By @SimonCocking

Interview with Anne Ravanona @anneravanona , CEO and Founder of Global Invest Her helping women entrepreneurs become investor-ready and funded faster. TEDxSpeaker and Huffington Post Contributor.

Anne Ravanona photo

Global Invest Her what is it? How does it work?

We are the first global online portal/community 100% focused on helping women entrepreneurs become investor-ready. Getting Funding is harder for women and you don’t have to do it alone. Our portal helps women entrepreneurs learn about funding in a safe space, directly from those who know – women entrepreneurs who have raised funding and investors (business angels, venture capitalists). Members join our network to LEARN about funding (exclusive interviews with investors and funded, women), CONNECT with other women entrepreneurs from around the world and PREPARE all the plans and documents they need to keep organised on your funding journey. We have been building this global content for nearly 2 years and are launching very soon! (Sign up here to get invited!) We also have a consulting side, where we help global multinationals increase gender diversity to increase their competitiveness and harness 100% of their talent.

Your background, how did you end up doing what do you now?

I have a diverse global background, having worked in business development, management consulting, leadership training over the past 20 years. I did a BA in International Marketing & Languages at DCU and then was headhunted immediately by an Irish company to set up their Sales Office in Paris and have been there ever since! I am very proud of my double nationality Irish and Spanish and always worked in consultative sales, where I really partner with my multinational clients. I have been passionate about women and leadership from a very young age and spent the last 10 years going to global conferences for women leaders and entrepreneurs, out of personal interest. 3 years ago, I decided it was time to truly follow my passion and bring together all the knowledge, skills and experience I had built over my career to set up Global Invest Her,  to support women leaders in corporates and women entrepreneurs.

Paris, France. Pros and cons of working here?

What can I say without sounding clichéd: Paris is a stunningly beautiful city, certainly one of the most beautiful in the world. There is so much to do for everyone and the weather is infinitely better and what need I say about the food? Doing business in France is much more formal and hierarchical and you really do need to speak French fluently and understand the culture to succeed here. The French are a very proud nation, yet they also know how to have fun. As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, things have greatly improved over the past 3-4 years here, with the rise of more accelerators, incubators and funding. However, it takes a long time to change things in France and the current economic climate is morose, with a need to reform capital gains tax, employment law and the prohibitive social charges employers have to pay. However, I am very optimistic that things will move forward, it is just a matter of time. France is a great country.

The last year has been very exciting indeed for Global Invest Her and for me personally. We recently re-branded (changed our logo, visual identity and website) and I am very much looking forward to the launch of our portal coming soon. The team is working very hard to make it happen! On a personal front, I am delighted to be a contributor to the Huffington Post, where my Trailblazing Women series amplifies the voices and profiles of great women from many sectors, corporate and entrepreneurs alike. I am also very proud of all the great speaking engagements I have done in the US and across Europe, including being a keynote speaker at last years Female Founders Forum by Silicon Republic and being named one of the 100 Women in STEM in Ireland.

The biggest highlight so far has been doing my first TEDx talk in Barcelona in June 2015 called ‘Spread Your Talent to the World’, where I talk about opening the minds and hearts of investors, women entrepreneurs and the general public on the barriers to funding and what we can do to get more women entrepreneurs funded faster. I am also incredibly proud of what we have achieved on the Gender Diversity Consulting front with our global oil & gas client Technip, who are doing amazing things to advance gender diversity in a very male dominated industry.

Anything you’d do differently?

No regrets! (non, je ne regrette rien, in the words of the great Edith Piaf!). I learn a lot from my mistakes and as they say in entrepreneurship, if you are not failing, you are not moving fast enough. I probably would have enjoyed the entrepreneurial journey a bit more, instead of being so intensely focused on learning as much as possible about the global women entrepreneur and gender diversity ecosystems to become a catalyst and move things forward! Would have loved a few quiet weekends with my husband, but as he is a long haul pilot, we tend to literally cross paths a lot!

Plans for the future?

I am proud to say that I am setting up Global Invest Her in Dublin now and will be soon announcing an exciting launch event to help women entrepreneurs learn more about how to get funding. It is very important to me to be seen as a global company and to proudly show our roots and help create jobs here in the future. I want Global Invest Her to really help women entrepreneurs become investor ready and help create awareness to attract more great women to become investors. I have great plans for the future and look forward to sharing key milestones on the journey, as we add value to women entrepreneurs and companies who want build more gender diverse organisations to create more growth.

You are active on twitter, how has it helped you?

I love twitter! It is a great way to share your professional expertise, follow key people in your ecosystem/other sectors and connect with great people. I use it a lot to share quality, relevant content, promote women entrepreneurs, gender diversity and be an active voice on these issues on a global level. I particularly love sharing great events on funding for women entrepreneurs, women in leadership from around the world, so that even if you can’t physically go, you get access to key quality information, in a timely, professional way. Twitter has helped me and Global Invest Her greatly amplify our voice and those of other great women and organisations moving the needle forward on gender equality. It has definitely added to our brand equity globally and we will continue to use it widely. Now I have many PR agencies reaching out to me directly to interview great women leaders for my Huffpost series and other thought leaders share what we are doing on funding for women entrepreneurs. You can really build a great community if you know how to use it well.

Girls in tech, in Ireland CoderDojo is doing well, with a good % of girls involved. Do you have similar ventures in France you’re excited about?

Yes, in fact Girls in Tech Paris and London were both co-founded by the great Roxanne Varza. I love the work they do. Girlz in Web is another great initiative, where they have created a database of great women speakers, to increase the visibility and availability of women speakers on tech and stem topics in the media and at events. We also have CoderDojo in Paris and I have taken both my children (14 year old daughter and 11 year old son) to several sessions in the past! Other great tech accelerators I recommend are NUMA The Family  and La French Tech government initiative is doing a lot to promote Tech in France and abroad.

Blogging, who do you follow / like?

I follow a lot of blogs about the entrepreneurial ecosystem like, AlleyWatch, Business Insider, Kaufmann Foundation, Tech.eu, Inc and Entrepreneur.com and Linked In Pulse, where I also post articles. For insights into the women entrepreneur funding scene, I like 37 Angels, Plum Alley, Bizwomen.com and the DoubleX Economy by Prof. Linda Scott.

Being a big user of social media, how do you manage life / work, and online / offline balance?

It can be a challenge sometimes! I usually look at my social media feeds early in the morning, and late at night and whenever I can during travel time on the metro, going to and from events. This is how I keep on top of all the latest news and events relevant to my business. When I am at events, I usually try to tweet live or at least retweet good content to help amplify reach, but when am on holidays I switch off! During our summer holiday this year, my iphone and ipad were in the hotel safe and I didn’t touch them until I was back in the airport at Paris! You do have to be careful as social media can be very addictive, so you have to be strict about it.

Anything else to add / we should have asked you?

Glad you didn’t ask, why Global Invest Her focuses only on women! To me, it’s obvious we should be celebrating, accentuating and harnessing the power of the 51% of the global population that tends to get overlooked in many spheres, on a daily basis.

I do think that we are at a tipping point and that society and the world at large has everything to gain when women can become full participants, contributors and leaders alongside men. Together, we can move mountains!