Ep. #1031 - Women in Crypto
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, we’re looking into the crypto space. Specifically, women doing amazing work in and for the industry. For this, Lauren Conaway welcomes Kendra Cole, founder of The CryptoMom App, to the studio. Discover how women are interacting in the crypto space and gain tips on starting your own crypto journey.
Covered In This Episode
Interested in starting a crypto investment? Are you a working mom looking to invest in crypto? This episode with Lauren and Kendra gives you the perfect place to start.
According to these founders, two of your secret weapons include being confident and finding the right community. Jump into the conversation to know more about The CryptoMom App, how it can help you, and other savvy crypto investment tips.
What are you waiting for? Spend time learning through this Startup Hustle episode today.
- Kendra’s journey as a founder (01:45)
- Multitasking as a mom and a founder (04:12)
- Creating a comfortable work environment for working mothers (06:35)
- The CryptoMom App story (08:29)
- Challenges women face when investing in crypto (09:53)
- The climate in the crypto investment space for women (11:52)
- Is there a gender gap in crypto? (14:25)
- Men versus women when it comes to investments (18:56)
- How The CryptoMom App works (22:04)
- Building a product with women in mind (26:00)
- Creating disruption in male-dominated spaces (29:53)
- Thought leaders in crypto that you should follow (37:20)
- Challenges that women founders usually encounter (40:50)
- Best practices to implement in your organization (42:28)
- Tips for women who want to get into crypto (43:02)
Women want to have that education and that foundation of knowledge before she invests. She wants to know that her current life—whether it’s her rent, her mortgage, or her family—those things are taken care of before she invests.– Kendra Cole
One of the most impactful ways you can create an inclusive environment for your parent employees and your mom employees is to create an attractive, welcoming space in which to pump . . . Make it a part of your normalized culture that you support the parents and the moms.– Lauren Conaway
The more diverse voices we get, the more diverse ideas get in the space. We’ll start to see how that permeates throughout the industry.– Kendra Cole
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:00
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. But Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. They have the platform to help you manage that team, and they are ready to take care of you. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. All right, friends, I love all Startup Hustle guests. Of course, I do because I love having conversations with really cool people. But I told this particular guest before we even hopped on how excited I was to talk to her. Because she is representing a topic that I don’t think gets enough attention. And I am so excited to learn from Kendra Cole, founder of The CryptoMom App. We’re going to be talking about women in the crypto space. We’re going to be talking about all kinds of cool stuff. Kendra, I am so glad that you are here to share your story with us. Thank you for joining us.
Kendra Cole 01:01
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Lauren Conaway 01:04
Yeah, I love it when guests are excited. It’s my favorite. Well, so let’s go ahead and jump right in. And I’m just gonna ask you the question. You know, tell us about your journey.
Kendra Cole 01:13
Yeah, sure. So again, as I said, I’m so excited to be here. I feel like my journey in life has kind of been all over the place. And I started out, I was born in Seattle. I’m an only child. My mom, and my parents, actually split up when I was five. So I was primarily raised by my mom. And I think watching her being a single mom who was working, I think that’s where I got a lot of my first example of how to push through when things are really difficult. A lot of times, I remember, you know, her picking me up from daycare, and I was always almost the last kid at daycare. But then, we’d go to her office, and I do my homework underneath her desk. And so there were a lot of nights where, you know, she works late, and I was with her. But she always looks at that time as a really difficult time. And I look at that time as having so much fun. I just remember always thinking it was so cool to see my mom work or be in my mom’s office or hear her on calls. And I think that really is what inspired me, has always inspired me, throughout my entire life. I went to undergrad at Howard University and moved out to LA. That’s where I met my husband and also my co-founder of The CryptoMom App. We now live in Chicago. We have three beautiful babies. And together, you know, we’re creating The CryptoMom App.
Lauren Conaway 02:38
Well, I love that journey. And I always love it when founders are able to point back to their families, their inspiration. How do you think your mom would feel about the work that you’re doing?
Kendra Cole 02:49
She’s so excited. She loves it. She is all in, and she sends me articles about crypto all the time now. And you know, she’s always been my biggest cheerleader, and for so long, it was just her and me. So, you know, I think that for her to see me starting striking out on my own and doing something like this that I’m really passionate about. I think she’s so proud, and it makes me happy that she’s proud.
Lauren Conaway 03:15
Yeah, well, I love that, and you know, something that I absolutely love is the motherhood journey. It kind of permeates your whole life like you were inspired by your mom to begin the work that you do to support mothers in the crypto space. You know that you’re a mother yourself, and I’m gonna tell you a little bit, but I pretty show prep. I was asked if I heard a noise, and I did not hear the noise, but apparently Kendra, you know, you’re pumping right now. You are multitasking as a mom, as you’re talking about serving moms. That’s so crazy to me. I love it.
