Category Archives: Feminist

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 – 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”!

An open Letter to President-elect Donald Trump

Diversity Word Cloud

Dear President-elect Donald Trump,

Although you may have won the election, this is still our America. We are male and female, represent all races and ethnicities, marry whom we want and worship how we chose. You ran on a platform of both divisiveness and change; it’s time to end the hate speech and focus on positive change. Perhaps you can demonstrate your sincerity on the promise you made in your acceptance speech,

“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country”. DJT

by including individuals in your cabinet and surrounding yourself with advisors who represent the great diversity of this country and not just hateful politicians (you know who I’m talking about). Continue reading