angel space it’s like I’d really like some female angel investors to invest in meand the fact is that it was you know it’s still hard to find them um in terms of in comparison to finding um male Angel Investors and so it was through that that we all got started talking and launched Sophia because it really did start our first course was you know an angel training program but off the back of that what we found is a lot of women were asking us also about other types of um investment opportunities so if you look at ETFs for example and also you know what position do I need to be in to start investing sowe’ve we’ve actually broadened the scope and the remit of philosophy to be much more a broader personal finance education platform for women that services corporates and financial institutions soso very much I’m interested in women and their money and how do they get more ofit how do they be empowered to feel in control of it and to utilize it to either grow their business or grow their personal wealth.

Jeffery: That’s amazing and you’ve done quite a few things but the best part of it all is obviously the travel side before I dive into that I do have to ask what’s one thing about you that nobody would know.

Nicole: um a lot of people didn’t know that you know my desire at 11 was to be an expansion problem certainly my family did and some close friends um you know that was always something that has driven so much of of what I’ve wanted to do.

Jeffery: I love it I think I might have had the the same um I remember my trigger point was I wasin international business program as well uh yeah degree inI remember my teacher walked in professor and he said I think he introduced himself and he said I’ve been to over 70 countries or something and I was just sitting there I had only been to like two I was like oh my God this is incredible you can do this and uh I think that’s what kind of opened the door so it’s uh it’s pretty exciting and and uh again that happened later on but still um I guess once you get the bug it doesn’t disappear and before I dive into that side but I really do think that a lot of your Global Experience but also your demeanor and the way you’re able to carry yourself in business comes from being able to work with all of these different cultures that you have from the African side Asia I think it carries a lot of value for how you work inside of a room how you’re working with different groups of people because everybody has a different way that they’re operating uh different customs and I think learning all of those probably makes you obviously a lot more open-minded to how you work with even female Founders today so taking back that type of experience can you share a few things that you gained from that Global side like when you first went into taking that one-way plane ticket obviously your first time probably leaving the country you’re excited for it uh you know what were the some of the takeaways that you you gained from that I’m sure today the world’s a little bit more Global a little different but at the time there was some learnings that you probably did take take away from it and found your footing as you kind of keep hustling Your Way Forward.

Nicole: Well I think at that point you know I just finished University and I mean I’m traveling the other side of the world so I mean you just have to create your own luck right in terms of you had to pick up the phone and find that first job in another country far away with very little money behind you at that point right um you know I’ve spent most of it traveling anything I’d save so so I I think a lot of those early decisions in terms of the work that I did was um you know you you just had to kind of capitalize on the situation you were in you had to make sure that you know back then you did pick up the phone and ring someone and ask them for a job right you know it was it was like that um but I think later on in kind of working pricewater housecoopers what I really valued there was the varied experiences what it does it gives the ability to adapt the way you interact with people because you’d often have maybe a different partner you’re working with certainly different um clients you know sometimes your team might change depending on the industry um that you were working on a project with so so I think it was it was really great to get that exposure in terms of always every project was with a lot of different people so you were always being exposed to having to work out how am I going to work with all these other people um you know work work out people’s work Styles um and kind of adapt around that um you know you all have to do that and also you have to deliver right so you’re learning to adapt and deliver at the same time because these were quite umyou know fast-paced high profile um uh projects we were onum but I think what I also enjoy taking from that is that um kind of some of that corporate experience exposure tokind of a regulated space to me was really important when you go out and you’re talking to Founders who haven’tworked in a space that’s got a lot of regulations around it a lot of expectations on behaviors um you know there’s a certain style maybe within um the finance industry and so just being able to bridge some of that with Founders was something that I thought was also of value bringing that across from my time at pricewater housecoopers.

Jeffery: Well I can imagine when you’re in a aregulated business and you’re starting to learn the ropes you’re certainly going to start to understand how governance is working and how to cover your ass and make sure that things are aligning properly inside of your executable side of itum and and you mentioned that you know with the key part to that being delivery so how important was delivery to you andI think you mentioned it that maybe um the younger startups have probably less barriers when it comes to governance but there’s also execution and I think this is highly crucial and probably not talked about enough that um you know Founders get too busy or they just drop the ball a lot because they’re always thinking chasing maybe the next dollar and not remembering to close the ones that they’re working on you know is there any advice you can share on that side with helping businesses or people really execute or deliver what they say they’re gonna.