Kendra Cole 03:53
Yeah, absolutely. So when we came up with the crypto map, I was about five months pregnant with our third child. So my son, who was born last year in November of last year, has been with us throughout this whole journey. I literally did a pitch competition when I was 39 weeks pregnant. And he came six days like six into seven days right after that. So he has been a part of this journey throughout us. And I think when I think about my work, even prior to the crypto mom, I worked in public relations, and a lot of my clients were women founders and women-owned businesses. And so supporting women has always been something that I’ve always wanted to do with my career. It’s something that I find I get so much personal fulfillment from, and so even throughout creating this process, my son has been with us. He travels with us when we go to pitch competitions. We participated in the AWS impact accelerator for black founders this summer, he came along, and all three of my kids actually came with us to Seattle.
Lauren Conaway 04:55
And you’re on your way. You have your own cheering section. Yes, absolutely.
Kendra Cole 04:58
And like, You know, everybody knows whenever I participate, you know, hey, I got a pump for my son, this is something that I, you know, breastfeeding, I breastfed all three of my children and pumped. And this is something that’s really important to me. And so, you know, I pump anywhere I pump in restaurants, I pump in movie theaters, I pump in meetings, it’s a part of my life. And it’s something that’s important to me, and I’m not going to go and sit in a dark closet to this. It’s just whatever you feel comfortable with, you know, some people are. I am very comfortable with bumping into people because it’s a part of life.
Lauren Conaway 05:35
Well, I think it’s so cool that you’re kind of leading a societal shift to normalize breastfeeding. I mean, the fact is, you know, most of the population at one point or another has availed themselves of mom’s breast. And, you know, the fact that we feel like we have to hide it away. Like it’s a shameful thing. I don’t understand it. I’m glad to see that it’s changing, though. And so for our friends, listening at home, one of the most impactful ways you can create an inclusive environment for your parent employees and your mom employees is to create an attractive, welcoming space in which to come. So I would highly suggest, please, please, do that. Make it a part of your policy, make it a part of your normalized culture that you support the parents and the moms within your workforce?
Kendra Cole 06:23
Absolutely, Kendra? Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, even I, when I was joking with my husband yesterday, said that again, we’re very fortunate to have my mom who lives with us. And so she states that my kids get a lot of time with grandma. And one of the things that she does is that she constantly comes and picks up breast milk for my son, and I had joked, like, we need to have some sort of like courier service that can just, you know, take like whether it’s the formula or breast milk, or whatever needs that working parents have to their kids, wherever they’re at and it and like, that is what my mom does for me, obviously.
Lauren Conaway 06:59
Well, and I can’t remember the exact particulars, but I read a study that moms tend to moms in particular, not just women, but moms tend to be better at multitasking, they tend to be letter more collaborative, and better at leading teams, even more so than just the average woman employee that you might have. Because that’s what mom employees do. They have to juggle everything and create the most supportive policies and put them into place like you’re really helping your bottom line, you know, you’re attracting and retaining some really fantastic talent. Absolutely. You’re doing that. Well, so tell us, I’m really curious. Tell us about the Krypto mom app journey.
Kendra Cole 07:48
Yeah. So. So like I said, we came up with this a little over a year ago, and we came up with it from a few transformational interactions. So first, one of us was my first daughter. She had a bone marrow transplant. Yeah, over a year ago, she’s healthy, and she’s recovering great. And one of our main transplant nurses would have these, and our daughter would have these weekly clinics. And so my husband would take her. And my husband has a background in crypto. So he was the CTO of a global cryptocurrency firm for more than four years. So when you’re at these clinics, you’re there all day long. And so one of our main nurses, Cindy, finally talked toward us and was like, hey, you know, what do you do? And so they struck up a conversation about crypto, and they forged this relationship where over about two to three months, Cindy was really able to pick the brain of Lord of all of her questions when it came to crypto. I think it’s very common. You know, we’ve all heard about crypto on our social media timelines, but it’s not often that you have the opportunity to talk to somebody in a non-judgmental space right when she finally was able to, you know when she finally wanted to purchase, she, you know, had some really specific, she had some specific challenges that are more unique to women. So one of the things was like, for example, her maiden name didn’t match her bank account because her bank account was in her married name, things like that. So those are challenges that, you know, are specific to people who have life changes that involve your name. When she finally got on the platform. She said that she didn’t think that the actual apps were intuitive to her. She didn’t understand that the plus sign meant, you know, there’s some just very, I think, specific things when it comes to app design that was not intuitive to her. And then lastly, she wanted to give the gift of crypto to her 17-year-old son who was graduating, and at that time, there just wasn’t a way for her to safely and securely give her son crypto without having to create this key or all these things that were hurdles and provide him some sort of oversight into getting into an investing. And so, from that experience, I realized that through my own journey, I had very similar challenges as Cindy when I wanted to sign on to an exchange. Again, my maiden name or my legal name is hyphenated. So sometimes, you know, my married name doesn’t always match my ID, which doesn’t always sync up with my bank account. Again, when I first bought and sold a couple of different coins, I was excited. But then I said, you know, what else, like, what else can I do with this? My priorities? Are my kids, my career, my financial future? And I wanted to get creative with this. I said, Well, what else can we do with this? Can we start, you know, for example, a college education plan, you know, for our kids that’s funded by, let’s say, Bitcoin, and at the time we looked, we couldn’t find anything. And so we said, Well, why don’t we create this now. So that’s how we came up with the idea.
