The Pipeline Fellowship trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. Fellows commit to invest in a woman-led for-profit social venture in exchange for equity and a board seat at the end of the training.
Title: Managing Director
Affiliation: Golden Seeds
Describe the moment when you decided to become an angel:
I met a woman entrepreneur in a South African township who started a business and it was helping her overcome deplorable conditions to improve her life and the lives of many others—I thought this is a notion worthy of investment.
What investments have you made since graduating from the Pipeline Fellowship?
Company: DayOne Response
Founder(s): Tricia Compas-Markman*
Company: Bespoke Global
Founder(s): Gwen Carlton*, Pippa McArdle*
Founder(s): Aliza Freud*, Kitty Kolding*
What are your investment deal-breakers?
50/50 co-founder agreements. Someone has to have the final say and who that will be must be determined at the beginning, and not when the company is at a crossroad.
What types of companies do you look to invest in?
When I first started, I thought I would focus on a particular niche, but so far I’ve been drawn to very different kinds of companies. What they have in common is strong, thoughtful women at the helm.
What do you look for in an entrepreneur/founding team?
I want to see a relentless pursuit of the end goal while exhibiting flexibility and creativity to overcome the hurdles along the way.
How has your background played a role in your angel investing?
I’ve walked miles in the entrepreneur’s shoes—from the start up to the exit, and with the peaks and valleys in between. So, I have a good idea of what the entrepreneur might need, even before she knows she needs it.
One piece of advice to an angel-in-training?
Pay more attention to the founders than the business idea when evaluating an investment. Investing is a long term relationship so you’ll want to like them, work with them, and feel confident that they can execute.
One piece of advice to an entrepreneur looking for capital?
Assuming you are already leveraging your network and leaving no potential investment stone unturned, make sure you know your financial model forward, backward, sideways, and for every imaginable and unimaginable scenario.
What does impact investing mean to you?
I like the idea of going beyond the traditional investment goal of a financial return and adding the element of progress for the greater good.
How would you define a for-profit social venture?
One that effects positive and measurable social change while practicing financial sustainability.
Life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved. —Unknown
Anchovies on pizza? Absolutely.
Originally published on Pipeline Fellowship. You can see interviews with all their alumnae here.