April 23, 2024

You’re the Boss: Teaching Women to Think Like Angels

Natalia Oberti NogueraNatalia Oberti Noguera
She Owns It

The overwhelmingly male field of angel investing is about to become a bit more diverse. Ten women, including some business owners (TechCrunch has the full list), will soon learn the secrets of angel investing during the Pipeline Fund Fellowship’s inaugural six-month program for aspiring female angels. Beginning this month, the group, chosen from among 50 applicants, will attend monthly workshops on issues like due diligence and valuation, and will be paired with mentors who are seasoned male and female investors. The program, held in New York, will culminate with an investment by the group in a women-led, for-profit, socially conscious venture.

The Pipeline Fund Fellowship was founded by Natalia Oberti Noguera to address the lack of gender diversity in the world of venture capital, while also improving funding options for the types of businesses in which the fund will invest. “Our goal is to change the culture of the investment world,” she said. While other funds (such as Golden Seeds), and nonprofits (such as Springboard Enterprises) promote investment in women-led companies, Ms. Oberti Noguera, 27, said her program differs because it offers education, mentoring, and practical experience combined. Additionally, it is relatively accessible financially, requiring each fellow to pay $1,000 for the program and commit to investing $5,000 toward a $50,000 investment in a start-up that meets the fund’s specifications.

Elizabeth Crowell, who owns Sterling Place, a gift shop in Brooklyn, is among the angels-in-training. After building her business for seven years, she said she is ready for a different role and is eager to leverage her experience to help female entrepreneurs. A competitive swimmer who has coached the sport, Ms. Crowell said investing draws on elements of coaching, which she always loved. “As an investor, you’re on the sidelines to support,” she said. “It will be nice to be able to come up with ideas and not have to execute them,” she added. Although Sterling Place is not seeking capital, Ms. Crowell said, “sizing up different businesses and strategizing growth opportunities for them, may spark ideas for my own.”

While Ms. Crowell, 40, focuses on the program, her husband and business partner will handle more day-to-day responsibilities at the store. The couple, who have two young children, often liken their business to a third child. Ms. Crowell, who believes she will continue to invest after the program ends, said she suspects the companies in which she becomes involved will not occupy “the same emotional space.” One thing she said she knows for sure: “I won’t be showing up at the businesses every day, dealing with leaking roofs, sanitation permits and overflowing toilets.”

Another fellow, Erica Frontiero, 33, is a senior vice president in capital markets for GE Capital. She said that, while she spends her workdays raising funds for large companies, she lacks the confidence to invest in the start-ups of friends and friends-of-friends who seek her guidance. “I’d like to understand how the businesses I work with on a daily basis got where they are,” she said.

Ms. Frontiero sees a lack of resources for female entrepreneurs who wonder, for example, what is the right percentage of company ownership to give up, or, what is the likelihood that an investor will ask for a certain percentage. Despite the large number of women who are starting businesses, she said, “we still aren’t really talking about finances and investing with each other.”

In the months to come, we will follow the fellows as they become angels and decide where to invest their pooled resources.

You can follow Adriana Gardella on Twitter.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=3743b8af15e22fc9898ba8318dd874f3

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