Caro has been the go-to destination for female entrepreneurs, with its offices located in Dublin and London.
But when Caro started a female-friendly business incubator in New York, its founders didn’t think twice.
Caro co-founder and chief marketing officer Kate Kelleher has a PhD in molecular genetics and is a pioneer in female entrepreneurs.
“I was a bit nervous, but the more I looked at Caro the more excited I was to get to work with the team,” she says.
“They were just incredible.
The incubator was a big step forward for us.”
After they got their start, Kellehers and Caro were able to launch the Caro Accelerator, which is now part of Caro Global, an incubator that supports and supports female entrepreneurs in the US and Europe.
The accelerator is run by Caro founder and CEO Mollie Caro, whose husband, Matt, is the CEO of Kellehes and Caros company, Cigna.
“Cigna’s mission is to empower women to be the leaders of the future in health, financial, and technology,” says Kelleheas’ husband, Caro CEO Matt Caro.
“We have a vision to create a world where women can lead their own businesses, run their own companies, and get paid as well.”
Caro also has partnerships with companies including Uber, Etsy, and Netflix.
The Caro accelerator is an initiative of Caroteca, an international venture capital firm that focuses on female entrepreneurs and is based in New Delhi.
The firm, which focuses on the health and technology sectors, has invested more than $30 million in female-led companies in the last three years, including the launch of the Carotacao accelerator in India and the launch in Ireland of the new Carotecon accelerator.
Carotena’s head of entrepreneurship, Karan Chatterjee, says that in the Indian market, there are not many female entrepreneurs because they are often excluded from the top echelons of the industry.
“Women have to prove themselves by themselves,” he says.
In Europe, Carotaca’s founders have started to see more female-oriented companies start up.
“There are so many companies coming out of Europe that are female-focused and the female entrepreneurs have a huge impact,” says Chatterji.
“The male-dominated industries, where you are judged on your looks and the amount of money you have, are just not the right environment for the growth of the female business.
They are not looking for talent.
It’s not a good environment for them to be successful.”
Kellehans’ experience of working in a male-centric environment led her to start a female business incubation program in New Jersey called the Carota Entrepreneur Network, which has now expanded to New York.
The New York incubator is now one of the largest in the world, with more than 80 women founders, according to Carota Global.
“One of the things we try to do is create an environment where we encourage our female entrepreneurs to come in and start their own ventures,” says Carota CEO and co-chair, Christine Kellehan.
“It is very important that the women get to know each other and the business is not just about them.
We want to encourage the women to see themselves as entrepreneurs, not just as workers.”
Koleheas, a female entrepreneur, is one of Carota’s co-chairs and is an executive director of Caracao, which she helped found.
“You have to be able to create the right mindset,” says the 29-year-old.
“In my experience, women are always in charge and I think that’s why there is a lot of resentment toward women.
They don’t understand that it’s all about them and that’s the problem.”
A few years ago, Koleher founded a startup called Fulfillment.com, which allows women to buy and sell products with their friends.
But she says she also saw the need for women entrepreneurs in tech.
“This industry is changing so quickly.
We’re just not seeing the kinds of leaders that are out there,” she explains.
“If there’s a good idea that we think could help people, we would be interested in participating in it.”
Carota is also launching a series of women-focused accelerator programs in Europe and Asia, and is working on a new venture capital fund that will help female-owned companies get funded.
“For me, I believe that the female-driven companies are really the new gold in the marketplace,” says a visibly excited Kolehere.
“And we’re going to see them thrive because the women are the backbone of these companies.”
And Caro says it’s about time.
“When we started the incubator, I thought that the incubators were for white men.
But it turns out that women are also very valuable