Australian Female Founder Case Study
Mums & Co member Crystal McGregor, is a visionary female founder with THE SOLUTION for ‘next gen’ online shopping
Crystal McGregor is the inspiring Founder of Puctto, a game-changing online visualisation tool for fashion lovers. Like many of our Mums & Co members, she wears many hats and tries to balance her #mumbition, livelihood and wellbeing.
She runs tech startup PUCTTO from her home in Port Macquarie where she also is ‘Mum’ to her three children and nephew.
The concept of remote working―that took many businesses by surprise―is nothing new for Crystal. It’s not often that she actually catches up with her Brisbane-based Co-Founder Belinda and the wider team in person.
For any tech startup securing funding is critical and pitching quickly becomes a part of your daily routine.
The Puctto concept first got off the ground, self-funded by the Founders and eventually gaining family and friends investment. After financially backing the company for some time, the team made a conscious decision to up their pitching game.
With a number of high-profile investors and Angel groups in her sight, Crystal needed to build up her pitching skills before taking the next step.
The Mums & Co Be MPowered Pitch Ready Program and Pitch Competition presented itself as the ideal starting block to help Crystal reach the next level and successfully pitch to Angel investors who shared the Puctto brand vision and could see the potential to scale.
“We need to build up the confidence of females. We aren’t naturally great at talking about or promoting ourselves.”
Meet Puctto — The Future of Fashion
Puctto is a widget that lets shoppers visualise fashion in the comfort of their home. They upload a photo of themselves onto the retail site, select their favourite items and the widget brings virtual try-on sessions to life.
The tech magic happens across Australia and in the UK with a remote team of advisors, product managers and developers, led by CoFounder Belinda Scott. The team support clients and constantly evolve the technology.
“Puctto is helping both retailers and shoppers make an impact.”
For shoppers, Puctto solves the dilemma of having to go into a store to know what the garment looks like on you rather than the model. Customers visualise themselves in an outfit online and easily share that look with their friends, which gives them more confidence to buy.
With online fashion return rates sitting at an average of 30%, Puctto drastically decreases that number for their retailers. Many of these returns usually end up in landfill so finding clever ways to be kinder to the planet and retailers bottom lines is at the core of the Puctto philosophy.
Mums & Co helps female entrepreneurs up their pitch confidence
As the advocate for business-owning mothers in Australia, Mums & Co knows first hand that only 2.2% of venture capital funds are awarded to women. Some of the factors holding greater female participation back include imposter syndrome, financial considerations within the family and the difficulty to access early-phase investment for female led startups.
To turn this dilemma around, Mums & Co provides pitch training to grow confidence and community support with access to capital for new and existing mum-led small to medium enterprises across Australia.
As a graduate of the signature Mums & Co pitch program, Crystal describes the program as…
“Exactly what we needed at that point in our startup journey”.
How the Pitch Competition changed Puctto’s outlook instantly
Crystal and her Co-Founder were selected as one of 20 inspirational women founders from across Australia with the opportunity to receive bespoke pitch training and make a stake for a prize pool which included $10,000 cash, pitch coaching, investor access and business exposure.
Crystal on stage at the Mums & Co Be MPowered Pitch Competition
They applied because it was perfect for the early stage in their startup journey for these women in tech. Crystal and Belinda had started early conversations with major investors and they needed to get the pitch right before their one shot at success.
“We were so excited to be a part of the cohort.”
The Pitch Competition gave them the confidence to refine and craft the Puctto message. There were countless lightbulb moments along the way. And these lightbulb moments had an immediate impact.
Directly after the third Be MPowered workshop Crystal and Belinda pitched to a room of seven angel investors. That was their first pitch to Brisbane Angels who they have since closed a funding round with.
“We love to celebrate with Espresso Martinis. And you bet we had one that day.”
Crystal, what stood out for you in the Mums & Co Pitch Competition?
“I clearly remember presenting to a crowd, but it felt like a very supportive environment. Whether they were going to invest or not, there were so many women who listened intently. I was nervous but remember an investor telling me to pitch until I’m fearless about pitching. And because of this Pitch Competition, I learned to stand up and pitch with confidence. I have since pitched to many high-profile brands―including Prada―and it now doesn’t phase me. If you had told me that in grade 10, I would have laughed at that idea.”
What has your Puctto journey taught you about the fundraising process as a female founder?
“Females are different from males. Not better or worse, just different. When your audience is 95% male―often older―it can be really difficult to stand up and pitch fashion technology. In general, males find it difficult to relate to the concept and trying to imagine whether their wives or daughters would use it. With a limited understanding of the market and where Puctto fits in, it can be a tough gig to convince investors.”
What would you like to see change for tech startups?
“I’d love to see more female investors. All it comes down to is how can we encourage more women with capital to be investors. Pitching to women investors is an entirely different playing field because they can immediately see the need and benefits. Puctto is the solution to frustrations they’ve experienced firsthand.”
“Every story of a female doing something great needs to be shared. Because you can’t be something you can’t see.”
“As women we can help each other to the next level. I’m not Superwoman, but if I can give another woman a hand to reach that next level, then I’m there. And that is definitely where Mums & Co has come in. I’ve made some beautiful friendships right from the first workshop I attended in Sydney, where I sat next to a Founder who was also pitching to Sydney Angels the following week. She is based in Singapore now and we still have fortnightly check-ins and act as a support network for each other. These connections are so powerful!”
Has Crystal sparked your passion for pitching?
The Mums & Co Be MPowered Pitch Ready Program and Pitch Competition will be back in 2021. Sign up for the waitlist today and be first to find out about the next Mums & Co Pitch Ready Program.
We’re here to support you and we’re stronger together. Join the Mums & Co movement and get your business exposure in our Member Directory. Join us here.