Nicole: Yeah yeah and I I think always with um with um business owners and you know particularly if you’re starting your own busineskinds I find so many Founders um you know have so many ideas and so a little bit is closing that Loop to deliver on ideas um so kind of I I look at that two weeks first of all you know giving it enough time to breathe and not just launch run I didn’t work the way I wanted it to let’s start something new so there’s kind of I think I don’t have it but there’s the kind of this chart where you’ve started this stop start this stop start you know because in Founders can try a lot of different things which is good you are pivoting you are trying um but then there’s you know but sometimes things need a little bit of time of iteration feedback testing again so you kind of can’t also fall over at the first hurdle but I do think that asyou Progressive business kind of having that decision tree model in there around really putting metrics on does this meet Financial sense I thought we would get you know have this happen this type of kpi it didn’t happen will kind of follow maybe three kpis or three decision points if it doesn’t work let’s move on um so to me over time you need to add some rigor into making the decisions around is this working or not um you know versus maybe chasing the next shiny thing which is very easy to do as a Founder because you have so many ideas on what you can do for and with the business.

Jeffery: So to kind of reiterate on that it’s when you come up with that founder idea syndrome it’s maybe write them down and let them uh sit for a while don’t action them all right away and then yeah maybe go back and the ones that keep bugging you then start to look at those ones andput them into a project and then start to do that ramp up and ramp down so put it out there test it come back test it again see where it gets the traction and if it doesn’t shut it down and kind of work on that next project but don’t overin undate it and don’t just start doing 10 projects at once because you’ll never get them completed.

Nicole: 100% I mean focus is key right in terms of focus around your time the money being spent the just leveraging Partnerships how do you focus that and make the most of that you know you can’t the the sales targets you’re going tofor you know go for that all needs to be focused there needs to be that laser focus so that you’re maximizing effort money time to get the quickest result um to determine if yes this is the rightway to go.

Jeffery: I love that effort money and time I Ithink we forget about the time part because especially when you start a company or you’re building audit time seems to be endless and you’ve got enough energy to hit it right.

Nicole: well you do until you don’t right and this is you do meet better and also one of the things that I talked to Founders a lot about is valuing your time and you know it’s not so much about getting lots of staff and lots of employees but what can you be Outsourcing in a in an efficient way and and cost efficient way that allows you to really focus on on where your time is best spent obviously where your value really sits um and I think very early on it’sum you know it’s it’s harder to do that and particularly we work with female Founders so many of them are soul Founders so they are doing everything versus having that split a bit more in terms of co-founders and so it’s very much that coaching Point around we’ll hold up where what’s your skill set what do you need to be doing and focusing onand you know if you’re valued at 100 an hour I say but you’re doing some things that could be outsourced to someone for ten dollars an hour you know but by utilizing your time better you might be able to make that sale that kind of is is Meaningful to the business.

Jeffery: Now I love that it’s and I guess when you’re analyzing the um the efficiency scale for the founders and where their time fits in do you put requirements on on time and say look you know everything you want to idea search you know spend an hour or two don’t do more than that you’re just wasting time focus on the business and what you’re trying to execute on because you’ll drop the ball if you kind of steer away too much.

Nicole: Yeah yeah and I think also um uhyou know because you can do so many different things as a Founder I think really um you know tools like time blocking are really important you know really managing your calendar tightly so thatif you’re you know if you are going to do some form of Sprints right in terms of trying to understand what you want to work on you’ve You’ve Really Got a process that you work within and you deliver within um because it it can be easy for things to extend out um you know and you kind of don’t want that to be happening because time goes super fast right we’re already what arewe mid-march we’re heading into late March I don’t even know where 2023 has gone soum so so I’m a big fan of being on top of um really the control of your calendar or you know if you’re going to spend a lot of time with people making sure that they’re people that hit the kpis you’re setting for your business you know you can always tie everything back into there’s a reason I’m having this meeting there’s a reason I’m going to meet with that person I mean not everything you can type but the more you can I think um that leads you into productivity which comes back to I think what we all know is the power of no um is you know because that’s feeding into opportunity cost if you say yes to everything then there’s an opportunity cost around that right so so the power of no to me is also really important that took me a very long time to learn Ithink I’m still learning it because I love to do everything thoughts um I do think that’s a powerful tool we can all of us can always um utilize more.

