I recently embarked on a project a bit different from Down-to-Earth Finance. While it shares the mission of empowering women through financial knowledge and success, the platform has changed. I applied for and was accepted to the Pipeline Fellowship.This group trains women to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. Our goal is two-fold:
1. Invest in a woman-owned business
2. Pick a business that is socially conscious
What is Angel Investing?
Only 12% of angel investors are women and only 5% are minorities. This means the number of women-owned companies that are getting funded are minute! I’m setting out to personally change those numbers! Average angel investment is $50,000 vs. $1,000,000 of venture capital investment. Angel investing is for businesses that have just started and probably raised a minimum amount of funds from friends and family. It isn’t ready for a venture capital investment because it could dilute the equity of the owners and too much capital to start could force the company not to grow organically and strategically (remember the Dot-Com era of late 90’s?).
Susan Preston, CALCEF Angel Fund, previously Entrepreneur in Residence with Kaufman Foundation, gave an exceptional immersion presentation into angel investing at our first meeting. Her 20+ years of experience and non-condescending manner taught me so much in a short period of time. Her commitment to women owned businesses, socially responsible investing and ongoing education makes her a wealth of knowledge. In a few short hours, she covered the ins and out of angel investing, advantage of investing in a group or network (similar to buying a mutual fund versus an individual stock) and how to start rating deals.
Why did I embark on this venture? Learn Something New, Expand My Entrepreneurship and Give Back.
Learn Something New
I love my work with Down-to-Earth Finance. I have become a nationally recognized expert in Personal Finance and truly feel that I am helping my clients – tremendously. With that being said, when I learned about Pipeline Fellowship, my initial thought was excitement about learning a new skill and nascent part of the market. At our first day conference, I felt so energized learning about the intricacies and practical application of angel investing.
Expand My Entrepreneurship
I love being an entrepreneur. Both my parents (and grandparents and stepparents…) are entrepreneurs. While I worked in corporate America nearly 10 years and thrived professionally, I love the flexibility and unbounded ceiling of potential success that comes with working for myself. Working with the Pipeline Fellowship seemed a natural way to give back to entrepreneurs and share my 10 years of experience. It also affords me a way to learn about new businesses and follow trends.
I was raised with the concept of “Tzedakah” – Hebrew word for charity but also the practice of always giving back to your community and those less fortunate than us. Since I started working at the age of 16, I have always given a portion of my income to those less fortunate. The last few years, I started getting involved with charities that were more aligned with my personal beliefs – it has been very rewarding. I loved that Pipeline Fellowship was dedicated to businesses that are socially conscious, because it lets me be personally involved in creating FOR PROFIT businesses that combine bottom line profits with helping sustain our community.
I will keep you apprised! Stay tuned for more about my journey and experience with Pipeline Fellowship and Angel Investing.