#230: How One Woman Raised Millions in a World Where Men Control the Capital with Sarah Dusek
Having a dream and hustling are not always enough to reach your full potential—capital is required to fuel that growth! Sarah Dusek shares how she raised $17 million for a minority stake in her industry-pioneering 'Glamping' company, Under Canvas. She sold it only a few years later to Private Equity for a hefty ROI. Now Sarah wants to change the investment landscape for women entrepreneurs, who receive only 2% of all available funding each year in the US. To help fix this problem, Sarah became a venture capitalist to provide women and entrepreneurs in South Africa access to these funds. Here’s her story, and how she is using business and capital to make an impact on the world.
- The truth behind why it’s so hard to access capital and break into “the club.”
- How turning down $7 million got Sarah $17 million instead.
- The value of really knowing the business you’re in and understanding what’s valuable to someone else when deciding to sell.
- Why, despite being pioneers in the industry and building their own tents, Under Canvas chose not to sell the tents they made as a new revenue stream.
- How anger drove Sarah to becoming a venture capitalist and the success she’s seen investing in the underserved market she came from.
- What metrics people need to know when working with business buyers and investors to make your business an appealing investment as well as a sustainable operation.
- The broken environment of capital allocation, including the fact that only 2% of venture capital is given to women each year in the US — and what Sarah’s doing to change that.
- How to evaluate the type of capital you’re receiving, as well as the source, to see if it’s a match for you.
- Selling your company doesn’t mean the end of all things. Capital (from the sale) allows you to “dream another dream” and solve another problem.
Are You Growing The Value of Your Business
Take The 2-Minute Assessment To Get Your Intentional Growth Score™ And 1-Page Vision Board.
- Are your company's current initiatives intentionally designed to increase the value of the business?
- Do you know what you want from your business long term and why?
- Do you know what your company is worth?
- Do you know the differences between Management, Family Transitions, PE Firms, ESOPs and Strategic Buyers?
- Does the business have a written strategic plan on how to achieve the desired normalized EBITDA and valuation?
Sarah is Co-Founder of Under Canvas, the leading US adventure-hospitality company that offers luxurious glamping accommodations just minutes from America’s most popular and iconic national parks. In 2017, under Sarah’s leadership, Under Canvas received a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list and Sarah was named to the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women list from Ernst & Young.
Under Canvas has set an unprecedented standard in ecological development while also redefining experiential hospitality in a meaningful way. She later sold it in order to launch the next great mission of her life: to help grow scalable, sustainable businesses that have the power to transform communities, cities and nations. 2019 marks the launch of her next enterprise, Enygma Ventures, a Venture Capital Fund focused on women founders and entrepreneurs in South Africa.
12:45 - “The reality is that nobody ever goes into business to sell a business; they go into business to solve a problem.” – Sarah Dusek
14:41 - “So when you can marry [the idea of] solving a problem that you care about and that is meaningful for you to solve it and you can build a sustainable solution (i.e. build a sustainable business), that’s a very big marriage made in heaven.” - Sarah Dusek
18:10 - “Less than 2% of female founders receive the venture capital funds that are distributed in the US every year. My journey to become one of the 2% of women able to capitalize their business was a very, very painful, difficult, frustrating journey.” – Sarah Dusek
23:49 - “Nobody knows what they’re doing the first time the do it. You’re making it up as you go, trying to figure out so many things as you build a business” - Sarah Dusek
26:00 - “You gotta learn fast, because it’s expensive to fail.” – Sarah Dusek
29:59 - “Think about the brand that you’re building and what you want to be known for.” – Sarah Dusek
35:00 - “What could be valuable [about my business] to someone else one day?” – Sarah Dusek
71:14 - “Our job as investors should be just to unleash all the potential there is in entrepreneurs for the greater good-which should, as a by-product, make money.” – Sarah Dusek
Links and Resources:
LinkedIn: Sarah Dusek
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You can also reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on my LinkedIn.