I’ve been a mentor for the Pipeline Fellowship since it began, and on my trip to NYC this week I was happy to hear Natalia’s great news: the first class of women angels, 10 in all, was graduating and had invested $50,000 in a woman-owned startup.
Another $50,000 to match it had been invested by other angels. This is near and dear to me for obvious reasons: women make great entrepreneurs; and women can bring about social change. If you wuld see Natalia, who is young, beautiful, and passionate, you would share my belief that through this Fellowship she will change the pattern of women investing, and of women investing in each other.
So, as I head to the airport to go back to Phoenix, (unfortunately missing the party), here’s the story: the Pipeline Fellowship announced today that the 2011 NYC Pipeline Fellows have selected to invest US$50k in PhilanTech, marking a milestone in women investing in women for social change.
The Pipeline Fellowship also announced the launch of its alumnae network, Pipeline Angels, through which PhilanTech secured an additional US$50k investment.
PhilanTech creates innovative online tools to help organisations maximise social impact while minimising environmental impact. The PhilanTrack® online grants management system helps grantmakers and grant recipients streamline the grants administration process to focus more resources on program and service delivery, and ultimately greater social impact.
While recent studies have shown that women-led startups and companies with diverse leadership teams are more likely to be successful, only 12% of entrepreneurs who received angel investments in the first two quarters of 2011 were women, according to a report by the centre for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. By the same token, only 12% of U.S. angel investors were women, and only 5% were minorities.
The Pipeline Fellowship is shifting the gender balance in angel investing and increasing the flow of capital to for-profit social ventures. “The Pipeline Fellowship is committed to increasing diversity in the angel investing community and training a new generation of angels to invest for good,” stated Pipeline Fellowship Founder & CEO Natalia Oberti Noguera.
“Companies that create social value in addition to financial value not only create jobs, but also additional societal benefits, such as increasing resources available to underserved communities,” said Dahna Goldstein, PhilanTech’s Founder, “And companies creating value should have equal access to capital, regardless of whether they are led by men or women.”
Though Goldstein’s business model was attention-grabbing, even garnering her the honour of being selected as one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s “25 Most Promising Entrepreneurs” in 2009, investors didn’t get it enough to offer her funding. According to Goldstein, the Pipeline Fellows got it.
“Dahna is a smart, experienced entrepreneur and a dedicated social leader, who is passionate about bringing tech tools and efficiencies of business to the social sector,” observed 2011 NYC Pipeline Fellow J. Kelly Hoey.
According to 2011 NYC Pipeline Fellowship Mentor and 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women award winner Kathleen Utecht, “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy and it is vital that investors seek to make above market-rate returns and a positive impact on our society. The Pipeline Fellowship is leading the path to an improved way of investing and creating a new generation of successful women investors.”
The investment was announced at the 2011 Pipeline Fellowship Investment Announcement Reception hosted by AHAlife and keynoted by Peabody Award winning radio host, MacArthur Fellow, and urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter. Carter declared, “I want to dismantle the barriers keeping us from making ‘equality’ profitable and I’m excited to work with this community of investors to maximise the change we can leverage together.”
“We are extremely proud to collaborate with the Pipeline Fellowship to support women investing in women,” added AHAlife Founder Shauna Mei, “At AHAlife, we have been very fortunate to have several women angel investors who were instrumental in building our curated media-commerce company. AHAlife was one of the first technology startups to receive significant women angel backing and we hope to have started a major trend!”
The Pipeline Fellowship will expand to Boston this fall and is preparing for its second NYC edition.
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