Karen Cahn

@karencahn @ifundwomen
Tell us a bit about yourself

I am the Founder & CEO of IFundWomen, and have dedicated my career to closing the funding and the confidence gap for women entrepreneurs. I am a pioneer in tech and media. I was an early Google Intrapreneur where I spent 10 years leading various monetization teams in search, display, and video. Most notably, I started the Branded Entertainment business at YouTube, when, back in the olden times of YouTube 2006, I and a rogue group of sales and product managers, made the connection between big consumer brands and video creators, thus creating the first native video ad experiences monetized on YouTube. I hold a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I double majored in African-American Studies and US History.

IFundWomen is a startup funding platform providing access to capital through crowdfunding and grants, expert business coaching on all the topics entrepreneurs need to know about, and a network of women business owners that sparks confidence, accelerates knowledge, and ignites action.

What makes you smile?

We broker grants to women entrepreneurs on behalf of institutions and wealthy individuals, and to see the look on the faces of the grant recipients is the best feeling ever!

What can we do to support others during this time?

Fund women founders. There are 1,821net new businesses started by women every day in the U.S. Despite this, women got just 2.7% of the venture capital dollars last year. Though, ironically, according to a study done by BCG, companies founded by women return two dollars for every one dollar invested as opposed to companies founded by men. 

The current COVID recession will amplify already existing inequalities such as this. Now more than ever, you should think about women in your life who own businesses. They need your support right now. If you can’t think of one to support, visit IFundWomen’s COVID-19 relief page. It is chalk full of women entrepreneurs who you can support in exchange for goods and services. My personal favorite is Taylor Jay. She has pivoted her fashion line and is offering chic cotton masks, made in Oakland, CA. For every mask purchased, she donates one to a healthcare provider, a senior, or someone else in need.

What have you been doing? (Any tips/ advice for isolation)

Booking as many Zoom workshops, live streams, and podcasts as humanly possible. I’m also blogging more. As an extrovert, I get my energy from other people, so I need to feel connected most of the day. Luckily, IFundWomen has never been busier so keeping busy and not totally hating quarantine is thanks to our business.

Shoutout to someone

Julia Steele (@jschweiz) - IFW’s Head of Marketing & Comms. She practices random acts of kindness and generosity on the daily and she’s asked me to keep it all on the down low, but my shout out is to her. I see you, girl.

Your role model/who inspires you and why: 

I have different role models for different things. Right now, my role model for calm is my co-founder Sarah Sommers. Though COVID, she has managed to keep her cool and sense of humor intact and I need that. My role model for making hard decisions is my other co-founder Kate Anderson. She forces us to do them and I’m glad every single time. 

I’m thinking of a friend who through COVID is battling brain cancer and doesn’t have his tribe around to help take care of him. How’s that for putting stuff in perspective?