5 Key Lessons on Building a Business That Super-Successful Female Founders Wished They’d Known When They Started

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin | Inc. | November 6, 2019

Nine out of 10 startups fail. “I’m surprised it’s not more!” said Sallie Krawcheck, the co-founder and chief executive of Ellevest, a financial-advice platform that caters to women, at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York City on Tuesday.

That surprise is a direct result of her own experience. Krawcheck, who founded Ellevest in 2014 after serving in a series of high-profile positions on Wall Street, said she knew that starting a company would be hard, but didn’t realize at the time just how fraught and consequential some early decisions would be.

“You probably have only one big mistake you can make,” said Krawcheck, who was joined onstage by Jean Brownhill, the founder and CEO of home-contractor platform Sweeten; and Christine Hunsicker, the co-founder and CEO of clothing-subscription management company CaaStle. Unfortunately, she said, anything more than that might be devastating to the business.

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