Lauren Conaway 10:53
I love it well, and I definitely want to delve down into how the app itself works. But the first thing that I want to ask you I kind of want to talk a little bit about is the climate because you said something a while back that was pretty interesting. You said that it was really important to you when you wanted to learn about crypto in a nonjudgmental space. And I want to talk about that nonjudgment because it’s my understanding. And mean please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but my perception is that there are gatekeepers within the crypto space. And in particular, you know, I’ve heard that the environment is not particularly welcoming to women. Can you talk to us a little bit about that? Like, am I just way off base? Am I hearing wrong?
Kendra Cole 11:38
No, I think you’re absolutely right. So I think a couple of things. It’s interesting that when this will crypto and digital currency was first created, it really was created to, you know, kind of level the playing field and provide more access. But I think that you know, it’s kind of fallen short on that in a few ways. So, you know, I think that the majority of cryptocurrency owners or purchases are owned by young males, particularly white males. And when you look at even some of the startups or the businesses that are within this industry, again, mostly med led by letting created by men. So you know, I think that this lack of diversity means that we’re kind of just repeating this history, the same history of traditional structures that keep people of color, women, or people from non-traditional backgrounds out of the industry.
Lauren Conaway 12:33
We’re so we’re widening inequality gaps, we’re, we’re increasing inequities within a financial space. And when we talk about things like crypto, I mean, I think I remember a time when there was an insane amount of opportunity for profit in cryptocurrency, you know, I think I remember, back in, like, 2012, there was somebody here in Casey, who bought it, you know, just a little bit of crypto couple bucks and ended up being able to, like pay off his house and, you know, completely redo it with his cryptocurrency, you know, his wallet. And that was always so fascinating to me. But where there is a great opportunity, there is also a great opportunity for inequity. And so I love that you are a woman of color operating in a space that was not. It might have been built for you. But along the way, it kind of became not for you. Yeah. Is that what you felt about it?
Kendra Cole 13:31
I mean, yeah, and I think that one of the things that’s important to say is, like, even when we look at the history of women and money, you know, particularly within the United States, you know, women only gained the right to have a bank account within the 1960s. So it’s not, it’s not that it’s not too far gone. That, you know, there was a lot of discrimination due to gender. So we know that you know, the gender gap exists when it comes to wages. And we know that it’s even worse for women of color, particularly black and Latina X women. So we’re also even seeing some of the similar trends within crypto, you know, the crypto gender gap studies show that the crypto gender gap exceeds, or it was at least the same as the existing gap within traditional investments that includes Stocks ETFs mutual funds. So you know, we know that these things exist. But we also know that women want to get involved. We know that women are curious about this. There’s one study that shows that there are more than 10 million women living in the United States who are estimated to purchase crypto for the first time in the next three years. That’s great. We want more women to be participating in investing. But we also know that she faces some particular challenges that keep her from getting involved. A few of those include, you know, I think crypto and gender it’s, it’s kind of murky, you know, people don’t really know a lot that’s going on with it. People don’t really exactly know what it is. So it feels very risky. And it’s, you know, it’s an asset. So it feels volatile. I think, again, when we look at the current environments, you know, it’s it can be toxic bro culture, it exists, it’s not welcoming for women. And also, I think that there is, you know, also that knowledge gap. And when women have that knowledge gap, it kind of leads to a little bit of lack of confidence. And then lastly, your women really seek community when it comes to their investments and when it comes to talking about money or finance. And so finding that community where she feels comfortable asking questions, building her confidence, connecting with other women who are also on similar journeys with her, that’s something that’s really important to her when it comes to wanting to delve into this. So those are just some of the challenges and hurdles that are specific and unique to women. And we’re really trying to break down some of those challenges, and really open up the floodgates so that more women can get involved in a way that is intuitive to her in a way that’s applicable and relevant to her her life, her priorities, whether it’s her family, whether it’s her career, you know, whether it’s her salary, so just making sure that this and we know that crypto is here to stay, you know, you can even see it, it’s even, you know, you can go to a grocery store and use crypto to checkout and in the check mark mark now, so we know that it’s here to stay. And so we are really just wanting to make sure that however she wants to infuse this as a part of her wealth building journey, that it’s relevant to her, and then it makes sense for her.
