Women’s History Month has been filled with amazing stories about women’s accomplishments across all walks of life. Unfortunately, women entrepreneurs continue to face an uphill climb. While there are 114% more women entrepreneurs now than 20 years ago, still less than 3 percent of all venture funding goes to women entrepreneurs. That’s especially ironic since private tech companies led by women reportedly achieve 35% higher ROI.
Medable founder and CEO Dr. Michelle Longmire recently sat down with Made By Women, a podcast about women who are transforming the world in unique ways. In the conversation with host Kim Azzarelli, Michelle shared her journey to entrepreneurship and how women can support each other’s ventures.
Know Your Strengths & Lean Into Them
Michelle always knew she had a passion for science—inspired in part by her mother (also a scientist)—and was “always inspired by how discovery could transform the world.”
However, it wasn’t until her time at Stanford that Michelle knew she would be an entrepreneur. While she was working in rare disease research at Stanford, she saw gaps and inefficiencies in how clinical trials were happening. Michelle wanted to use her love of science, rare disease and desire to help patients. She saw that research needed to happen quicker, with less cost and fewer hurdles to trial execution.
It was that knowledge and empathy for patients that drove her to see how research could be done differently, which led to development of new systems to make clinical trials accessible to nearly everyone and easy to use.
Find Your Way
While less than 3 percent of venture funding goes to women-led startups, Michelle has been able to defy the odds—raising $136 million to date. Michelle attributes the success in part to a good support system and a lot of tenacity.
When Medable began, Michelle was building it on the side. When she wasn’t practicing medicine, she was attending hackathons and learning how to build a startup. She encourages listeners to keep pushing forward, even if they hear no a thousand times. Since it’s harder for women and minorities to get funding, Michelle stressed the importance of leaning on existing support networks for knowledge and potential funding.
Based on Michelle’s vision for clinical trials, along with a couple of talented developers and an initial outside investment of $50,000, she set Medable in motion. She tells listeners: “Starting your own company is freeing. Nothing can prepare you for it, but you’ve just gotta do it.”
Support Other Women
Michelle says the tech industry—and every other industry—needs more women entrepreneurs. Part of what will make this possible is through supporting other women. And it can’t be just in good times. When you see another woman entrepreneur struggling, Michelle says you must lift them up. The community is small but strong and growing.
What started out as Michelle’s side hustle and desire to help people with rare diseases, Medable’s decentralized trials platform now has over one million users.
Michelle leaves listeners with this invaluable advice: “If there’s something you’re passionate about, and you’re thinking about starting your own company, go for it! And before you know it, you’ll have made more progress than you had even originally imagined.”
You can listen to the full podcast episode here, where Michelle shares more about her journey from clinical research to technology CEO.