Male-Run Startup Draws Ire Over Ridiculous Pivot To “Girls Club”

Male-Run Startup Draws Ire Over Ridiculous Pivot To “Girls Club”

A male-run property subletting startup out of New York has announced one of the most bizarre pivots in history and has relaunched as a New York “girl’s only club” that will help women in Manhatten “thrive”.

Lead Image: Kiki co-founder Toby Thomas-Smith and female employee Caitlin Emiko

The problem? Kiki is run by five men. The management only realised the opportunity presented by the female market after hiring its first female employee – 25-year-old Caitlin Emiko.

“We’re not doing subletting any more,” co-founder Toby Thomas-Smith said on Instagram this week.

“Ever since Caitlin joined the team, she’s really enlightened me to this problem I never even knew existed where so many girls in the city have moved here thinking that they’ll live their best possible life, but they’re just living not thriving,” Thomas-Smith posted.

The New York “girl’s only club” will help Manhattan women “thrive” and “not just live”. Kiki was once valued at $42 million.

With the spotlight now on so much investment being given to young male entrepreneurs, it is no wonder the story has caught the eye of New York-based CEO and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy Gallop. Gallop is a keen advocate and campaigner of female-led tech companies and regularly speaks out against sexism in the tech industry.

Last year she hit out at disgraced GiveTree founder, Sam Joel after he made a number of highly offensive comments about women in the industry, telling one to “get off your period”. 

She posted a link to the story on her LinkedIn page stating “I cannot even begin to articulate how much my response to this is F*CK. THAT. SHIT. Every single line of this is “I can’t even.”

Her followers were quick to agree with her with one saying “let me get this straight. An all-male founding team got gobs of money to run a business (that consistently failed). After FIVE years they hired their first female employee … and discovered that women exist and aren’t thriving in NYC. They decide to pivot to create some kind of business to help “girls” thrive (for which they still have no idea how to make actual revenue). And their investors haven’t yanked funding and run for the hills”?

Previously name EasyRent, Kiki ran a subletting platform in New Zealand, before shutting that down, moving to Sydney, and shutting that down too.

Commentators were particularly incensed that the co-founders of Kiki had asked Emiko to drop her won business to join the team.

“But the one condition was she had to drop the business she’d built with her best friend,” Thomas-Smith said.

Kiki raised $US4.5 million ($7 million) in August last year with Australia’s largest venture fund, Blackbird, taking a 16 per cent stake in the company.

“The only time I want to see a story like this is on April 1st… or in The Onion,” one disillusioned LinkedIn user commented.

“My blood is boiling at this…so many incredible women in the world building magnificent businesses but can’t get funding because of their gender, then clowns like this continue to get backed even though they constantly fail 🤬,” another said.

Latest News

Acronis Names Cybersecurity Channel Veteran Kelly Johnson As General Manager For Australia & New Zealand
  • Technology

Acronis Names Cybersecurity Channel Veteran Kelly Johnson As General Manager For Australia & New Zealand

Acronis has appointed Kelly Johnson (lead image)as the new general manager for Australia and New Zealand. Johnson will lead the channel-focused business, strengthening relationships with distributors and supporting partners to meet the cybersecurity demands of modern businesses in the region. With the growing pressure on Australian businesses for cybersecurity and the drive to comply with […]

Aquent Salary Guide Reveals The Gender Pay Gap Persists In Marketing, Design & Technology Fields
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Aquent Salary Guide Reveals The Gender Pay Gap Persists In Marketing, Design & Technology Fields

Aquent has released its 2024 Australian Salary Guide for marketing, design, and technology talent. This year, it explores how marketing, design, and technology roles are expanding, deep dives into gender pay gaps, and examines the movement of salaries year-on-year—both in growth and decline. Paired with Aquent’s 2023 Talent Insights Report, the Salary Guide helps organisations […]

Tech Salaries Continue To Steady Out As Businesses Remain Cautious
  • Technology

Tech Salaries Continue To Steady Out As Businesses Remain Cautious

The hiring market is experiencing significant change, fluctuating between a frenzied candidate-short market and a more cautious employer-driven market, according to Talent’s ‘More Than Money Salary Guide 2024’. Tech and digital salaries continue to steady out but remain strong for key skillsets such as cybersecurity and AI. The report features key salaries, roles and skills […]

Surging Job Satisfaction For Australia’s Young Tech Workers Amid Labour Market Cooling
  • Technology

Surging Job Satisfaction For Australia’s Young Tech Workers Amid Labour Market Cooling

While 2021’s big workplace trend was The Great Resignation, 2024’s big trend is likely to be ‘The Big Stay’ in Australia, concludes modern HR platform HiBob in its latest research of young Australians working in the tech sector. The combination of decreasing Australian job vacancies and a remarkable increase in job satisfaction among Australia’s young tech workers in 2023 […]