Lauren Conaway 16:34
Yeah, well, so I’m gonna take it back to the 10,000 foot view. And I’m just gonna say that, you know, we’ve had women in the finance space at the FinTech, even the FinTech space on the show before. And one of the things that we hear is that women often hashtag not all women are deeply uncomfortable talking about things like finance. And I mean, we can trace it back, you know, there have been studies that have been done, we can trace it back to school, you know, from a very early age, women are societally conditions to reject math, finance, you know, and it can be subtle it can be, it can be not subtle, but it can be very pervasive. And so we see these kinds of widening gulfs that that knowledge gap that you’re talking about, even a comfort gap. And so The CryptoMom App, you know, you’ve created a tool that is intended to bridge those gaps, right to hopefully increase the comfortability of that women might have talking about financial matters, specifically cryptocurrency. Is that kind of what you’re hoping for?
Kendra Cole 17:44
Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, to your point at, you know, study show, there’s one study that showed that the majority of women say that no one has ever sat them down to talk about money or finances, nonetheless, cryptocurrency, right. So to your point, you know, we’re from a society standpoint, you know, she isn’t having those conversations early and often and frequently, which needs to happen. You know, and I think that also women have a different approach when it comes to investments, you know, women want to have that education and that foundational knowledge before she, before she invest, she wants to know, and she also wants to know that her current life, whether it’s for rent, or mortgage, or those types of things, her family, she wants to know that those things are taken care of before she invests, right, when she does actually get to invest. She has a different investment strategy than men do. Women typically have a buy and hold strategy, which means they are much better long term investors than men. And we’re women are much better investors because of that, she wants to have the education. So she’s informed about her investments. And then when she does make her investments, or investments that she’s in the game for the long term, that’s very different. That’s different from what you see on the current exchanges, which have, you know, are more geared towards price sensitive, high risk activity, because these, you know, they’re primarily men who are on these platforms, they want to buy and sell really quickly. So that’s not really a long term outlook like that. So on our platform, the products, the services, anything that we offer, really center women in that way. We center them on the things that she prefers to interact with technology, how she prefers to invest. And so when we prioritize that, and we keep women at the center of this, when we do that the heart of our platform will always follow women, it’ll always be with women, because that’s really what we’re championing here. Whether you’re a mom, whether you’re a working person, whether you choose not to have children, but maybe you’re an aunt, all of those people and all of those people matter to us.
Lauren Conaway 19:57
Yeah, well, I love that. As you know, we’re talking about being women centric. And I have to tell you, so I am well on record as being a huge, huge fan of Full Scale. They are our producers, they’re our sponsors. But I can also tell you that the Full Scale team actually employs a significant amount of women as developers and in their offices, it’s really incredible to watch. And I know that the CEO and founder, Matt DeCoursey, we actually have conversations on a regular basis about how they can best support women on their team, it’s really incredible to be a part of that story. But you know, Full Scale is the sponsor of this episode and may know that finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult. When you visit FullScale.io. You can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now, now Kendra, I’m gonna I’m gonna push you a little bit because you said a bunch of really, really awesome things in that last little stretch, but you use the term woman centric. And so I want you to talk to us, let’s talk about what The CryptoMom App actually does, and how at every step because you talked about how you kind of baked it you bake in that woman’s Centricity at all different levels. So talk about how that comes through, through the features of the app.
