In January of 2019, our co-founders agreed to a collective mission: to build a brighter future for sports.
We set off to take action by:
Improving athletes’ lives using nature’s best tools. In our case, this was done by creating a line of USA-made, all-natural, hemp-derived recovery products.
Leveling the playing field. By championing equality and inclusivity from the get-go in everything we do–from how we pay, who we hire, and the way we conduct ourselves each and every day.
Most of our efforts until this point have been focused on our RECOVER BETTER message with regards to our product line.
However, we haven’t explicitly defined what we mean by LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD. Until now.
Every decision we make as a team is through the lens of inclusivity.
Do we have a fair and equitable work environment? Do we treat our male vs female athletes or sports teams equally? And when raising money, who are we getting money from and can we honestly say we did everything possible to include everyone on our cap table? The answer is, yes. But, it wasn’t easy.
As I’m sure most of you already know, only 3% of female-founded companies get funding, much less if you’re a woman of color and still only 10% if you are a female + male - founded company. It is not a secret that being a woman in the start-up world is an uphill battle. Our odds were slightly higher since we had Brett on our co-founding team, but we still had a mountain to climb.
The three of us looked at the challenge ahead and said to ourselves, “Okay, not only do we need to beat the 90% failure rate, but we will do so AND succeed with our core value intact - inclusivity.
All of 2019 and into 2020, we raised money with an unwavering focus.
Get females, people of color and athletes to believe in Mendi and build this company from the ground up, with us.
Today, we are oversubscribed in the round and we’ve proudly been able to assemble a daring team of NWSL investors to join our cap table.
This decision to move forward with what we felt was the right way to raise money, came with its set of challenges.
It was difficult and slow, but totally worth it.
We visited 6 of the 9 NWSL teams in 2019 to share our brand, hand out product, gauge interest, gather insights from feedback, provide cannabis education and pitched Mendi to the League–as an investment opportunity. Although NWSL players don’t make the same money as their male counterparts, these players are still deserving of the same investment opportunities as other professional athletes. It may take a little more convincing, lower minimums and extra work creating syndicate funds, but we believe in the strength they are adding to our team of investors.
This is the Modern Cap Table.
We believed from the beginning building a diverse bench of advisors and investors (females, males, people of color, athletes, etc) was going to be one of the keys to success.
We believe this should be an inherent mission for other companies as well.
Having only been at this just over a year, we can already say the variety and quality of ideas that surface are way more interesting, powerful, resonant and simply more fun to work on. In order to live out our dreams to be the best versions of ourselves and constantly be learning on how to be better humans and business owners, what better environment than one with a rich set of ideas and backgrounds challenging our own implicit biases?
This is just the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a wild 2020.
Follow along as we continue to share the stories behind the the bold, courageous and daring NWSL players who put their money in Mendi, so we had the chance to put our money where our mouths are.