What happens when five extremely smart and savvy female entrepreneurs sit down to discuss about women and impact investment? At the Tech Inclusion Conference 2015, we did just that by bringing a Women Investor Panel to the Main Stage. Together, they tackled the greatest challenge women entrepreneurs face today. How do we increase the number of women investors?
Sepideh Nasiri, Serial entrepreneur & Startup Advisor, frames the issue by asking, ”Why should we care? Why does it matter to have more women investors?”
Lesa Mitchell, former VP of Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation, now Partner at Instigating & Co., a group that delivers platform based projects around collaborative economy and open innovation, provides the contextual nature of the current investment landscape. “Women, unfortunately, don’t have the same networks that men do as entrepreneurs. The majority of women entrepreneurs are funded by a woman that is a partner at a firm. There is a high correlation between a woman being a partner, and being able to reach out, find and support other women. If we want to see more women CEOs funded, we need to see more women partners, people who actually manage money, in venture capital firms.”
Nancy Hayes, Managing Director of Golden Seeds – early-stage investment firm with a focus on women leaders – points out, “First Round Capital just issued a report that of the investments in companies with a woman as one of the founding team performed 63% better than the investments in companies of all male founding teams, so it’s good for everybody as well as women entrepreneurs.”
“The call to action is no longer to talk about it …the time now is to invest,” says Sharon Vosmek CEO of Astia, a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and promoting best-in-class women high-growth entrepreneurs.
Whether you are investment-curious or investment-serious, these industry leaders from the Women Investor Panel share the following key insights to becoming an investor:
- Get to know investors, particularly women investors and those emerging investors interested in ventures where women have a stake.
- Prioritize investment: learn how to make it part of your financial portfolio or goal.
- Redefine philanthropy: think beyond conventional means of supporting causes that matter to you and think of it as a greater means of making a social impact.
“Less than 5% of women who could be accredited investors have actually made an investment.” ~ Nancy Hayes, Managing Director of Golden Seeds.
- Increase awareness: access readily available information on what it means to be an “accredited investor.” Learn more from SCC Bulletins on Accredited Investors: investor.gov/news-alerts/investor-bulletins/investor-bulletin-accredited-investors
- Seek education. Find programs that train women to become investors. Examples of these programs include Astia, Golden Seeds, Pipeline Fellowship, 37 Angels, or the new Change Catalyst impact angel fellows program coming Spring 2016. See how the “referral” stage can be skipped when accessing angel groups with Sharon Vosmek of Astia by watching the panel video: //youtu.be/S0WWwGUBJzA. Did you know that Golden Seeds offers “office hours” to access investment information, even from Skype?
“Pipeline Fellows often go on to join larger female angel investing groups like Golden Seeds. We’re really activating women across the country, giving them these tools, teaching them how to do this. So then, they can go ahead and move on. As they are increasing in wealth and making more investments, they can join these groups that are able to inject larger amounts of cash into your start-up.” ~ Jenn Viane Riese, Angel Investor, Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women.
- Join an angel investment group. They can help you with networking, education, due diligence and industry insights beyond the traditional wisdom found in business school. They also help you get past any individual blind spots. High risk of angel investment can be mitigated with a group of investors.
- Tell success stories. Highlight and profile successful women investors and diverse companies.
- Join a community, or help develop one, to educate or raise awareness about women and investment, platforms like the Tech Inclusion Conference.
To learn more about the inspiration for this blog post and women investors from the Tech Inclusion Conference please visit this link for the “Increasing the Number of Women Investors” Panel from the Main Stage: //youtu.be/S0WWwGUBJzA
Curious about investing in women? Want to become a woman investor?
Join us for the “Change Catalysts: Investing in Women Entrepreneurs” event on October 20, 2015, tickets are available for a limited time.
Pictured above: “Increasing the Number of Women Investors” at Tech Inclusion 2015. (Left to Right): Sepideh Nasiri (Serial Entrepreneur & Startup Advisor, moderator), Sharon Vosmek (CEO, Astia), Lesa Mitchell (Partner, Instigating + Co), Nancy Hayes (Managing Director, Golden Seeds) and Jenn Viane Riese (Angel Investor, Pipeline Fellowship).