Most women under the age of, say, 45 dread a particular time of the month. (Fellas, stay with me.) So, Arion Long, an African American millennial out of the Washington, D.C., area, came up with the Femly Box, a way to make the monthly menstrual routine less burdensome and more like a gift. Her ultimate PMS kit includes a supply of organic, all-cotton feminine products, along with wholesome wellness treats, like shea butter, herbal tea, and organic chocolates. For about $30 a month, it comes in a pretty package that gets delivered right to a woman’s door, just in time for her cycle.
When Long, a former health plan communications specialist, launched her business in 2015, she had only one problem: getting funding from investors. “Let’s face it,” she says. “I was talking to middle-aged white men. They didn’t know the product or use the product. And they didn’t care. I’m a brown-faced, five-foot-one-inch young woman, who wasn’t taken seriously. I had done my research and was ready. But young white men—some of whom had simply jotted down an idea on a beverage napkin—got the nod.” Long was hoping to snag a modest $10,000 to $75,000 investment. Everyone she talked to said no.
The numbers bear out her plight. Since 2009, out of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture capital funding, the portion given to Black female founders? A minuscule .0006 percent, according to Project Diane 2018, a report by