A year ago, subsequent to the 2016 Presidential Election, I posted a Blog entitled “Invest in Women ” (that post is copied below). As I look back over the past twelve months, I remain convinced that the only way women will be able to change the sexist culture in our society is to “get a seat at the table”. It is difficult, if not impossible, to change a culture while on the outside looking in. The Venture Capital Community has had it’s own scandals this past year and while many firms have added female partners to their rosters, there is still a long way to go to add more female voices to the conversation. A major focus of my investment strategy over the past year has been to fund women starting their own VC Funds. Rather than waiting to be invited “to the table”, they have created their own tables. In addition to Lattice Ventures , a network-driven VC firm based in NYC, I have added several new funds to my investment portfolio, all of which count women in the GP/ Founder ranks.
Chestnut Street Ventures, a Penn alum venture fund investing in Penn alum-led companies.
Future/Perfect Ventures, which is helping to build the next generation of impactful technology companies.
SoGal Ventures, the first female-led millennial venture capital firm
Talking about the issue of changing the ratio is helpful; doing something by investing in women entrepreneurs and GPs is actually effective.
Original Post – Invest in Women November 14, 2016
The election is finally behind us and I have personally moved through my four stages of grief:
I have been an Angel Investor since the late 90’s with a mission to find and fund high growth investment opportunities in companies run by women entrepreneurs. There is a great deal of dialogue bemoaning the gender gap in funding for women. I have approached this issue with both my voice and my checkbook and operate under the following action plan:
- Invest in Women Entrepreneurs
- Help train women to become Angel Investors
- Invest in women starting VC Funds
Invest in Women Entrepreneurs:
There are many ways to “put your money where your mouth is” and make a change in the funding gap by investing in women entrepreneurs. Whether or not you are an accredited investor, you can participate in non-equity funding opportunities through platforms such as Kickstarter. I have used this platform to fund some incredible women such as the DreamGirl Team who recently produced a documentary film on women entrepreneurs and the VidCode Team teaching girls to code.
As an angel investor, I am active member of both Golden Seeds and New York Angels, early stage investment groups where members share their expertise to evaluate and co-invest in exciting young companies. There are many Angel Groups across the country – a great resource for finding angel investment groups is the Angel Capital Association.
Help train women to become Angel Investors:
For the past four years, I have been the Lead Instructor of the Golden Seeds Knowledge Institute. Our mission is to empower our members though education. We focus on everything from a basic understanding of the investment process to best practices for serving on a start-up board. In addition, I have served as a mentor to Pipeline Angels, which is committed to helping more women become angel investors. For some additional educational resources, here is a LINK to a previous post on this topic.
Invest in women starting VC Funds:
There has been a lot of progress in women joining the partnership ranks of VC firms. Here is a LINK to a list of several of those firms. My current investment strategy includes investing directly in new funds started by women. One such recent investment is Lattice Ventures, a network-driven VC firm based in NYC, founded by two dynamic young women.
I plan to continue using the power of both prose and purse to try and effect change in the funding landscape for women. In order to change the ratio, we need the continuing support of our male colleagues in the investment community. There are many men in both the angel and VC community who have been strong supporters of women. I personally want to thank my colleagues at Golden Seeds, especially @robdelman, my office mate and fellow Knowledge Institute Instructor. Thank you also to @brianscohen and all of my male colleagues at New York Angels for making me feel welcome from day one. A big shout out to Ed Zimmerman at Lowenstein Sandler for being a great advocate for women entrepreneurs and whose gender pledge has helped to increase female representation on tech panels. To Mark Suster, entrepreneur and VC, whose Blog helped keep me sane over the past year and whose voice has been such an incredible champion for women. I hope I have the chance to meet you some day. Thanks @adamquinton for your support of both women investors and entrepreneurs. This is in no way an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add #MenWhoInvestInWomen to the comment section below!
Finally, a very special thanks to my grandfather, Henry J. McCue, who encouraged me to dream big and whose financial support enabled me to attend Wellesley College, a bootcamp for female empowerment and leadership. I consider him my first Angel Investor and know that with each check I write to fund a female entrepreneur or invest in a female VC, he is leading a cheering section up in heaven complete with high fives and chants of “You Go Girl”!