Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact

Creating Diversity in Entrepreneurship - Gary Stewart of FounderTribes

October 12, 2021 Maiko Schaffrath Season 1 Episode 80
Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact
Creating Diversity in Entrepreneurship - Gary Stewart of FounderTribes
Show Notes

Gary Stewart is the founder of FounderTribes, a startup dedicated to diversity and matching businesses or entrepreneurs with the right investors and mentors to help them lead their business in the right direction.

Impact Hustlers’ Maiko and Gary actually go way back with them crossing paths in Wayra, a technological innovation hub that they both worked in. Even before that, Gary took up law in Yale and shortly after school, he went to Spain for some time off post-graduation. He also shares how his first entrepreneurial stint, which was in real estate, began. He briefly was a professor at the IE Business School in Madrid and was then recruited by Wayra to be its Managing Director, and off to the UK he went.

Realizing that the corporate world was not for him nor was working for someone else, he wanted to chart his own path and at the same time diversify entrepreneurship, and so he created FounderTribes. For £9.99 a month, FounderTribes provides its clients with an impressive network of mentors and coaches who will then guide their clients and their companies to becoming investor-ready, by which time they will match them with the appropriate investors based on their stage and vertical.

Compared to the US where Gary could easily find investors, he noticed the stark contrast in the UK where, despite him graduating from an Ivy League university, he experienced difficulty finding investors. This, he said, was partly due to race and also due to class. Thankfully, events like Pitch@Palace helped Gary meet the right people who were willing to give him a chance.

He also gives great advice for young entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, and in 10 years, Gary says he envisions proportional representation, that everyone gets a fair chance regardless of race, gender, class, or whatever it may be. 

Gary’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “I think there's a point when you realize, "I'm more interested in that bit and solving that challenge," than on the day-to-day of, ‘Can I help corporates to figure out what's going to be their next big product?’” (10:07)
  • “In Spain, I feel like I was more investible than I am in the UK, because in Spain, I was an American first, and I think in the UK, I'm black first, and I didn't quite realize what that meant.” (18:34)
  • “Because when they talk about gender diversity, usually, they're only talking about white women diversity. They're not talking about black women diversity, brown women diversity.” (22:23)
  • “If we create these economies of scale, then the price of entry is a lot more accessible for everyone, which then democratizes entrepreneurship for everyone.” (29:58)
  • “Remember, you're not the first person to blaze a trail, and you're not going to be the last, so if you're going to get into this game as a black person or brown person, know that it's about blazing a trail that requires a certain level of a thick skin, but just get on with it.” (35:50)
  • “All you want is equity. You don't want overrepresentation. You just want everyone to have a fair shot.” (45:40)
  • “FounderTribes is about race. It's about gender. It's about socio-economic. It's about geography. It's about all of the "isms" that keep us locked out.” (46:12)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • Yale, Spain, and Gary’s first business venture (2:41)
  • How Gary got into entrepreneurship (6:22)
  • What made Gary leave Wayra to start FounderTribes (8:09)
  • Facts and numbers on funding according to gender and race (14:06)
  • Finding investors in Europe vs. finding investors in America (16:05)
  • The problem with gender d
Support the show