Pete Meets… Robbie Hardy, xElle Ventures Founder

In the world of startups, women founders are perennially and increasingly underfunded. This week’s Pete Meets… guest Robbie Hardy has lived her life proving that women can succeed in startups. Most recently she’s founded xElle Ventures, an early stage angel network run by and for women. She’s also launched and successfully exited software companies, implemented corporate strategies for Fortune 500 companies and even wrote a book.

Hailing from a small fishing town in Massachusetts, Hardy never had any inklings she would one day grow up to be a tech entrepreneur. It was a different era, she said. After she got married, Hardy came down to North Carolina and soon flung herself headlong into the tech business world.

Special thanks to season sponsor TriNet! FYI this is the final episode (Episode 10) of Season One. But we’ll be back in 2021 with a new season!

Three highlights
  • Hardy’s entrance into tech had an unorthodox beginning: she accepted a job as a preschool teacher and bus driver after receiving a knock at the door of her apartment after only three days of moving in. Listen to how this led to her first experiences with statistical analysis. [4:55]
  • Looking at a trash can in an empty office space at her first startup, Hardy had an aha moment. Unlike at the bigger corporations at which she had worked, things as mundane as the emptying of trash cans by a cleaning staff weren’t simply going to be taken care of by others. “I looked at myself, and it was really this big moment that said, ‘Yeah, that’s what you’re going to do—you’ve got to do whatever needs to be done.” [15:53]
  • Hardy had more than one try at boosting investment in woman-founded companies. xElle Ventures has worked due to its more collaborative nature. But for Hardy, it goes beyond just wanting to invest in women entrepreneurs. She doesn’t want to be the “only woman in the room,” and women angel investors are the way to change this, she said. [43:55]

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About Suzanne Blake 124 Articles
Suzanne profiles startups and innovation for GrepBeat. She is also a junior studying journalism and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Reach Suzanne at suzanne@grepbeat.com.