Minnesota Tech Startup Showcase: Healy

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Via Pioneer Press

Lynn Smith, technology entrepreneur and founder of Healy, couldn’t help joining this paradigm shift by creating a forward-looking company that combines the best of emerging technologies to solve the longstanding problems of our health care system. She is creating a new economic world order where patients control and leverage their own health care to create a new kind of public good.”

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  • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

    “I’ve been told by every experienced woman I know in tech that the only way I’ll get funding is to hire a male CEO”

    …might want to reconsider who you are asking and/or listening to because this is completely false :/

    • Lynn Smith

      I definitely went off-script in that part of the interview. And, regret relaying my experiences. It’s distracting.

      My comment is far from ‘completely false’, since I’m talking about actual people who have shared their personal experiences with me.

      I’ve heard the same story from 3 different woman-led tech companies in MN in the past 5 years. They were rejected over and over again for significant (post-angel) funding, hired a male CEO, and got funding quickly afterwards. It’s happening. Women generally don’t talk about it because by merely by pointing at facts, they can run the risk of becoming even less fundable.

      Hyperbole sucks. I do have to eat crow on the ‘every woman’ – I do know one tech CEO woman who didn’t advise me to hire a male CEO. She got funding without having to go that route. Clearly, there are other women-led tech companies in MN. But, my comment was about the warnings I was getting from my tech CEO friends, not about the industry as a whole.

      Have you seen the national statistics on funding for women-led tech companies? That also backs up the personal experiences I’ve been told about and observed in my personal life. It’s pretty ugly. http://fortune.com/2018/01/31/female-founders-venture-capital-2017/

      If you want to debate this, hit me up on email. I’d love to talk. But, I’m not up for derailing the article with a public debate on this.

      Lastly – thanks so much for your support and for posting the article for your audience. It means so much! I deeply appreciate it.

      • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

        Hi Lynn – I understand that you are expressing yourself, so no regrets. The extremity of “every” and “only way” caught my attention as we both know it’s not a true statement.

        Distracting to your story, yes, but moreso to your entrepreneurial mind. To think or care about this notion, to go so far as to outwardly express it, raises some questions:

        For what purpose does this serve?

        Is it an empowering thought or a limiting thought?
        If it’s not true or empowering, does it even matter?

        Stepping back though…why would someone suggest ‘you’re going to have to hire a male CEO’ to raise money? I’d be questioning that advice and intentionality because what they are simultaneously implying is ‘you’re not the one to do it’- which is also a lie.

        It’s demeaning for someone to undermine you as the entrepreneur in such a way. Regardless, you always get to decide to accept or reject those vibes because as is often said and especially relevant to the art of successful entrepreneurship: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

        Be deliberately picky about who you are seeking and accepting advice/ideas/inputs from; for example, if funding is your goal, who is best suited to ask and listen to:

        -Those who essentially suggest ‘you’re not the one to do it’ (for whatever the reason).

        -Those who are actually doing or have recently done the thing you aspire to do (demonstrating it can be done).

        As you consciously gravitate closer to those who are measurably making it happen, then you will have a better chance along your own journey by questioning, listening, learning, and transferring qualified knowledge into your own entrepreneurial applications.

        Then you get to share your own actionable advice and words of encouragement to the next founder/entrepreneur who inevitably asks you ‘how do I _________?’ – instead of saying something so counterproductive as was the case in this situation.

        You have chosen to become an entrepreneur. That is an incredibly bold decision and a way of being that’s full of unlimited potential. This is your script to write :)

        Cheers to a prosperous 2019!

        • Lynn Smith

          Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I completely believe in ‘what you believe you can do, you do’ mindset.

          And, I think you’ve maybe misunderstood the situation as I conveyed it. It’s hard to relay over commenting in this format. The women who have said ‘you should hire a male CEO’ have not been implying ‘you can’t do it’ – quite the opposite. This discussion has always been steeped in sincere repeats of ‘it’s because you’re so capable and rock so much that I’m giving you the benefit of my experience.’ They are pointing out that getting funding is hard for everyone. And, as a woman, the stats show I’ve got 1/10th of a chance of other people who apply – that has to be taken into consideration when planning business strategy.

          I’ve been very careful in seeking out my advisors. I have come across a few people who are very negative. This is not that. These are all very, very capable women who have a very positive attitude and are running successful tech startups. And, only in very private moments, as a very small part of our discussions, have they relayed their own personal difficulties and given me the warnings of their experiences.

          And, I’m not so quick to discount the usefulness of women who have come before me, directly on the path I’m about to walk, who are pointing out the landscape to me. The experiences they have been through are real. They are perfect advisors.

          You’re totally right in your advice to ‘consciously gravitate closer to those who are measurably making it happen’ – that’s what I’ve done, 100%. This is not whining from people who haven’t gotten funding or built amazing businesses – quite the opposite. Which, is why I paid attention. These are very accomplished entrepreneurs who have solved the higher-difficulty issue of trying to get funding while a woman. (Which, you seem to dismiss as not being a real issue with your assumption that they are really telling me I’m not capable. Seems a very strange conclusion to jump to – if you accept the facts in the article I posted in my earlier comment. I can only assume that you refute the facts – that women are funded at 2%, compared to being almost 20% of those seeking funding.)

          On your ‘instead of saying something so counterproductive’ …

          You do them a disservice when you discount their wise words as ‘counterproductive.’ Maybe you can’t conceive that they were correct? I’m totally flabbergasted by your comment there. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something. They were essentially telling me to take into account the very harsh landscape for women in tech. I know several women who haven’t taken their advice and killed their startup by putting very-scarce early resources into seeking funding. I’m glad I didn’t do that.

          Perhaps you think these women who have advised that I do exactly what they had to do should not tell me the truth of their experience? I’m glad they shared it with me. It helped me plot the correct path forward. I’ve already built a successful app. I’ve got revenue and am moving on to the next stage.

          I truly appreciate you taking the time to explain all of your perspective on this to me. I’m writing my script, as you so eloquently put it. I love that phrasing. And, I’m grateful for your encouragement and advice. Thanks for taking the time to write al that out. And, forgive me if my response seems harsh – it’s intended very kindly.

          • Colleen Harrington

            Jeff – Your comment is fascinating. She used two descriptors for the people she got advice from – “experienced” and “women”. Which descriptor led you to believe they were inexperienced (e.g. people who weren’t ‘making it happen’ for themselves, not people who have ‘actually done the thing’ of getting funding )?

          • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

            Hi Colleen – Neither of those descriptors did, rather the “advice” itself is false and that’s telling. As such I am encouraging Lynn to disregard it (my 2c FWIW) and go get what she wants!

        • Lynn Smith

          I wrote a very polite and thought out response that was on here for about an hour, and is now gone. Technical glitch?

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