The Art of Feminine Financing with Sara Batterby
"I feel the reason women take to fundraising well is because they begin to believe in themselves and know that they can do it."
Last year, she was named by the Portland Business Journal as one of the ten ‘Executives to Watch’ in 2017. She helped several successful cannabis companies raise millions of dollars. With a background in technology and over 20 years of financial experience in a high growth environment, Sara Batterby is on a mission to educate and empower women all over the world to embrace financial opportunities!
Before entering the cannabis industry, she co-founded an early stage venture fund in Silicon Valley with the goal of helping investors understand the powerful business case for investing in women as part of a well-diversified portfolio, raising over $500 million dollars in two years. In 2014, Batterby moved to Portland, Oregon and built a cannabis cultivation company called HiFi Farms, based in Hillsboro which specialized in Clean Green Certified craft cannabis. The next year, she became the Founding Chair of the Women Grow Chapter in Portland, which became one of the largest female professional network groups in the cannabis industry. Upon exiting HiFi Farms in 2017, she established the Batterby Group to help and influence a diverse group of entrepreneurs who seek access to capital for their growing ventures.
A member of the Oregon Cannabis Association, and a Board Member to both Women Led and the Resource Innovation Institute, Sara Batterby is a powerful woman. And now this fascinating beauty is changing women’s lives by empowering them with the financial tools they need to achieve their goals.
Tell us about the “Art of Feminine Financing?” I’ve raised over $200 million in two years and I realized that there should be more women doing the same thing. I figured no one was going to fix this so I felt like I needed to. I understood that I need to educate women to raise money to do what they want to do. When I was asked to speak about fundraising at a Women Grow Summit, I didn’t want to talk about myself. I wanted to create a workshop on how to do, what to do and not to do and that’s how the “Feminine Art of Fundraising” was born. It all happened organically and now I am hosting workshops all over the country. In May, I will be speaking in New Orleans.
What is your goal through all of this? To help women get it and understand and be successful at it!
What do you feel the future holds for financing and business operations in the industry? I feel it will continue to be a huge rush of money that will mostly get plopped into companies exclusively ran by men. I believe women and minorities have not circulate in network capitalist exchange and no one is teaching them to raise money. That’s why I created “Courting Angels” -designed for first-time fundraisers. It delivers a structure for preparing and executing your raise. We add technical and tactical support on incorporation, investment structures, investor protections and governance. We identify a compelling storyline and arm you with an impeccable investor presentation. The result: a more efficient path to capital and strong, lasting relationships with your critical, early investors. My book “Courting Angels” is also expected to be available by the end of the year.
Why do you think less women have been involved in the opportunity that is available in the industry? Because they’re not prepared. Women are amazing at raising money but we won’t do something that we’re not prepared for. We’re not taught to raise money and there are so many technical aspects to understand like equity, debts, warrants and options, just to name a few. If we lack conviction or confidence, we won’t do something. My goal is to make sure they are not only successful but have a good support system, network and are building relationships.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a women in the industry? I don’t face any different challenges than in any other industries I have been involved in which have been technology, finance and business. Unfortunately there is a deep low grade of sexism, especially as a CEO of a company. The responsibility of the CEO is to be 100% responsible and as a woman, it can be extremely difficult to drive degree and accountability. You have to choose between being effective and being liked and sometimes people hate you or label you with something negative. I feel as though sometimes women are put into positions because we are healers, and the expectations from others is if we are put in a senior position where the company is distressed, there is a stronger hope that the company will fly. However, it’s a harder job to do because we have to be better and work harder, especially to be successful and effective.
What excites you most about the industry? Hemp! It’s a massive agriculture commodity that has such powerful potential. It is also exciting and interesting to be around thousands of entrepreneurs with exciting and motivational motives and energy.
What can you tell other women who want to purse a cannabis career? Learn to raise money and just go for it. Be aware and know there is space and room to grow. Don’t let feelings of being unprepared stop you! Get past whatever it is you don't understand or don’t feel qualified enough about. We need diversity and a lot of women professionals who have been involved in marketing, finance, technology, beauty, wherever their passion lies.
Five things people don’t know about you?
1. I am half Maltese – my mother is from Malta.
2. I am ambidextrous.
3. I am dyslexic.
4. My first job was lambing in a Wellington, a village in England.
5. I am obsessed with houses and real estate.
Anything you cant live without? My dogs – Navajo, Frea and Pippy
Favorite fashion designer and why? Chanel because she’s classic and timeless.
Favorite thing to smoke? I love smoking a CBD/Hemp joint and love Cherry Lime. I also like tinctures by Lemon Botanicals and Danodan Grassworks.
Any closing thoughts? Yes, I feel the reason women take to fundraising well is because they begin to believe in themselves and know that they can do it. Cannabis is an industry full of dreams! But also, I would encourage to spend a few minutes out of the day believing in yourself, being nice to yourself - Making sure to keep faith and ultimately be the force!
To Connect with Sara, visit: https://www.batterbygroup.com/