Jeffery: I love it and and how much of this it sounds like in the way you’re kind of interfacing with this um in your career you did a lot on theearly on the project management side coordination side it sounds like the way you’re organizing this is you’re really saying you need to have some extra skills here not just because you’re a Founder but if you want to be able to be efficient with your time and be able to manage things forward you should haveand maybe there’s two things I I was writing down a couple of things I’m like people should be efficient in Excel theyshould understand how project management works because I think these things would really elevate your game as a founderand if you don’t know them maybe you spend weekends learning them like this could be an extracurricular thing isthat is that fair and is there other skills that you think would be efficient I don’t know maybe you can do a PowerPoint course I don’t know if thosethings are really super needed but are there things that would really enhance your ability to be a stronger candidatefor a successful business.

Nicole: I think there’s so many tools out there now you know it’s trying to work out what you can use that um would maximize the success of your business so yes you we talk about like Excel and PowerPointbut um you know obviously everyone’s talking chat GPT at the moment you know um you know there’s there’s obviously the the asanas you know how are you um you know what tools are you using toTarget um potential sales you know obviously LinkedIn but there’s kind of sales Navigator it’s a lot of tools out there that um you need to explore and I think talking to other Founders is a really good way to work out what other people are using and is good for their business um and and learning from them as well so that’s where kind of that connectivity is really powerful to give you insights on um what would be useful I mean accounting systems what accounting systems you have in place to kind of you know minimize your time on that um yeah so so I think those and and also you know if you uh if you find yourself writing something regularly make sure you’ve just gotten that in a template so it’s just count based Captain Pace count and Pace right because if you’re always writing from scratch that alone is time consuming.

Jeffery: Uh like that and again you’re looking at ways to to be certainly more efficient and so taking yourself back to um when you’re working in the the Capital Market space uh where do you seethat really working hugely I guess today in Sophia and and in yourum the female-led business side how do you see that number aside really helping and are you able to kind of share that knowledge to the female Founders and is that something that you find not just female but all founders lack the understanding of the financial structure understanding the numbers and how to make money or make their companies make money are you seeing that there’s any disconnect there when you’re working with founders.

Nicole: Yeah it’s interesting because I find that um you know one of one of the big things is around the finances right in terms of um you know understanding the financial statements looking into their cash flowand just understanding what levers they can use around it to make business decisions you know in terms of um you know kind of what would drive them to think about getting a loan out you know um you know what would be the time frame for that how much would they need and um and you know also what I find a lot is that um Founders aren’t sure what investors will ask them in terms of the um Financial aspects of the deal and so um you know and I think that’s really important is is kind of giving that confidence and and and the opportunity to think about those points because youknow it’s always driving back into data and um you know in terms of growth data um your financial data is always really important when you’re looking at fundraising and so I’m so I so I thinkthat that’s really important and I feel that that’s kind of a growing question we get as a team here at next chapter is it’s all around um and I think I’ve had like three conversations on that this week alone with Founders um talking about that so that that’s 100 true I think looking at Sophia because we provide um education we work with a lot of experts um in terms of building out our digital um courses that we deliver and um but it’s really great because we do look at so many different aspects ofkind of what you can be doing to improve your financial position and that’s always been something that has motivated me from a young age in terms of financial Independence so so it’s a real pleasure to be kind of actually the opportunity to be talking about not just like I mean we talk budgeting and saving but introduction to investing and kind of looking at your portfolio and you know what are your risk tolerance what are your financial goals what are your lifestyle goals you know how old are you um you know kind of what’s your your family situation what’s your relationship with your partner in terms of communication communicating on your finances um is whatever you a spender one of youis a saver you know this is all really important once you start looking at your money and I feel that that personal financial um I’m gonna say empowerment is also something that then I think also gives you business um a little bit more business sense or business um sorry not business sense but um uh contributes you feeling maybe a bit more confident around your business numbers however investment literacy is very different to financial literacy so we still have that distinction there and that’s whyum at next chapter is we have a number of courses because we run digital courses and boot camps and part of that includes literally just a course on cash flow statements and learning how to build one and um you know build scenarios into one.

Jeffery: That’s awesome and I’m assuming this is content that’s used for all parties so anybody that you can line up to get into have access to that because I’m sure it’s not one-sided on this case I’m going to go out there and say that it’s probably heavily weighted that a lot a lot a lot of people have the same.