Kendra Cole 21:26
So from the features of the app, we are a crypto investment management and gifting platform made for women and by women. So on our platform, she can go on and purchase cryptocurrency starting with Bitcoin, once you purchase it, she can purchase it in three easy steps super simple, super quick to the point, then she can allocate that Bitcoin to tax and non tax advantaged accounts such as 529 education plans. Once after that, she can also give the gift of crypto for special occasions like baby showers or graduations. So again, when we think about how women interact with investing and money, we want to make sure that anything that we’re doing on a product or services that we’re offering, really caters to the things that are most important to her, we know that women have majority control over the home finances and the money. So you know when it’s time to buy those gifts for the holidays, or Christmas gifts or you know, or birthday gifts, it’s probably not dad who’s doing that it’s mom right now, right? When it comes to the family investment, setting up those college funds, those things are not those are not the priorities of you know, the male parent or the male partner, it’s the women, it’s moms. So again, like when we think about that, those are the types of things that why we chose the products that we did future iterations of the product, you know, we want to do things like having an advisor where, or robo advisor or even livestock advisors, where we take into consideration, gender considerations, such as you know, how a salary trajectory or your career trajectory may be different than that of a male, or, you know, if you had to take a life break, whether it’s you go on maternity leave, or you’re caring for elderly, your elderly, in your in your life, all of those things matter when it comes to your investments. So we want to make sure that again, we’re providing the tools and the services that really cater to women and their life. So that’s on the product side, I think the other thing that’s really important is that you know, we’re a start, we’re a startup, it’s led by versus led by two people of color. I’m the CEO, we also all of our team, our chief UX, our chief creative designer, all of our social media team, we’re all women. And so when we looked at even designing this platform, we looked at the pain points of what was already out there. And we said we hate this way, or we don’t like this, or this is not intuitive to us. And we’ve pretty much flipped the design on its head. So our platform doesn’t look like the typical exchange that you see that’s out there. We really want it to be user friendly. We want it to be easy to use. And we want it to be intuitive to her. So even things like how we design it. So the mobile hand grip, women tend to have smaller hands than men, and even apps that say that they’re gender neutral do skew towards men. So our mobile hand grip is a little bit smaller on our platform. Our UX is also that we use larger fonts, we also use darker tones because women have greater peripheral vision. So it keeps them from getting fatigued on our platform. So just thinking about things like that, where we’re always thinking about, well, how does this how is she going to interact with this? How does this fit into her life? Is this something that would be important to her? Does she care about this? We’re constantly asking those questions, questions to ourselves, because if we’re ultimately really trying to help women achieve true financial independence and freedom, we constantly have to be questioning everything that we do when it comes to this platform and making sure that we’re not just doing the status quo. Because if they wanted to, if we wanted to do the status quo, you can go and choose 10 other apps that are already out there like that, that you just blew me away.
Lauren Conaway 25:21
Kendra, I mean, I was expecting some of the things that you said I was not expecting other things. And so for our listeners kind of playing along at home, I just want to take a moment to honor and acknowledge something and I’m gonna start with a fact. And I don’t have the specific numbers on it. But there is a statistic out there that states that in the United States, women are actually injured more frequently, in car accidents, men tend to experience more fatal car accidents, but women are injured more frequently. And the reason is, because cars are not actually built with women in mind. So the pedals tend to be a little too big, or they’re too far apart. You know, seatbelts are not generally designed for smaller frames, they took the base of a man and they designed a car around it. And so when you create disparities and inequities in design, you’re creating real problems for at least 50% of your customer base. And I love the fact that, you know, you even went so far as to talk about the actual UX and UI and I was definitely expecting you to say some of the things but you’ve really drilled down deep. And so you know, I know that not everybody listening at home is going to have a crypto business. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be thoughtful and intentional about being inclusive to all of your potential customers. Right. And that’s what you seem to have done just remarkably well. Tender. That’s incredible.
Kendra Cole 26:57
Thank you. Yeah. And I think that it’s just one of those things where I think one of the things that also kind of keeps me going is is that any honestly, anytime we go to, let’s say trade shows, or you know, we talk to other women about their challenges when it comes to finance, or money, or investing or crypto when we talk to them about this and try and really find out what’s important to them. The the lasting impression that people aren’t, often give us is, you know, thank you so much for thinking about women and moms, you know, I’ve been a mom for, you know, five years, and often I just feel like nobody’s speaking to me, I feel like nobody cares about me. I often feel invisible, or, you know, women when they say, you know, I’ve been working and I’m constantly working through and I’m on this corporate ladder. And I often feel like, My concerns are not heard. So thank you for thinking of us. Thank you, thinking of me. And it may seem so simple. But when someone tells you when you hear something like, Thank you for thinking of me, it makes me think of myself too. Because when I was a new mom, I was like, completely out of body experience. I did not know there were so many things that would come along with being a new mom. But yeah, you don’t often, sometimes you can lose yourself, sometimes you feel alone. Sometimes you feel like nobody’s talking to you. Sometimes you feel like no one’s thinking of you. And I don’t want any other woman to feel that way, especially when it comes to their dollars that are so important. You know, they’re these are, these are women who a lot of these women are, whether they’re stay at home moms, whether they’re career working women, or, or working moms like me, you know, our money and our dollars matter. And nobody is buying these businesses and these products are not vying for our dollars. Women are not just a marketing strategy. We deserve to have products that think about us. We deserve to have services that center us. We deserve to have respectful, inclusive environments for us to learn to ask questions and to grow. And so you know, I think that that’s what we think about when we’re, you know, spinning day in and day out.
