Programs and Networks to Consider Before Making Your First Investment
Mackenzie Burnett, founder of Redspread, recently compiled a list of women angels and early-stage investors. My goal is to get more names on that list.
It may look like a big group, but according to this report The University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research estimated that women angels represented only 19.4% of the angel market in 2013. This number is on the rise, but I'd like to see this figure grow even more in the next few years, and I am determined to contribute my energy to making it happen.
I wrote this guide for aspiring women angel investors. It is a list of strategies, organizations, and resources culled from countless conversations with investor friends and colleagues I've worked with through Springboard over the last eight years. I hope the resources here are helpful for you.
Confirm You Meet the Requirements
Yes, first things first.
To be an angel investor you need to meet the criteria set by the SEC to be an "accredited investor". In short, you must have $1M in net worth excluding your primary residence or make >$200K/yr (or >$300K/yr jointly with partner) for at least the last two years.
Some good news: new legislation is expected to go into effect on May 27 which will allow individuals that make under $200K to invest a certain percentage of their salary in private companies. If that applies to you, it's not too early to start thinking about how you can dip your toe into the angel investing world.
But either way investing is about far more than just meeting the criteria. You need to make sure you are comfortable with the high risk nature of early-stage investing.
Doing some soul searching about why you want to invest, what kinds of companies you want to invest in, and what level of risk and diversification you are comfortable with will not only help set proper expectations for yourself but also provide a lens to assess which angel groups or training programs offer the right fit.
Join an Angel Network
After only a little time in the startup world, you learn that nothing is more important than the strength and quality of your relationships. The angel investing world is no different.
Angel networks will give you exposure to deals and experienced investors. You also benefit from the group's process to assess and conduct due diligence on potential investments. It brings a degree of science to the art of investing.
Below are some groups you might consider. As you do, ask yourself a few questions.
What is the process for evaluating investment opportunities?
What is the expected commitment of members?
Is their a fee?
What industries do they invest in?
What kind of time commitment should I expect?
Who are the other members and what are their professional backgrounds?
What opportunities are there for new angels to learn from experienced members?
- 37 Angels - Predominently NY based all female angel network
- 500 Women - 500 Startups' Angellist syndicate
- Angel Academe - Women angel network in UK
- ArcAngels - Women angel network in New Zealand
- Astia Angels - Global network of female and male angels
- Belle Capital USA - Nationwide angel network founded by former founders
- Broadway Angels - Predominantly west coast-based angel group of executives/VCs
- Golden Seeds - Largest angel network and fund for female and male angels
- Pipeline Fellowship - Largest angel training program with an active alumnae network
- Portfolia - Micro-fund model for experiential learning driven by successful angel investors
- Scale Investors - Women angel network in Australia
- SoGal - Global community of diverse investors in 20+ countries around the world
- Women's Capital Connection - Women angel network in Kansas City
- WOMENA- Women angel network in the Middle East
- X Squared Angels - Women angel network in Ohio
"In addition to gathering industry experts and individuals who can provide access to people and resources that you will need, I often urge women investors to form or find a group of women, specifically, with whom their values align."
- Ingrid Vanderveldt, EBW2020 (Source)
Take Part in an Angel Training Program
Springboard's founder Amy Millman always tells our entrepreneurs "Entrepreneurship is not a spectator sport." Neither is investing.
There are many training programs available to aspiring angel investors: online and offline, experiential and academic. Several even have angel networks made up of alumnae of their programs.
Take a look at the following programs as a way to learn about angel investing best practices:
- Pipeline Angels' Angel Investing Bootcamp
- Portfolia's Starter Fund
- Next Wave Ventures' Education and Training
- Female Funders' Online Angel School and Breakfast Series
- 37 Angels' Angel Investor Training
- Golden Seeds' Investor Training
- Angel Resource Institute's Women First Enterprise
- 500 Startups' Venture Capital Unlocked
- FutureAdvisors's Learn How to Angel Invest course
Get Involved in an Accelerator
Participating in an accelerator program allows you to parachute into a network of experts with a passion and interest in supporting early-stage companies.
Accelerators with a market focus on women-led companies:
- Springboard Enterprises - Global
- Upstart - Memphis, TN
- Women’s Startup Lab and Equita - Bay Area
- MergeLane - Boulder, CO
- Prosper Women Entrepreneurs - St Louis
- Women Innovating Now Lab - Babson College
- The Refinery - Connecticut
- SOAR - Research Triangle Park
- mystartupXX - UC San Diego
Accelerators that demonstrate an appreciation for diversity of thought:
- List of Health Care Accelerators
- Seed-DB Accelerator List
- f6s Accelerator List
- Angellist Accelerator List
- Where can I find a comprehensive list of startup incubators and accelerators in the US?
Learn from Experienced Investors
- Portfolia Circles - Stories about or by women investors, edited by Suzanne Andrews
- Wingpact - An upcoming book featuring stories to inspire more women investors
- Conversations with Female Angel Investors from Female FOunders
- This is What An Angel Investor Looks Like - Profiles of women angels on Women 2.0
- Quora Topic: Angel Investing
- Quora Question: How do I get started in angel investing?
- Susan McPherson on becoming an angel investor and the five things besides money you can bring to your investments: visibility, talent, connections, advice, and moral support.
- Barbara Clarke on diversifying your portfolio
- Paul Buchheit on three years of lessons learned
- Rob Go on lessons from top angel investors
- Quartz compilation of angel investing secrets
- Gabriel Weinberg on five years of lessons learned
- Dan Martell's rules for angel investing
- Frederique Robinson's How to Become an Angel Investor guide
- David Rose's book on Angel Investing
- Paul Graham's essay on angel investing
Get Press & Speaking Opportunities
Join Sarah Kunst's distribution list here: Investor speaking and press opportunities
Connect with Other Female Investors
- Mackenzie Burnett's List of Women Angels and Early Stage Investors
- Mackenzie's same list but on Twitter
- Quora List of Female Angel Investors
- Quora List of Notable Female Investors
- PlumAlley’s Digital Database of Female Investors
- TeckCocktail’s Femanomics List of 105 women investors
- Broadway Angels bio list
- 37 Angels list
- Pipeline Fellowship alumnae list
- Golden Seeds team
- #Angels team
- My Guide to Finding Women Investors
- My List of Women Investors that Blog
If you found this valuable and just want to say “hey, I’m glad you wrote this,” please consider sharing it or getting in touch. You will make my day.