Nicole: Yes yeah yeah and certainly our um our focusis on female Founders at next chapter is because of the statistics I mentioned earlier around you know women um you know not receiving a lot of funding and also we work with a great organization called we connect International and um and there they help female Founders connect to organizations around procurement contracts um just in terms of understanding you know um uh how to get onto the list that are open for procurement contracts so sojust kind of being a bit of a connector there and when you talk to them they explain that you know only one percent of global procurement contracts go to female-led business so when you align that with only three percent of funding going to female lab businesses I mean there’s a real opportunity to look at both of those metrics and understand what can we be doing to improve those and um and andum you know it’s quite frightening actually those numbers but the re so that’s why I focus on women but our course is a very gender neutral right I mean you look at a cash flow statement it’s a cash flow seven it’s not much youcan do that so so from that perspective our course is very much are and we actually work with a lot of um male Founders as well but we certainly market and engage with women moreum because that’s just like the the kind of the DNA of the business.

Jeffery: That makes sense um and and I guess the kind of wrap things up on on how you guys functionand work inside of this space which it sounds obviously very effective and efficient to help female Founders move to that next stage uh get in front of um also get in front of investors and I believe you have um also put together a podcast and I think maybe you could share a little bit about that because this is another spot where people can line up to learn and hear more about uh what you’re what you’re working on.

Nicole: Yep so our podcast is called raise the bar in terms of funding so we’re really interested in that and what we focus on is interviewing um female Founders to share their success stories in terms of fundraising and that could be crowd funding that could be getting a loan that could be umyou know getting some Equity investment so so we look at um we want to share Role Models around women who have scaled and growned their business because that’s one of the things you often hear is you know I’dlike to hear more stories of women ahead of me so the podcast really um gears towards that we do itum uh interview investors and you know key players in the ecosystem that have alot to contribute around kind of the gender lens investment space as well because that’s kind of um you know what we do try and work with a lot of organizations that have that gender lens investment angle um you know we talk to women who have sold their businesses there’s some amazing women who after 20 25 years have sold their businesses and just listening to their stories around um building that business and selling itis also really compelling right because as a business you have think about what is your exits right um you know what is the end goal here and so it’s also nice to share those stories around where did they go andwhat are they doing.

Jeffery: I love it that’s awesome and anywhere you can listen and and Garner that typeof information is invaluable it’s uh it’s incredible that you’re able to um get all of these female Founders tojump in and share that information it’s awesome because anybody can learn from that but uh certainly if um the pointyou made where you want to learn from the people in front of you it’s uh it’s a great line because I was working with um a couple of Founders and one of them had made a comment to me and he said you’re always pitching to the people infront of you not the people behind you you’ve already got the people behind you and uh that’s has always been in my head because it’s so true that that’s pretty much how life Works you’re always chasing the people in front of you so ifuh if these people have have their success points you can learn from that that’s going to be pretty valuable forany founder to to gain from.

Nicole: Yeah yeah yeah and we talked about you know you don’t know what clicks with someone right you don’t know what’s that that um that the the story that you hear that really motivates you to do so something yourself so um so that’s what’s great I think about podcasts is that um you know they’re very accessible to hear more stories from people out of your own network that have experiences you probably didn’t know about or may not get exposed to so that’s why I love um listening to and being involved in podcasts.

Jeffery: I love it um now we’re going to jump into some some one let’s say hard-hitting questions but we’re going to kind of move into a couple more questions before we get into the rapid fire so what was the what has been the toughest learning that you’ve had as a Founder. Uh founding investor like just through that whole network what has beenthe toughest lesson that you’ve had to learn.

Nicole: I feel like I meet every stereotype as a female founder to behonest there’s so many of them I think um inthe toughest toughest is I always come down to not chasing the shiny object because my mind explodes with so many ideas for my business forother people’s business and I think also when I started out what I was really looking for was to also um build knowledge and and find my placein the gender Finance world right so I was starting a business but I had probably a broader remit for myself um and so kind of trying to find a balance behind learning and building um my knowledge my profile understanding why women aren’t being funded you know what are the challenges what can we do to that it’s actually quite a big pie you know so so I think where um the one thing that I’ve learned is how do I really just like I was talking earlier find that focus of whereis my time best spent to both find the the personal and kind of knowledge thatI’m looking for but also find the financial returns that comes with um with building a business.

Jeffery: And I think you kind of hit the spot right there by saying that the financial value that you’re going to gain from this I think a lot of the time we forget that we’re in business and you have to survive and the key is that you can balance that out you’re always trying to figure out what that Revenue line is or how that is going to work in order to help you grow and continue on the journey that you’re on.

