Story Diversity Needed In Startup Funding

Story diversity startup funding

My Facebook feed recently served up a 2014 TED talk by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie. She talks about “The danger of a single story.” In her case, it’s a single story that Americans hear about Africa. It leads to “critical misunderstanding.”

Naturally, I saw a parallel in entrepreneurial funding.

As the TED talk summary says, “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories.” The world, and human culture, is diverse and complex. If we don’t hear diverse and different stories we are destined to misunderstand the world.

Entrepreneurship is also diverse and complex. So are funding options. Yet the stories we hear may not reflect that diversity.

Large venture capital funding events make for easy media stories. Swashbuckling entrepreneurs disrupting the world are heard from disproportionately.

By contrast, if an existing business improves free cash flow by 40% and can grow 20% a year versus 10%, it’s a less sexy story. Or if a young founder turns a $5,000 grant into a solid small business that lasts a decade, that story may get lost in the news feed.

Story Diversity In The Funding Coach Podcast

The TED talk about story diversity resonated with me because I’m trying to achieve some degree of story diversity in The Funding Coach podcast. I hadn’t realized how central that is to my mission until I saw the TED talk.

As you listen on the podcast to these disparate company stories and challenges, remember that the diversity of stories is part of the point. Your own company funding story may not resemble the dominant themes in your news feeds.

But that’s ok. You need to create your own story from assembling parts from a wide array of overlapping stories. That’s harder work. But no one ever said entrepreneurship was easy!

Don Gooding

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