Lauren Conaway 29:15
Developing this, oh my gosh, Kendra, I like as you’re talking, I have this big ol’ shitty grin on my face right now. And the reason is because you’ve said so many things that I myself have said over the course of my leadership journey, like even when you were like, I never want another woman to feel that way. Like I innovator was born out of that same desire, you know, I came up through male dominated industries, aerospace, automotive, and it. And there were points in my journey that were amazing. And there were points in my journey that were really gendered and really awful, and I’m happy to tell you about him over a cocktail, but not without a cocktail. But But yeah, you know, I just I love your heart for that inclusion piece, and I especially love how you’re elevating you’re looking intersectional womanhood, how can we reach not just the the typical paragon of feminism, which is IE white woman, but you know, you’re you’re serving your serving all women, intersectional women, women who don’t necessarily align in a lot of feminists spaces, and you’re doing it in the crypto space, which is as you as you said earlier, it’s such a such a Broly environment. I think I follow a couple of crypto communities like I have a little bit of money, I think invested in Aetherium. And you know, a couple of other currencies and then, but I belong to a couple of crypto threads on Reddit. Keep it, keep my finger on the pulse, see what’s going on. You know, I wouldn’t say I’m an extrovert by any stretch, but, man, I’m just like, Ah, all right.
Kendra Cole 30:53
Yeah, man, I mean, it’s tough. I’m on Reddit, too. And it’s, I mean, it’s, it can be brutal. It can be really rough, like reading some of the threads, or, you know, I agree, I’m on Reddit, too. And some of these threads, it can be pretty brutal to follow, even on some of our social media channels, or on Tiktok often, we can post videos or things about why it’s important to support women, and we get so much vitriol. It’s just kind of mind boggling. I don’t really quite understand it. But yeah, I agree. Like, I mean, I think it’s it’s, it’s rough, it can be hard.
Lauren Conaway 31:31
Yeah. Well, and that’s where we like, I’ve definitely seen the gatekeepers, you know, like, a woman will come out and she’ll be courageous. And she’ll be like, I’m gonna enter this space, even though it wasn’t built for people like me. And you know, she asks the question, and then the outcome. I’m not saying like, every person who’s into crypto is like this, but like, you’ll see a bunch of people come out and do that gatekeeping thing that they do, like, well, let me let me test your credentials. Let me make sure that you’re really serious about crypto, let me challenge, you know, challenge your knowledge. And that’s not something that you would typically see. You don’t have to validate your experience and prove yourself, when you are the default demo, which is white cisgender. Male.
Kendra Cole 32:16
It’s totally true. I mean, I feel like I mean, even think about, I feel like we’ve all been in a scenario where maybe you’re at maybe like a work lunch or professional lunch, or maybe like a dinner party, in a topic of let’s say, crypto or something to that extent comes up. And there’s always going to be you know, Chad, or Brett or whoever who’s going to be pounding his chest, talking up his portfolio, and using just a bunch of jargon that he made. And he may or may not even understand what he’s talking about. But that is not, when you encounter people like that it doesn’t make you want to ask questions, it doesn’t make you want to, you know, participate in that type of conversation. It’s not inclusive, it does not feel welcoming, I do not want to be here. And even what’s really interesting, I think one thing that is interesting is that that we found is that when we were part of our journey, we did have friends and family around that we were really fortunate to raise. And what we did was because of the pandemic and just how life is now, we did a lot of zoom meetings with our friends and family. And these are people who support us, these are people who are excited for us. And one of the things that we had to do was is is that the women in our first couple of meetings that we had, the women on the call were predominantly silent, for the most part, we are friends of family is we’re really proud of the fact that our friends and family round is about 95% people of color. And it’s about it’s more, but about 70% Women who all invested in from our Inner Inner Circle, which is really we’re really proud of. But one of the things that was really interesting, like I said, was that the women were predominantly quiet on the call. And so after a couple of meetings, we we started on the next one, we started, we introduced it and before, about 510 minutes into it, I took a pause and I said you know, I just want to take a moment to leave space for the women on this call to ask questions, or to make comments. You don’t have to know, it could be about anything, it can be about the product. It could be about, you know, venture capitalism, it could be about the business, it could be about anything. I just want to take 510 minutes to just take a pause and allow women space to talk to each other on this call. And when we did that, I’m telling you, it made a world of difference. The outcomes by the end, the women were so excited. They were pumped. They were asking the hard questions they were doing and it’s just that we just need an opportunity. And a lot of times, and when we did that, I said, Okay, now if there are other men who are on the call who have questions, I said, you know, sir, you know, one guy, you know, Guy A, I know that you said you raise your hand you had a question. He goes, Oh, no, actually, so and so already answered my question. Yeah, yes. Because, you know, sometimes, guys, you just need to take a backseat. Yes, shut up. So, yes, sometimes. And sometimes, and you know, what the cool thing is, is that I’m the founder of this company, and I can say, you know, what, you need to take a seat, and you need to take a step back, because we’re over here talking. And these women have something to say, and I don’t know if that breaks HR code, but I was like, no, just take a second, just stop it really. And from then on, I just felt like our interactions with our investors now we’re so much more productive. The women are so excited to be involved. And, you know, I think that that really just spoke to kind of like what we’re doing and just giving women to space, you know, in an opportunity Sure. In their voices and, and in championing their own voices.