Nicole: Um well I often talk when someone does start you know what might be called a passion business I’m not that I’m anti-passion business but I’m like if you do not find financial success you are going to ruin that passion right because you know if you go in you love something but you you pour your heart and soul into it you pour a lot of money into it and it doesn’t go where you expect it to go I mean it can taint what was something that you know was such a meaningful part of your life so so for me it’s always about how do you have that um you know to me it’sum uh what do I say it’s like um passion plus market trends equal success so you really have to tie them together you kind of I think you can’t have one without the other because I think yes Chase market trends but if you’ve got the passion that really drives you the ability to execute keep going gives you the joy to make it successful but passion without knowing what’s the opportunity kind of what’s the market opportunity um it makes it harder to reach that success that will really validate and give you so much back.

Jeffery: I love it can’t have one with all the other

Nicole: No

Jeffery: Yeah So I guess now we’re going to shift again real quick into if you can share acase study around and you work with a lot of Founders just maybe one that really popped in your mind that you know and again you know to be specific on names or anything but just a an experience that you had that really defined what it takes to be a founder

Nicole: You know um there is um doesn’t there is one there’s probably two Founders that come to mind um that I’ve watched their businesses grow over the past five years and and they’ve received a couple of rounds of funding but on the face of it you would think they are an a stereo typical business when you actually talk to them and they talk about their business model they’re very clear on the value around what they’re building and um and actually they’ve kind of they’ve really got an understanding of what their underlying business model is and it’s not necessarily what they’re show casing to their customers but the engine behind it is so much more powerful and what I found with um these two particular Founders is they have just really nailed that engine part of the business um and escalated it to a point that they’re really seeing great growth um you know they’re expanding into different countries they’re getting the funding they’re building the customers and and people really support them because they both have an impact element behind them as well there’s a message behind what they’re doing in terms of sustainability and that’s um I really like that because I think that they’ve got a really practical business model behind itum even though it it’s um you know I think when people kind of Might interact with their industry they may not seethat but they are crystal clear on that and and that’s what really impresses me is that that understanding of what’s the engine.

Jeffery: Noted it’s a good line what’s the engine what’s the motivation to uh to get this and where it needs to be and scale it I love itall right we’re going to do this new segment first first time I think we’ve been working up to it uh you’ve been sharing lots of insight we’re going to jump into the 60 second rantso I’m gonna time it you got 60 seconds to rant about anything that you think isworth ranting about and then I’m gonna pop in with my uh two cents and then you can one line the rebuttal or not but how we’re going to try this out so give meone second I gotta start a timer here I don’t know if I can put it on the screen but um I’m gonna start a timer and then we’re gonna and I’ll wave my hand when we get to the uh 60 second spot how’s that yeah I’m kind of excited for this totally different so he
Nicole: just like rant about something I’m not a ranta

Jeffery: Well today you’re becoming the first Ranter so this is gonna be good all right here we go ready to go

Nicole: Sure you’re on

Jeffery: Go

Jeffery: Fantastic okay well I think my biggest brands and I’ve heard that quite a bit in the past week we’ve just come out of international women’s day and we’ve obviously been talking a lot about gender related matters um is the fact that there aren’t many female Founders out there I constantly hear that I heard someone say that on a panel it was actually a woman that said it on the panel and um and there was an implication it was a it was the fault of women and I’m not saying it’s fault of men are all the faults of anyone but the reality is women are out there they’re building great businesses there’s such an untapped opportunity but they don’t necessarilyum work in the current ecosystem where they’re not looking if I run a pitch event or a mentor event they come at such a larger Pace at mentoring so for me I keep telling everyone you may not see them because they’re not coming to your party but they’re over at my party because they like the way that we’re doing things and so such an untapped opportunity and people just don’t know it and that’s what I really I rant about as my five seconds.

Jeffery: I love it it’s done all right done I throw in one stat around this that 15 percent of Founders are female so how do you get that number up so that you could increase everything else if there’s only 15 of all founders out there are female how do we change that Dynamic and how do we get more females wanting to create companies and is it because is there issue risk or is theissue financing or is the issue just they don’t want to do it they just don’t want to build companies it’s not in their DNA over to you.

