“Another tip: hire fast, fire fast!”
Lu Li is the founder of Blooming Founders, a platform and ecosystem designed to help early stage female entrepreneurs and diverse teams succeed.
If you know about our plant-powered female empowerment community, She Loves Plants, you’ll know that shining light on hard-working, compassionate women is such a huge passion of ours at Vevolution. We absolutely love what Lu Li has built with Blooming Founders; communities like this are so important to give women the confidence and support that they deserve.
Lu Li will be speaking about profits and purpose at the Plant Based Business Bootcamp this weekend. Keep reading to find out about her inspiration for Blooming Founders, and her future ambitions with the community!
What would you say was the defining moment that made you realise that you wanted to start this platform?
When I moved to London 5 years ago, I came on my own and didn't have any friends in the city. Naturally, I had to put my self out there to meet new people and soon realised how male dominated all startup events were. I started a Meetup group to gather entrepreneurial women and it grew to over 1000 women in less than 9 months. Our meetups were very well attended (people even started to pay for them!) and at these events, I noticed that a lot of the conversation was around challenges that these women faced in building their businesses. They were looking for camaraderie and advice from people who could relate. That's when I thought: Hey, let me do something to help!
What advice would you give to your past self, when you had just reached the beginning of your startup journey?
Monetise earlier. Sometimes we think that we are creating value, but unless someone is wiling to pay for it, it's not a business. I think I might have waited too long on some parts of the business. You can do that if you are a venture-backed business, but not if you are bootstrapping. Another tip: hire fast, fire fast! I sometimes had someone working with me just so I wasn't on my own, but I learnt that it's better to pull things on your own than dragging weight alongside you.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey at Blooming Founders?
The positive feedback I get from the community, which shows me that Blooming Founders is needed, and that I was actually able to built everything as a solo founder with very little resources. Until this day, we haven't spend anything on paid acquisition, so I'm very optimistic that there is a lot of potential to be unlocked in the future.
“Build a network of female founders who have raised a round already.”
Your conference “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds” is super inspiring. What do you think the reason is that such little UK VC capital is being invested into female founding teams?
Good question! I think there are mainly two reasons. Firstly, female founders don't have much access to VCs. And secondly, a lot of female founders are first-time founders who lack knowledge of the fundraising process, how investors think and what a company that's worth funding looks like. That's what we are trying to help solve through the conference.
What advice would you give to a female founder that doesn’t feel confident enough to start raising investment?
Learn absolutely everything you can about the process and get to know investors (read Venture Deals by Brad Feld, listen to VC podcasts such as 20Minute VC), practice your pitch (a lot) and build a network of female founders who have raised a round already.
Where would you like Blooming Founders to be in 2 years time?
On the community side, I'm working to create an education & incubation programme aimed at helping to increase the pipeline of investment-ready startups with female founders or diverse teams.
On the workspace side, I would love to open a second and potentially a third location in London.
What made you want to get involved with Vevolution events?
Judy was so kind to invite me, and I'm thrilled to participate! :)
LU LI IS A SPEAKER ON THE LINE-UP AT THE PLANT BASED BUSINESS BOOTCAMP
The Plant Based Business Bootcamp is an event designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It is a chance to connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs, in an inspiring setting.