Lauren Conaway 36:19
Yeah, well, hey, so one of the questions that I have for you, and I shared this before we hit the record button. But in my work, I get to connect. So I consider my job to be to connect women to opportunity. And so I get, Oh, I get a lot of phone calls, and DMS and emails from folks who are like, I would like to find a woman who can do X. And one of the questions that I get on a actually pretty regular basis is, hey, you know, we’re doing a crypto conference, and we’re doing something around, you know, Bitcoin, or we’re doing something around blockchain, like all of these kinds of interconnected areas. But you know, we’d really love to have a woman specific, or in particular woman of color, or you know, we’d like to have a woman come talk to our group, or we’d like to, you know, follow some women thought leaders in this space. And I gotta tell you, Kendra, like, to my shame. I don’t, I just don’t know enough. And I just, I don’t know, enough women operating in space. You know, I mean, you’re, you know, I’m so glad to be talking to you, because I’m just like, Oh, there’s one. Cool. And I know that there are more. And so I’m going to ask you, who are some thought leaders that we can follow? Who are some folks that would be really, really good for us to connect with if we want to learn more about women in crypto?
Kendra Cole 37:41
Yeah, absolutely. I think that that’s true. I think oftentimes, it’s hard to find the people who are out there. And I know that there are some women, there’s like, a ton of like women communities that I follow. There are a few startup communities that have founders that I really admire, I think from a user standpoint, I feel I follow a couple of like Instagram accounts that I really enjoy. There’s like crypto chicks, like that’s a really cool one. There’s my BFF doing some really cool stuff. And in the NFT space. There are a couple of a couple of like, there’s a newsletter that I found that’s called WTF in FinTech. So what the fuck and fintech? So those are Yeah, so those are, you know, those are kind of like educational resources that, you know, that you can kind of look to, I think there’s, there’s a woman called Nora Roberts, who created the crypto blockchain plug in, that’s the first blockchain that was created by a woman nonetheless, a woman of color. There’s also something called gwap coin that’s really trying to amplify black voices within crypto, you know, so I think so. There’s a few of us that are there and kind of scattered around. That said, we can obviously do more, you know, and I think that that’s one of the things that I think the more that we get more diverse voices, that we get more more diverse ideas into the space, we’ll start to see, you know, we’ll start to see how that permeates throughout the industry. And I think that, you know, I think from the business side, as a startup, I think it’s just really challenging specifically with crypto because a lot of it, the business, is very capital intensive. So if it’s capital intensive, then you need to have access to the fundraising. Well, if you need to have access to the fundraising, you have to have access to those VCs, the venture capitalist world, and you know, that in and of itself is very much a boys club. It’s, you know, it’s hard to break down those barriers. So, you know, a lot of times if you’re not an MBA from a top, you know, business school or something that I went to, you may or may not even be able to get a meeting, right? So this is kind of like a problem that you just like an onion. Yeah. And you constantly are pulling back the layers, peeling back layers, peeling back the layers. So, I think that for us, we have been very fortunate. Me and my technical co-founder, Lord, have a PhD in aerospace engineering. So for him, even when on his journey of, you know, education wise, he was often the only black person in his school or in his classrooms, nonetheless, black male, or, you know, doing something like that. So he was often the only person. Yeah, in my experience, when I chant, being in public relations, you know, again, championing women startups and women founders, these women often have very unique, specific challenges when it comes to starting their businesses. So for us, you know, I think that we have two unique verticals and experiences that allow us to come together to create something like this and to be the right people to bring that But that said, you know, it’s, it’s so important to both of us to find other founders, whether they’re, you know, underrepresented founders that we can connect with, that we can collaborate with, that we can find, you know, have a celebrate with, but also share in the hardships with Yeah, and so I think that what I think on the business side, you are seeing a shift, we’re seeing a shift where there’s a lot more of those VC dollars that are starting to go to underrepresented founders, it’s still for sure, it’s definitely a societal change.