Nicole: Yeah no I think it’s I think it’s in a DNA I think soI don’t play gender role on on one’s DNA I think um I do think it’s the networking is really important um in terms of building a business is not just financing it’s finding the right people to talk to to get the right advice um I think a lot of Founders female Founders are sole Founders so getting the right advisors around them is critical if they’re not going to bring on a co-founder because you do need someone to bounce ideas you do need people to talk through um but you don’t need to have 10 000 coffee cups to get there right which can often be the case for people so so for me I think a big factor would be that um you know you know I think you’re talking about growing that I think if we had a bigger number giving them The Advisory support I think the role models I mean women anyone wants to see someone that looks like them that talks like them maybe that or or motivates them ina way that says yes I want to do that that’s interesting to me so I think that’s um really important I think greater value around that a business can make impact and make money is really important because so many women start businesses that have an impact play and that doesn’t mean they can’t be financially successful and financially viable but historically there’s been I think more concern if it’s something that is focused on sustainability or kind of falls under that um uh impact type but I think that you know we’ve got great understanding vsg we’re looking at the unscg goals um you know there’s greater money being put to that and I think that can also help because women do want to make impact I think around their own families their communities the people they work for and solving problems that really are impacting them so to me that would be agreat way to increase numbers and once you increase it giving them greater networks and supportI love it good.

Jeffery: I love it well said that that’s my favorite segment of all timenow so I’m gonna push this rapid fire discussion the 60-second uh rant I love it yeah I’m gonna throw out some more stats for you just quickly um the highest percentage of female founders in a in global context where there’s more women that start companies is number one is Ghana Russia Uganda New Zealand and they all hit around the 30 to 40 percent of all females are running and operating a company I think that’s brilliant and I’m sure we could get into why it is there but it’s also survival and driven and when you get put into that spot it makes it happen and in those countries there is a lot of women-led need to crush it I need to survive and this is the only way I’m going to do it and they go out andpush the wine and it’s amazing so I think those stats really do prove that uh if you can go into the hardest countries and those countries are amazing by the way uh beautiful people you can switch that in and make it benefit for yourselves as well.

Nicole: Yeah I think they talk about needs versus opportunity based um the kind of necessity of us opportunity based businesses and um you know there was a stat that came outum pre-covered from one of the banks and I’m gonna acquire it 160 million female entrepreneurs I think that was Asia Idon’t think it was purely southeast Asia but the number was was big but the reality is a lot of that is necessity based entrepreneurs right like you’ve kind of um you know that’s kind of building that um day-to-day living um you know supporting the family Etc so you definitely see a lot of thatum so I think that’s why you do see big numbers and and that’s a good thing right I mean you know people are out there they’re earning they’re supporting their families I think that’s great

Jeffery: Love it love itall right we’re going to jump into rapid fire questions sure uh business side first so you are going to pick uh one versus the other coming in as the leaduh investor okay founder or co-founder

Nicole: Sorry your question is um would I choose a founder or a co-founder as the lead investor okay

Jeffery: If you’re going to invest which one meaning you’re already working with them yeah yeah yeah yeah no I mean I have to obviously the co-founder inthere is just an easier play um can always be problems with co-founders though soum I sit on the fence a lot of this because of the female founder angle I know so many are soul Founders so sothat’s a tough one for me actually Okay unicorn or a four year 10x exit

Nicole: Unicorn

Jeffery: Tech or cpg um

Nicole: Tech

Jeffery: Nfts or web 3.0

Nicole: um I’m gonna say web 3.0 I’m an amazing WhatsApp group um at the moment talking all about that so just learning I’m just learning so much my son would say nfts he loves nfts he’s only young so

Jeffery: I was going to say that they just put a release out that uh the ape the ape um nfts are tanking and uh I’m pretty sure Snoop Dogg and uh what’s the other guy that was pushing these um the wine guy oh man what’s his name uh garyvee I’m sure they made their millions and billions so they’re good but uh yeah they’re taken now
Nicole: Everyone else is right

Jeffery: Yeah you gotta be first exactly AI or blockchain

Nicole: Um oh God both fries you know we’re talking the future here

Jeffery: Agreed uh first time founder or second third time founder

Nicole: Second or third

Jeffery: First money in or series A

Nicole: For me actually first money because that’s what women need

Jeffery: Okay verticals do you have a focus were you guys operate out of uh

Nicole: Uh no

Jeffery: okay uh two qualitiesa startup needs in order to stand out to you

Nicole: I always come back to focus um you know and I think I don’t know how to find your market and talk to them and sell

Jeffery: Okay what is the piece of advice you give Founders nine out of ten times given

Nicole: I’m like Nike and I tell everyone just do it it would be something I say alot to people

Jeffery: Okay do you have a philosophy or rules that you stand behind

Nicole: Um it builds something good you know kind of um you know what what and for me the philosophy is what do you want from your business and work to that so do you want the Unicorn do you want the Zebra I just recently heard the donkey I’m not sure what that one was but I mean what do you want right because then that’s when you look at the financing you need that’s when you look at the scale you need don’t work towards what you think you should be doing work towards what you want um but again I come back to just start because you can get in and work out you know um once you start as well don’t hesitate just start and get in there and have ago.

