Just a month on from launching its equity crowdfunding campaign, women-only rideshare startup Shebah has raised over $1 million.
The funding so far has come from the Shebah community, with over 980 investors contributing. Shares are priced at $1, with the minimum investment set at $100.
The offer will now open up to the public, with the startup hoping to raise a total of $3 million through its campaign on crowdfunding platform Birchal.
Founder and CEO George McEncroe is particularly proud of the fact that 95 percent of its investors are women – a significant jump from the average of 17 percent Birchal has seen in other campaign.
“We wanted to offer the fruits of our future success to the women who helped us grow, so we went out to the community of drivers and our passengers first,” she said.
“We were mindful that, on average, less than three percent of VC investment goes to female-led businesses in Australia and New-Zealand, a statistic we hope to see change. So starting with our loyal base made sense as they believe in our core purpose and in potential to grow.”
Launched by McEncroe in 2017, Shebah is a rideshare service for drivers and passengers identifying as women. Its focus is on giving passengers the ability to travel, and drivers the opportunity to work, safely without fear.
The company reported that it turned over $1.8 million in 2018, up from just $500,000 in 2017. Now active in seven markets around Australia, with three more readying for launch, it has around 3,000 drivers on board.
“We seem to have started a social movement of sorts, something that women in particular feel strongly about and a service they believe is needed. Our investment group is incredibly diverse, including politicians, experienced investors – male and female – and mothers throughout Australia,” McEncroe said.
The success of the crowdfunding campaign follows McEncroe’s disappointing experience trying to raise funding through venture capital.
In launching the campaign she said, “People say there’s investment money around, but it’s being held by male gatekeepers who just can’t accept what it’s like for women to travel in other rideshares or taxis and feel the kind of fear a man would never feel if they were in the same scenario.”
In other equity crowdfunding news, neobank Xinja Bank earlier this month raised just under $2.59 million in its second campaign. The funding came from over 1,500 investors.
According to Xinja, the majority of its investors are aged between 24 and 44, with the number of women investing growing from 17 percent in the first campaign to 27 percent in the second. Over 200 investors, or 15 percent, participated in both rounds.
Image: George McEncroe. Source: Supplied.