New Entrepreneurial Community, Built By She, Empowers Women Founders, Innovators

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Photo by Asia Morris.

On Monday night a gathering of aspiring and local entrepreneurs packed one of WeWork’s community rooms in downtown Long Beach, marking a meeting of like-minded individuals both searching for and offering insight on what it takes to turn an idea into a lucrative reality.

Part of the Long Beach-based interTrend family, Imprint Culture Lab seeks out creative startups to fund and nurture into iconic brands through their venture arm, Imprint Venture Lab. Tanya Raukko, managing partner at Imprint Venture Lab, said that she and co-founder, Jenifer Maxwel, noticed through their work that there was a huge need, and an opportunity, to help empower women founders.

“[…]We looked at some of the numbers out there in the industry, and it’s less than 3 percent of all venture capital funded companies go to women CEOs, which is awful, pathetic and we have to change that,” Raukko said to the room during the event.

“We did a lot of soul searching in terms of what we wanted to do next, pivoting ourselves and evolving the venture lab and thought that it would be great if we could just have more impact, more reach, talk to larger communities of women and get to know people doing innovative and amazing things and really help them, too,” Raukko continued. “So that’s why we decided to build Built By She.”

Thus Built By She was founded late last year as a women’s entrepreneurial community, offering consulting, live events, web workshops, advice sessions and daily tips to help women start and grow their own businesses and build their own brands.

“We feel that there is tremendous enthusiasm for this community and positive support for what we are building,” Maxwel and Raukko iterated. “It’s great to see women supporting women, and that’s what we’re founded on.”

Monday night at WeWork, Built By She hosted their first event, bringing Lisa Fetterman, the 27-year-old co-founder and CEO of Nomiku, the first home sous vide immersion circulator machine on the market, to Long Beach. The excitement to hear her speak was palpable as attendees filled the room, most of them local, some from Orange County and Los Angeles.

Fetterman is a Shark Tank alum, was recognized on both Forbes and Zagat Survey’s 30 Under 30 lists for her innovation in the food industry, ran a successful Kickstarter campaign raising $1.3 million, has been featured in Wired, MAKE and Inc. and has worked at some of the most lauded restaurants in the country, including Babbo and Jean-Georges in New York and Saison in San Francisco.

Fetterman answered questions from the Raukko and Maxwel, as well as the audience, offering insight and advice on effective networking, how to start a business and measure its growth, how to show and gain traction and how to stay the path despite seemingly devastating setbacks, among other pertinent topics.

She also spoke about her experience on Shark Tank, how occasionally sheer dumb luck and last-ditch efforts resulted in progress, being rejected by 70-plus venture capitalists, and why she and her husband continued to push her vision forward. Since its invention in 2012, the Nomiku has surpassed the growth of the cell phone, Internet and the computer, said Fetterman.

One attendee, Cori Cauble, who runs a restaurant and life consulting business out of Long Beach, agreed that there is a place and need for Built By She. Being a part of a community of other women is important to the entrepreneur.

“I don’t always find that that’s what we grew up with, women supporting women,” Cauble said. “And if we’re going to be honest, and really be together and really be able to do that, that’s an amazing, great space to be a part of.”

“One of the things that she said was just don’t stop,” Cauble continued, when asked what insight from Fetterman was most helpful. “And even when you stop, even if something stops you like money, don’t stop. If you love it and you’re passionate about it[…] if you really believe in something, be unstoppable. And don’t waste your time on the ‘nos,’ keep looking for those ‘yeses.’ That’s what I heard.”

Built By She will continue to host events in Long Beach, from casual meetups and supper clubs to bigger speaker events, said Raukko and Maxwel. The company may also extend their reach to various other Southern California locales. Based on the energy in the room on Monday, it’s no question at least another Speaks event will be in high demand.

After the event, Fetterman sat down with the Post to chat, saying matter of factly:

“I believe that it’s the duty of a woman who’s made it, to support other women. Because, if you’ve made it as far as you have, like Sheryl Sandberg, or even Taylor Swift, you’ve made it off the backs of other women. Because if you did anything girl power, rah, rah, to escalate your climb, if a woman used your product, you owe it to them. You carry a debt. If you don’t do it, then you’re an awful person, just straight up.”

To learn more about Built By She, which is currently offering free signups, as well as a free 30-minute consultation as part of Early Access Beta, visit the website here. Follow Built By She on Facebook here and Instagram @builtbyshe.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.