Jeffery: I love that that’s a a great line and quote um brilliant what tech will Define the world in five years from now

Nicole: Uh I mean I presume AI will be you knowa big driver given I mean chat GPT has had so many downloads in such a small um uh you know amount of time and it’s really already started to transform the Way businesses are working the way they’re resourcing the way they you know they’re costing things out um you know and and that and obviously the great impact it has on education and many other things so um so right now that’s what I would say we should expect to see more

Jeffery: Okay who is your hero mentor and why

Nicole: Um I have to say I don’t have one person in particular because I get to meet awesome people all the time and I think I’m always taking something from people soum you know I I just and that’s what I love about not being in corporate anymore is every day of every week I getto meet people in different Industries doing different things at different stages and hear their why um and and I get to talk to a lot of amazing investors as well and people kind of trying to make impact in the gender lens space so I feel like I’m often just you know I’m always in awe of people to be honest so so and I lovethat right so I try and take a bit from everyone I suppose when I can.

Jeffery: I love it and I totally agree with that that in the space that you operate in you’re going to come across a lot offantastic people and Founders and figure out what they’re doing why they’re doing it and even if you can’t work with them you still can be part of that Journey for that Split Second and just enjoy what they’re doing.

Nicole: Yeah

Jeffery: Okay we’re gonna do three random questions

Nicole: Sure

Jeffery: What is your biggest fear or phobia in the business startup ecosystem

Nicole: For me personally or for the ecosystem sorry

Jeffery: For you personally yeah what is your biggest fear in phobia in in the startup ecosystem what what scares you about it

Nicole: Well I think it’s you know it’s always about maybe not being taken seriously um you know in terms of what our focus is on um you know you can throw statistics around like I’ve done but then some people go it’s not really a problem um so I think it’s you know it’s just sometimes talking about this um and the continual discussion having on this because it needs to be had so it’s not so much a fear of phobia but it’s a challenge you know always.

Jeffery: Agreed agreed I can see how that can over time call The Imposter syndrome at some point but you kind of feel like you’re you’re not being listened to even though uh the more you hear it and the more the people talk about it everywhere it’s increasing every day the number of female Founders are coming it’s growing every month every day so it’s it’s as much as you may not think it’s working it’s working

Nicole: Yeah it’s good

Jeffery: What line do you find you share to investors over and over with investing these guys they’re amazing

Nicole: Yeah I mean I just am I I feellike I’m often because I meet so many Founders I mean if we chat next week I mean I just met the most amazing woman out of Vietnam literally two weeks ago so I’m definitely always talking about amazing families I always meet um obviously I’m always trying to make sure they’re relevant to people but I’m definitely someone who has always just met someone who is growing and I think what I keep saying is I’m meeting Founders that are raising bigger and bigger amounts right in terms of when we started five six years ago um you know it very much more of thatideation stage very early stage but now what I’m seeing is they’re looking um very muchum like bigger numbers and they’re coming in and they’re saying in 18 months I’m gonna fund again and so thisso I I just see that so I that’s what I do keep saying is the quality of the founders I’m seeing and the numbersthey’re raising um continue to keep going up um and that’s been that’s awesome.

Jeffery: I love it okay this is a more off the cuff why are we so fascinated by rich people are they smarter than us
Nicole: Well I just saw actually and article yesterday said um you know this whole concept of money doesn’t buy you happiness isn’t true actually rich people are happier that’s right um I I think everyone feels attaining either the nice car the nice house um you know maybe that yacht is is going to make you happy and maybe it will you know you never know

Jeffery: I guess the possibilities are there all right we’re getting close to the end we’re going to jump into the rapid fire personal questions.

Nicole: Okay

Jeffery: Most famous person that pops in your mind

Nicole: Um Sam Neal because I was just chatting to someone how I spotted him in Hong Kong um and actually I think uh yeah usage I was just talking about him this week

Jeffery: I love it first brand that pops in your mind

Nicole: Um I’m gonna say Fenty because I’ve just seen so much with you know um Rihanna and what she’s been doing in terms of uh I just and I just was watching a movie recently and they were talking about Fenty and that I’m like this is so much great product placement

Jeffery: Okay do you prefer book or a movie

Nicole: Books

Jeffery: Wonder Woman or Robin

Nicole: Wonder Woman

Jeffery: I don’t know why I use Robin but I’ve had to be the opposite of Batman so yeah I’m just assuming robin goes that way Idon’t know but anyways uh Fortune cook or birthday cake

