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Do Women CEOs Have a Tougher Time Pitching Start-Ups?

Spot On Sciences

In baseball, the crowd holds its breath, waiting for the pitch.

In the business world, pitching is similar: suspense can be a killer, and ideas often get knocked down. Scrappy start-ups and venture capital abound in the modern economy, but success isn’t always guaranteed.

Dr. Jeanette Hill, CEO of Spot On Sciences and home blood test HemaSpot knows pitching – and it's nothing like what you’ve seen on "Shark Tank."

“You’ve got about 60 seconds, sometimes up to two minutes,” she tells KUT’s David Brown. “You have to get your idea across, you have to sell the audience … get it out there without stumbling.”

Dr. Hill first worked in science labs before adapting to business ventures.

“A scientific talk is different from a business talk,” she says. “I wanted to put up the figures and the data, but you can’t go too far into that."

Few women relative to men are selling ideas to venture capitalists. Hill worked with other women to master the art of the pitch.

“I think a lot of women I’ve talked to think ‘Well, I don’t have it quite ready yet,’ or ‘I have to learn this,’” she says. “You just have to get started.”

Investors used to flock to places like Boston and Silicon Valley for entrepreneurial opportunities. Now Austin is increasingly attracting them.

“A lot of companies start here, and so I think [Austin] is starting to attract that investment money – but it’s not to the level on the coast,” Hill says.

Hill said Austin is becoming a bigger place forincubators, which is good news for startups.

“The biggest thing is that they give you advice, because there are so many people who have started companies,” she says. “Those people are willing to give back, people are just so willing to help.”

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.
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