“Ready to Burn It Down”:

Founders Talk Sex­ism, Money, and Pol­i­tics

Inc. (USA) - - 100 FF - BY KRISTIN LENZ AND MARIA ASPAN

Start­ing any fast-grow­ing busi­ness is dif­fi­cult. Start­ing one while fe­male, as the flood of head­lines about #MeToo and VC fund­ing short­falls il­lus­trates, can seem nearly im­pos­si­ble.

“I was told I was too fe­male, too old, even too blond: ‘You do not look like

a CEO,’ ” says Jules Pieri, co-founder and CEO of the Grom­met. Yet Pieri, who started her prod­uct launch plat­form in 2008 and last year sold a ma­jor­ity stake to Ace Hard­ware, is one of count­less women to ig­nore naysay­ers, forge on—and find suc­cess.

Inc. and Fast Com­pany, our sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion, asked women who have started all kinds of busi­nesses just how they do it. The 279 re­spon­dents to our first State of Women and En­trepreneur­ship sur­vey have seen it all: in­ter­nal doubts, ex­ter­nal ha­rass­ment, sub­tle bias, and bla­tant dis­crim­i­na­tion. But they’ve also racked up some im­pres­sive records:

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