On the 31st of October, we hosted an event with Anne Marie Droste to kick-off our Female Founder Friday series.
Anne Marie is the co-founder and CEO of Grip Fertility, an at-home fertility test that helps women understand their bodies better and get to grips with fertility – without needing to wait for something to go wrong. Prior to founding Grip, Anne Marie was a core member of the Entrepreneur First team.
Anne Marie explained to an audience of 50 budding female founders how she came up with the idea for Grip. She came to the stage in her life when women are expected to quit their jobs, put their lives on hold, get married and have children. Similar to many women in their thirties, Anne Marie was affected by the fear that the longer you wait to have children, the less likely it is you will be able to conceive:
“I wanted to know, am I in the category of people who can have triplets when they’re 43, or am I in the category of people who should be worried at 32. If I knew that, I would make very different choices about what I do with the next 5 years of my life”
Anne Marie and the Grip team want us to be pro-active about our health, able to plan our lives, and make more informed choices.
Female founders starting out
During the Q&A, the audience members shared with Anne Marie a feeling of pressure that, as a female founder, you should be driven by impact, rather than profit and influence. Over the years Anne Marie has hardened herself and learned to stop being so scared of wanting to make a profit:
“In particular as women we shouldn’t be so scared to say that we’re just ambitious, want a great job, and want to beat everybody else. Our male peers wouldn’t think twice, so why should we?”
She feels that there is a lot of value in mission, particularly in terms of developing new technology and adding to the future, but it is a case of each to their own when it comes to starting a company. Her aim from the start was always ease of access and to empower women through data, yet her real drive was simply to create something really big and, in doing so, has created this impact.
Anne Marie’s advice to women who want to start a company, but are concerned they haven’t found an idea they are passionate about: this may not be the forever idea.