A brand new digital market known as West Tenth, now backed by $1.5 million in seed funding, needs to present girls a platform to begin and develop their home-based companies. By way of its cellular app, girls can promote their enterprise to others in the area people, then discipline inquiries and requests by way of the app’s built-in messaging platform, in addition to finalize transactions by way of in-app funds.
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The startup was co-founded by Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk, who met once they each labored in finance. Johnson remained in finance, however Sparhawk later moved on to work at Amazon.
Johnson explains that her expertise led her to raised perceive the financial inequality of girls within the U.S., the place they solely personal 32 cents to each greenback in monetary property than males personal. A big driver of that is that girls go away the workforce, typically to boost youngsters, which leads to years the place they don’t have earnings.
“We’re actually good as a society at supporting girls on the best way of out of the workforce to care for his or her youngsters, however actually horrible at supporting them on the best way again in,” Johnson says. “Ladies know this, and as an alternative choice to employment that simply appears to fail them, they’re beginning companies in droves.”
With West Tenth, the aim is to encourage this kind of entrepreneurship — and extra broadly, to assist girls perceive that the most of the abilities they’ve developed at house are, the truth is, potential companies.
This consists of alternatives like home-based bakers and cooks, photographers, house organizers or designers, house florists, child sleep consultants, social gathering planning and occasion companies, crafting courses, health coaching, selfmade items, and extra.
The corporate notes that the app isn’t essentially closed to males, however the present marketplace for U.S. house companies favors girls as they’re extra typically the accomplice who chooses to depart work to boost youngsters. Nonetheless, there are some males on its platform.
Although immediately many of those entrepreneurs market their house companies on Fb, they’re lacking alternatives to succeed in clients in the event that they’re not closely concerned in native teams and responding to requests for suggestions. West Tenth as an alternative centralizes native companies in a single place to make discovery simpler.
Within the app, clients can browse and store native companies, filtering by class through buttons on the high of the display. The outcomes are sorted by distance and provide pictures, description, and the beginning value for the products or companies provided. By way of built-in messaging, customers can attain out instantly for a quote or extra info. Prospects may also full their purchases by way of the app’s Stripe funds integration. West Tenth takes a 9.5% fee on these gross sales.
One other key facet to West Tenth is its training element, The Foundry.
By way of a $100 per quarter subscription membership (or $350 per yr), enterprise house owners will have the ability to attend bi-monthly occasions, together with courses targeted on the basics of organising home-based companies, advertising and marketing, buyer acquisition, and different subjects. These courses may also be accessible à la carte at round $30 apiece, for many who need to pay per session.
As well as, attendees will hear from visitor audio system who’ve expertise within the home-based enterprise market, and so they’ll have the opportunity be a part of mastermind networking teams to alternate concepts with their friends.
This technique of mixing training and networking with enterprise possession may probably assist extra girls change into home-based enterprise entrepreneurs as an alternative of becoming a member of multi-level advertising and marketing (MLM) corporations, as is widespread.
“Once we began this, we acknowledged that MLMs are one of many few form of industries that’s targeted on this demographic of girls who’ve left the workforce — which is a large, untapped expertise pool within the U.S.,” notes Johnson. “However they’re actually predatory. Solely the highest 1% of sellers distributors actually earn a living and the remaining lose cash. They usually lose their social capital, as nicely. What we’re actually eager about doing is changing into an alternative choice to MLMs in lots of respects,” she provides.
Not surprisingly, MLMs aren’t allowed on the West Tenth platform.
The startup, which accomplished Kansas Metropolis TechStars final summer time, has now raised $1.5 million in seed funding to get its platform off the bottom. The spherical was led by Higher Ventures together with Stand Collectively Ventures Lab, Kapital Companions,The Group Fund, Backstage Capital, Wedbush Ventures, and Gaingels.
The funds can be used to develop the product and develop its consumer base. In time, West Tenth goals to construct out product options to raised spotlight native companies. This consists of purchasing components that can allow you to see what mates are shopping for and video demonstrations, amongst different issues.
Since 2019, West Tenth has grown its footprint from simply 20 companies on the app to now over 600, largely in suburban L.A. and Salt Lake Metropolis. It’s now aiming to focus on development in Phoenix, Boise, and Northern California.
The timing for West Tenth’s enlargement is approaching the tail finish of the COVID-19 disaster, the place issues have solely gotten worse for ladies’s conventional employment.
Faculty and daycare closures mixed with job losses that enormously impacted girls’s roles have now pushed extra girls out of the workforce in contrast with males. And based on McKinsey, girls accounted for practically 56% of workforce exits for the reason that begin of the pandemic, regardless of making up simply 48% of the workforce. This COVID-driven “shecession,” as some have dubbed it, can be disproportionately impacting girls of shade, research have discovered.
“We’ve seen 5 million girls exit the workforce — some as a result of they have been laid off or furloughed, and an enormous chunk as a result of they’re opting out as a result of the caregiving duties simply grew to become overwhelming,” says Johnson.
“The factor is when girls go away the workforce for caregiving causes — for some motive we actually low cost that and we make it even tougher for them to return to work. So I believe over the following 18 to 24 months, we’ll see an enormous surge in financial exercise within the house with girls making an attempt to herald extra sources of revenue by operating a enterprise from the house,” she says.
The West Tenth app is out there on each iOS and Android.