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Mark Phillips. This is a rebroadcast from Season 2 of the show. That season, StartUp was following Dating Ring. A company that was different from other dating sites and apps because it used matchmakers, real people, to help its customers go out on dates. This is the third episode from that season, which I co-hosted with Alex Blumberg. And a quick warning - it includes some explicit language. So Dating Ring launched in

And Lauren gives an ate about the company to the person whose opinion matters most. Our iTunes artwork was illustrated by Cari Vander Yacht. Normally, being the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, means paying attention to everyday issues, from garbage pickups to municipal budgets. She found herself thrust into the national spotlight as all eyes turned to Dayton. And it wasn't long before she was f When Desmond Meade got out of prison after serving time for a nonviolent felony, he was homeless and wrestling with addiction.

A decade later, he started a campaign that very few people thought was winnable: amending the Florida constitution to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions. A thought she had dismissed up until then. The thought And once that question gets in your head it's very hard to ignore. Coming up we ponder that question and discover how risky just pondering that question can feel.

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I'm Alex Blumberg. And I'm Lisa Chow.

are absolutely

And let's start the second half of this show with this. Unless I have an absolutely perfect indefensible business-which I do not-I'm easily written off as someone blaming my failures on my gender.

LAUREN: One investor took me to lunch said he wasn't interested in investing and wanted to test the product out by going on a date with me. Another investor introduced me to a group of fellow investors as the beautiful CEO who has two other beautiful co-founders.

Another investor met with my CTO, held off on investing, and then asked one of our matchmakers if he could be set up with our CTO or someone like her.

It was called Secret and it had essentially become a Silicon Valley gossip site. People posted anonymously on all sorts of things. How much money companies were making; who had hooked up with whom. And there were a lot of threads about fundraising specifically women and fundraising. Alex: And there were comments. Pretty ugly comments. Here's another one. Women are baby machines. That one had likes. And then there's this one, which to read I have to use the F-word.

Get ready. People think this. A lot of the sexism was harder to pin down. ALEX: There was this idea called pattern matching-it comes from computer science. But the way people use it in this context, is this way: When investors look at successful founders they see a pattern. Most of them are men of a certain type, from a certain background.

And you're an investor, you don't have to invest, it's not a charity. In one study for example men and women delivered the identical pitch to a group of investors. The men were 40 percent more likely to receive funding. Another study showed that 85 percent of venture-backed companies do not have a single woman on the executive team.

And less than three percent of venture backed companies have a woman CEO. Three percent.

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Some felt like Lauren. We should try and point it out.

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Call attention to it share experiences. And worse: it can backfire.

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In fact, one of the women I talked to in this camp, the opposite of Lauren camp, was Lauren's co-founder, Emma. She remembers Lauren's blog post. You know. Even though a lot of these instances are like clearly sexist. And even though they're true. I don't think the reason we didn't raise is because we're women.

And if it is because we're women, there is nothing we can do about it so it's not a helpful critique. And so I want to focus on that. For example, a site called Gutsy Broads had put out a call for essays from women about a time that they did something gutsy. Lauren went to Emma and said you know we turned down that money from that guy the handsy investor- that was gutsy-why don't you write about that? Emma hesitated at first, but eventually she did. She read a section to the other Lisa Lisa Pollock.

EMMA: It was a big decision to make and I couldn't stop questioning whether I was exaggerating what happened or being too sensitive. My co-founders immediately assured me that wasn't the case and though we could not take the money.

They said it was ridiculously inappropriate that our relationship with him would only get worse and that we should hold out for better investors to partner with.

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And so the next day I sat down and wrote the investor an email. I told him that while we appreciated the offer, we were being very strategic about which investors to partner with. It felt pretty gutsy at the time, but since time has passed I couldn't be more confident about the decision.

I feel really stupid about it. I feel really - really embarrassed for not taking the money, like maybe I made too big a deal of it and maybe it wasn't an issue or maybe like this is just how the world works then I'm like being a baby about it. And I feel that.

Dating Ring 9: Dating Ring Of Fire

But but intellectually I know like if you told me that that happened to you I would be like, "What the fuck. Like we have to tell everyone he's a creep like, you did the right thing.

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What would happen next. What would the reaction be. You know they were mostly they were mostly really good. This guy's disgusting. There were a lot of people who who were criticizing me for not having done more. They said you have to name him. This isn't this is cowardly. You have to name him you have to protect other women from him. Why didn't you tell him why you didn't take the money.

Yes it is. That's a really easy mistake to make. I'm sure I hug people and accidentally leave my hand somewhere and like I'm sure he didn't know and like that's ridiculous and He didn't really do anything wrong.

Although to be fair there were much fewer of those. Like fuck you if you ever touched a breast because you know when you're touching one.

That made me feel like I did the right thing. ALEX: Meanwhile Lauren, the one who pushed Emma to write about her feelings, never published her own post-the one she'd read earlier about whether sexism affected their fundraising. Over the months that she'd been thinking about that post her attitude had started shifting and then she had this epiphany at an event for women in tech called the Female Founders Conference which was put on by Y Combinator.

There are so many women in the audience and I am so happy to be here with you.

Dating Ring is an online dating service that combines matchmaking and technology. When members sign up, they are assigned a personal matchmaker. Each week, matchmakers send their members a curated match. To help their matchmakers improve future matches, members give feedback after each match and again if they meet the. To the Dating Ring Community: After an amazing five years of getting the chance to set up members, Dating Ring shut its doors on August 31, We set out to change the landscape of dating for good­-to transform a traditionally frustrating experience into a . Normally, being the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, means paying attention to everyday issues, from garbage pickups to municipal budgets. But in the early morning hours of August 4, , a gunman opened fire at a downtown bar in the city, and Nan Whaley's role as mayor immediately shifted.

And she was one of a bunch of women founders and executives at this conference offering tips and support and encouragement for the audience. Just keep assuming you're going to get an offer. Like, kind of stay a little bit entitled.

I mean we got nos way more then we got yeses. We just kept thinking-yep, well the next one could be a yes.

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Weeks were broken up by Tuesdays, when we spent most of our time at the YC office, catching up with other founders, attending group office hours and Tuesday night dinners. It feels like finals period during college, except for 3 months straight.

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But it never felt competitive. YC has a "no assholes" rule and it really shows through the founders they choose.

Per that conversation, prior to the airing of StartUp's Season 2 premiere, the Dating Ring was adding between customers per cycle (I'm assuming this is per week but it's not clear). Then, says Alex, during the week of 4/19 (the week of StartUp's Season 2 . Jun 09,   LISA: Hey, it's Lisa Chow, host of Startup. This is a rebroadcast from Season 2 of the show. That season, StartUp was following Dating Ring. A company that was different from other dating sites and apps because it used matchmakers, real people, to help its customers go out on dates. The founders of Dating Ring, an online matchmaking service, talk about why they decided to share everything from failed VC pitches to details of their salaries on the new season of the podcast Author: Kristen Bellstrom.

Most people are working in such different industries, and startups are at all different stages, so really, it would be hard to compete if you tried. The other founders are extremely helpful. Even though everyone is under the same pressure to get as much done as possible on their startup, most founders would drop everything to sit with you for a few hours if you needed help on something.

Hard to say.

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    1. Taukazahn

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