Karen Cahn is the Founder and CEO of IFundWomen, a fundraising ecosystem for women-led startups, small businesses, nonprofits, and side-hustlers. She helps female entrepreneurs with everything from honing their business pitch, to branding, professional video production, and of course, fundraising. Karen is on a mission is to have IFW be the place where every woman-led company launches her business (there are 1,800/day in the U.S. alone!)
We asked Karen to tell us a bit more about her, and how she found herself on this mission.
How old are you?
Where were you raised?
What you want to be known for?
Empowering women to make as much money as possible. Why? Because money equals freedom and freedom equals choice.
What made you decide to start your venture? Tell us about YOUR WHY.
I have so many “why’s”. Some I’m ready to talk about and others I’m not. It all maps back to women having financial freedom so they can make the choices that work for them and their families. Money doesn’t make you happy, but freedom does. Money buys you freedom.
Did you leave a cozy Corporate job? Or start a side hustle?
I left the coziest of all corporate jobs - 10 years at Google! I loved Google. The people, the culture, the constant flow of ideas, the free food, and the list goes on. I left after 10 years because I got bored, and I felt I owed it to the company that made me rich to not phone it in, and to allow someone with fresh ideas into my spot. I’m still very loyal to Google. It was an incredible place to work with a mission that I still believe in. To organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful. And don’t do evil.
What inspires you to keep going when the going gets tough?
Honestly, the women on iFundWomen inspire me to keep going when the going gets tough. There are many days when I feel like progress for women in America has stalled, or is going backwards, but the community of entrepreneurs on iFW keeps me going. I don't have a choice. I built this thing and now there are thousands of women who depend on iFundWomen, so being defeated by "the man" is not an option! There are so many days when I feel hopeless, especially lately. But I’m strong, and after a well-deserved breakdown, I rise up again. I’m 100% dedicated to the female economy. We can't lose.
My favorite self-care routine is…
Hot yoga, a bacon cheeseburger & fries, a Xanax, a glass of really good red wine, and sleep.
The last book I read was ….
Reset by Ellen Pao. Also, I’m halfway through Bad Blood: Secrets & Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, but TBH, it’s giving me anxiety so I can’t get through it quickly. I’m a big podcast listener. My faves are Pod Save America, and Getting Curious by Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye. JVN brings light, love, and laughter to my day and I’m all about it. I’m also into The Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo.
My best advice to fellow female founder is… Remember, your startup is not your baby. It’s a business idea. Test it, see if there is demand for your idea, and if there is, then follow what the customers want. If nobody is demanding your product, then ditch it and go onto the next idea. Fail fast and fail cheap. And don’t take it personally. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes female founders make. We take every piece of feedback personally. It’s not about you, it’s about whether people would pay for your product or service.