Lauren Conaway 41:37
So I’m gonna bust in here really quick because I want to, I want to do a kind of a rapid fire bullet point moment here, because we’ve kind of talked about some best practices or some things that our, our listeners at home can implement in their businesses or even in their quest to learn about cryptocurrency, you know, things like Don’t get cute, don’t do that shit. It’s gross stuff. You know, you have to be really intentional about creating an inclusive environment for the women on your team, for the parents on your team, for the underestimated historically excluded people on your team. Like, if you really want to do inclusivity work, you actually have to do it. What are some other bullet points that we can share with listeners if you’re if they’re looking to, particularly if they’re women looking to get into the crypto space, but if they’re looking to enter the crypto space and inclusive ways?
Kendra Cole 42:30
I think the first thing is that, first, know that you’re not alone. You know, there’s lots of women who said that no one has ever talked to them about investing. Yeah, but because there are lots of women who have done talks, and no one’s ever talked about investing, we need to find each other. Right. So just know that you’re not alone. I think it also knows that it takes time, you know, it takes time to educate yourself to find the right community to, you know, learn all the jargony things. And I don’t even think it’s necessary to be an expert, right? I don’t think that there are studies that show that women actually underestimate their knowledge or their ability to do that. And men overestimate. So there’s this, I feel like people have said, this is like having the confidence of a mediocre white male. Just remind me. Yeah, you can learn to adopt that. You will be Oh, okay. Exactly. And then I think that you know, what, like, I think, again, finding your community, it can be a friend, a couple of girlfriends that you want to just, you know, I mean, I mean like three or four of my friends. We’re all on a text chain. Now that we ask each other questions about finance, or money, or crypto or whatever, because we’re all in this together. No, we feel like we’re all in this together, and we want to support each other. So I think that I think that that is what I would say. It’s just known that you’re not alone. Have the confidence of a mediocre white man, and find your community that’s gonna make me giggle every time.
Lauren Conaway 44:15
It’s great advice. I think everyone should feel as good about themselves as that mediocre white male, everybody. Exactly. And that’s not even a knock on the mic. Mediocre white male. I wish I were that mentally healthy to be that confident.
Kendra Cole 44:34
Saying, absolutely. I’m working on it.
Lauren Conaway 44:38
All right, well, so we have come to the human question, and I’m gonna be honest, I’m actually thinking of it as I’m stalling here. So the question that I am going to ask you, oh, I’m going to ask you this superhero question. Okay. If you were a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
Kendra Cole 44:56
Oh, I think In combat, I would want to fly because I love traveling. But the thing that is the bane of my existence is getting on airplanes like that entirely.
Lauren Conaway 45:11
Thank you for keeping us safe, but also, can I just keep my shoes on?
Kendra Cole 45:18
Yes, it’s like the whole, and like, I feel like traveling with people. You know, it’s just like it’s just not a great job. Love to. Yes, much love. Much love to the flight attendants, much love to TSA, and much love to the pilot. But traveling is a shift. So I just want to grab my bag, get out and fly. Get my cocktail right on the beat. Oh my gosh, I love that.
Lauren Conaway 45:48
Just remove all look at you. You’re an efficiency-driven expert, for sure. All right, well, Kendra, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to chat with us today. I feel like we cut a lot of ground, actually. Yeah. I love the fact that, you know, I mean, your heart for equity, for women and historically excluded people, is just, it’s beautiful. Chefs did right there. Thank you for sharing that with us. I love it. And I definitely encourage our listeners, particularly if the woman leaves, maybe even the mom leaves variety, to check out, you know, The CryptoMom App, definitely check it out. Thank you. Yeah, for sure. And friends, I gotta tell you, we have another thank you. We have to thank Full Scale. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. They have the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. Full Scale specializes in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Now, friends, I’ve mentioned this before, but I really mean it. Startup Hustle, we’re pretty easy to find. We’ve got a pretty deep digital footprint on the world wide web. And so, I’m going to invite you to join the Startup Hustle chat group on Facebook, find us on LinkedIn, and find us on Twitter. We’re just all over the place. We’ve got Insta. You know, come and find us, and tell us what you want to hear. We are extremely grateful for you, listeners, and we definitely want your feedback. Now, we want to know what you want to hear about what founder journeys you want to share. So reach out. Definitely keep coming back and listening. We’re very grateful that you do that week after week, and we will catch you next time.