When you think of angel investors or angel networks, you probably picture older men — retired entrepreneurs ready to invest their money in new startups. But America’s startup entrepreneurs are a diverse bunch — and to reflect that, several angel networks have sprung up to increase the participation of women in angel investing, both as investors and as recipients.
Here’s a look at three women-focused angel networks. Who knows? Whether you’re male or female, one of them just could be your next funding source.
This angel investment group consists of world-class investors and executives with one thing in common: They all happen to be women. Specializing in information technology (although they do invest in other opportunities from time to time), these angels have more to offer than just their bank accounts: All of them either are or have been general partners in venture capital firms or senior executives in top technology companies. As such, they’re experts in strategy, management, fundraising, recruiting and more, and serve as advisers and sounding boards for the management of the companies in which they invest. “Relationships matter to us,” is how Broadway Angels describes their approach. Although many of the companies they invest in are women-led, they’re definitely open to all types of companies. Learn more about Broadway Angels.
37 Angels is a network of 50-plus women investors with a twofold goal: help startups succeed and help more women learn how to become investors in startup businesses. This angel network invests primarily in technology startups, although it is open to other types of businesses, and invests in both men- and women-led businesses. Companies that successfully apply to 37 Angels are typically valued at $2 million-$6 million, and investments are typically $50,000-$250,000. Here’s how it works: The application process begins with an online application via Gust. Every two months, eight companies are chosen (from some 400-plus that apply online) to pitch to 37 Angels’ network of investors. The next pitch date is June 24 in New York City. Learn more about 37 Angels.
Unlike the other two angel networks, Golden Seeds does focus on women-led businesses, primarily with female founders or CEOs — although they will also consider startups with women in other C-level roles. With more than 275 members (both men and women), this is one of the most active angel networks out there. Since it was founded in 2005 by a woman investor after a successful Wall Street career, Golden Seeds has invested over $80 million in more than 76 women-led companies. This angel network’s approach is “profit with principles,” and the group seeks high-potential businesses that also have the potential to become gender-diverse companies. The application process starts with multiple pitch presentations and typically takes about 12 weeks. Learn more about Golden Seeds.
In addition to capital, all three of the angel investors’ websites provide resources and education for would-be angel investors and/or entrepreneurs, making them worth a visit even if you’re not looking for an angel right now.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.