Category Archives: Angel Investing

Angel Investing – A Seat at the Table

Hispanic Businesswoman Leading Meeting At Boardroom Table

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:

  • Disbelief
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • ACTION

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:

  1. Invest in Women Entrepreneurs
  2. Help train women to become Angel Investors
  3. 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”!

Angel Investing – Ringing in the New Year 2017

2017 Capodanno Natale 1It’s that time once again to reflect on the prior year and make some resolutions for the next. In last year’s post, I suggested that you:

  • Take a critical look back at portfolio companies that didn’t make it and try to ascertain what really went wrong.
  • Expand your access to quality deal flow
  • Become a mentor to a young entrepreneur

Here are a few of my suggested resolutions for 2017:

Have a plan.  When we meet with entrepreneurs regarding a potential investment in their company, we usually want to know how they “plan” to build their business. As angels, we should go through the same process when deciding how we want to build our portfolio in the coming year. Do you prefer to invest as a solo angel, as part of an organized angel group or perhaps through a fund or online platform. Is there a specific focus or outcome that you want to accomplish through your investment in early stage companies? For me, changing the ratio by increasing the capital flowing to women entrepreneurs continues to be a pivotal part of my investment strategy. In my recent post – Angel Investing – Invest in Women, I have outlined how I hope to execute on this plan going forward.

Approach the process with a positive versus a negative lens. When I attend screenings run by the various angel groups with which I am involved, my goal is to try and find some exciting opportunities in which to invest as opposed to finding a reason to reject every investment opportunity presented. Several years ago, I attended a presentation by Sigal Barsade, a Wharton management professor who studies the influence of emotions on the workplace. She discussed the concept of “emotional contagion” and the influence it could have on group behavior – both positive and negative. I am not advocating not doing rigorous due diligence on investment opportunities, but rather focusing on finding great investment opportunities.

Get involved in the startup ecosytem. Whether through activities sponsored by startup accelerators, universities, or other agencies, get involved – it’s a great way to meet entrepreneurs as well as other early stage investors. You can act as a mentor, help judge a startup competition or participate on a panel addressing topics of importance to both entrepreneurs and investors.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Angel Investing – Twelve Days of Christmas 2016

12 days of christmas: 12 Snowflakes

On the first day of Christmas
a founder shared with me:
A Balance Sheet Debt Free Continue reading

Angel Investing – Invest in Women

Investment Strategy

The election is finally behind us and I have personally moved through my four stages of grief:

  • Disbelief
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • ACTION

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:

  1. Invest in Women Entrepreneurs
  2. Help train women to become Angel Investors
  3. 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”!

Angel Investing – A Note on Notes

Business Concept: Close-up the Funding button on the keyboard and have Lime, Green color button isolate black keyboardThere are a variety of funding options for entrepreneurs to consider as they explore taking in external capital. For investors, understanding the pros and cons of these various funding options and how they fit into a company’s overall funding plan is critical. One option, a Convertible Note, is a hybrid structure that is used as a bridge to a future equity round. In addition to a stated interest rate and maturity date, Convertible Notes will have conversion terms that outline how the notes will be repaid or converted into equity. The amount of equity that a company needs to raise to trigger the conversion of the notes is referred to as the qualified equity financing. Historically, I have seen this form of funding used primarily in pre-seed rounds where the company needs to raise a small amount of capital to get to proof of concept as well as a bridge financing between a Series A and B round in order to provide the company with a bit more runway to get to the metrics required by a Series B investor. Continue reading

Angel Investing – Ringing in the New Year 2016

New Year 2016 conceptIt’s that time once again to reflect on the prior year and make some resolutions for the next. In last year’s post, I suggested that you develop your own investment strategy, take a closer look at the convertible notes in your portfolio and add some interesting reads to your list. Here are a few of my suggested resolutions for 2016: Continue reading

Angel Investing – Twelve Days of Christmas 2015

12 days of christmas: 12 Snowflakes

On the first day of Christmas
a founder shared with me:
A Term Sheet for Series B Continue reading