Nicole: Fortune cookie absolutely

Jeffery: Five minutes with Bezos or Oprah

Nicole: Oprah

Jeffery: Mountain or Beach

Nicole: Beach

Jeffery: Bike or Run

Nicole: Bike

Jeffery: Big Mac or chicken McNuggets

Nicole: Uh um neither but we’ll go with your Big Mac
Jeffery: Trophy or money

Nicole: Probably money

Jeffery: Beer or wine

Nicole: Wine

Jeffery: Ted talk or book reading

Nicole: Book reading

Jeffery: Tick Tock or Instagram

Nicole: Instagram

Jeffery: Facebook or LinkedIn

Nicole: LinkedIn

Jeffery: Favorite movie and what character would you play

Nicole: Um you know I’ve just finished watching the second um Black Panther movie so the princess I think she’s phenomenal character actually so and I think yeah I like it

Jeffery: I haven’t seen it yet so I’m gonna have to watch that one, Favorite book um

Nicole: I read a lot so there’s a lot um yeah I should adjust because my son’s reading Harry Potter so I’ve just re I’m reading that with him at the moment I’m really enjoying that so I have to say right now you know I’m halfway through the series again it’s great

Jeffery: I love it uh favorite sports team

Nicole: I have to um support my family Brisbane Alliance in Queens land

Jeffery: Awesome all right well there’s uh I guess one last question what is your superpower

Nicole: Uh networking talking to people I love meeting people talking to people connecting people so that’s definitely um you know a superpower.

Jeffery: I love it I I’ll also throw in one extra is that uh you’re very good at communicating and building Comfort levels so I think that allows for your networking and everything else to be very efficient or very good.

Nicole: Okay well thank you
Jeffery: So to to I guess to end our show and want to say thank you very much uh for joining us today Nicole it was fantastic I really enjoyed the conversation lots of information I took lots of notes and the way we kind of like to end our show is we like to give you the last word and we want to share you to share to the community to investors to Founders anything that you think will help them move forward but again I want to thank you for joining us today and uh look forward to chatting with you again in the future but I turn it over to you uh
Nicole: Well thank you I this has been great thank you for the time the questions the opportunity um you know when we work with female Founders we’re always just you know get out there Network talk to people um you know and be convinced about what you’re building that’s the big thing it’s not about confidence but conviction that what you’re building is going to bethe best thing out there because I think that’s definitely what investors want to hear um always talking to investors around there are amazing female-led businesses out there and there will be more so umso if you want to connect with them engage with them Mentor them we run pitch events judge you know we do so much with them um but if you want to kind of be part of our Network and meet other great investors working withfemale Founders and meet female Founders than um yeah we’re the place to be

Jeffery: I love it and how can people get a hold of you uh

Nicole: So if you go to or onto my LinkedInum you know absolutely reach out to me

Jeffery: I love it thank you Nicole for being a rock star you’re amazing enjoy the conversation again thank you very much and have a fantastic week a head

Nicole: Okay thanks so much thanks so much

Jeffery: Okay that was a great discussion with Nicole we went into so many great little areas there but I think some of the key takeaways uh certainly on uh the founder side is you know creating goals uh goal setting work on Sprint so learn whatthat whole project side is and how you’re going to execute um iterate get rid of it fail like there’s lots of different ways in order to operate when you’re coming up with all of these ideas I’m just talked a lot about this but the number one thing was focus focus focus I think that is a a really key to anything you’re going to do and then the other great things she talked about is just setting up different systems to validate execute having an impact business those are all great things and of course thebig one was you know passion with the engine what’s the engine what’s the why what are you doing this for what are you going to get out of it um how’s the financial side going to work for you and that’s what’s really going to drive your business home so her great line was what do you want from your business then look at it and work towards what you want what is the outcome that you’re looking for andthen work towards that so great goal setting great great line uh very helpful doing a lot in the female founder sideto help help female Founders raise funds and and build um scalable business scalable businesses which is fantastic so uh thank you again for joining us Nicole and everybody else if you’ve enjoyed this conversation please feel free to share with your friends subscribe to our YouTube channel and or please follow us on Spotify apple and or Stitcher podcast platforms feel free to share an audio or video clip around ourshow and we may include it in one of our future podcasts you can find or follow us at marketing or on LinkedIn at supportersfund your support and comments are truly appreciated please visit us at or for startup eventsat thank you and have a fantastic day.

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