"Know yourself. Don’t overthink things. Do your best"
To round up our international women's month, we caught up with Lu Li, the founder of Blooming Founders; a community platform and support system designed to help early-stage female entrepreneurs.
So Lu Li, tell us a little about yourself and Blooming Founders
I’m the founder of Blooming Founders, a community platform and support ecosystem designed to help early-stage female entrepreneurs and diverse teams succeed. Under Blooming Founders, we offer a wide range of products and services, such as events, a networking app, a co-working space and accelerator programmes, that give our members a competitive edge in building and growing their businesses.
When I founded Blooming Founders it was important that we genuinely build things which help female entrepreneurs progress and not just use female empowerment as a marketing tool, which I think is actually detrimental to women’s advancement in the workplace.
How do you manage your time?
I prioritise important dates with friends and family and the rest of my calendar is pretty much whitespace that I fill up with work activities. To me, there is not that much of a differentiation between work and life, that’s just the way I choose to live my life as an entrepreneur.
On a daily basis, I use Nirvana to keep on top of to-do’s and also snooze a lot of emails and newsletters to read on weekends in Gmail.
How do you manage day to day distractions?
Either, by having enough time buffer between meetings and calls, or I’m back to back, then it’s hard for distractions to creep in anyway.
What tools do you use to keep you on track, in the know and up to date?
I’m subscribed to a bunch of newsletters. I also scroll through Twitter or watch Instagram stories to keep up to date with what my friends and other startup people are up to.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Podcasts and blogs. I very much enjoy learning from other people’s experiences. At the end of the day, business isn’t rocket science and we’re not reinventing the wheel. You just need to listen and observe carefully.
The challenges around fundraising for female founders?
There are so many and it’s quite a complex issue.
On the investor side, there is lots of conscious and unconscious bias from (typically male) investors. There are very few female angel investors and only 13% of women in venture capital are in decision making positions. It’s hard to be a female pitching to a bunch of men, who might not understand the market opportunity you’re looking to tackle..
On the other hand, female founders are more oftentimes solo founders and it’s harder for them to build the business fundamentals and become investable (team, product, traction). They also lack connections to investors and knowledge around how investors, especially institutional funds, operate.
Overall, I strongly believe there is a gap in the market to facilitate investment into early-stage startups that are not focused on growth, but on revenue and profits and have the potential to grow to £10-50m businesses.
Do you have a female role model?
Victoria Beckham, the girl who wanted to become as famous as Persil Automatic and who succeeded in her vision.
Words of advice to women in business?
Know yourself. Don’t overthink things. Do your best - and done is better than perfect.
Choose an L&J watch for each of the following looks
Work: LJXII Lugano Vasa
Weekend: LJXII Rose Gold Leather
Date Night: Opera Milanese Rose Gold
One thing you can’t live without?
If you could change one thing tomorrow, what would it be?
That the finance world becomes more interested in investing in female founders and diverse teams, seeing it not just as PR and a ‘good thing to do’, but as a true opportunity to generate great returns.
If you are a female entrepreneur looking to connect with other like-minded women, join us on www.bloomingfounders.com! :)"