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16 Aug

37Angels: Closing Gender Gaps by Investing

 

Many innovations today are gradually working towards closing the gender gap in different sectors. In this series of innovations for her, we bring you 37Angels; a women-focused network, seeking to close the gender gap in through profitable investments.

37Angels is a network of 50-plus women investors with a twofold goal which includes: helping startups succeed and helping more women learn how to become investors in startup businesses. The network was founded by Angela Lee, an assistant dean at Columbia Business School and a serial entrepreneur, who is passionate about helping women.

Her top priority is getting more women to invest. She says “There are a lot of resources right now focused on helping the female entrepreneur, and there are very few folks that help the female investor.”

Angela is known for demystifying complex topics, curating opportunities, and empowering others, most especially women who intend to invest into businesses.

According to a report from the University of New Hampshire, statistics show that less than 10% of venture capitalists are women, and less than 20% of angel investors are women. This partly explains why less than 5% of Venture Capital funding goes to women-led companies.

Armed with these statistics, 37Angels was founded as network of women investors on a mission to educate early stage investors. They would not be satisfied until startup investment groups can boast as many women among their ranks as men. Closing the gender gap in investing, the women focused investment group has invested $50,000 to $200,000 in startups since 2012.

To that end, 37Angels has also introduced a programme for female investors who want to join the network. The program teaches a wide range of things including: what to look for in a pitch; how valuation works and what to do after writing a startup a check.

“For me, it’s really important to remove the asterisks of investing in women,” Angela says. “When a woman gets funded, everyone knows it’s because she’s awesome. It wasn’t because it was ‘the right thing to do.’” Besides, Lee adds, with more women investors, “I do think that more women and a more diverse type of startup will get funded.” —Michelle Goodman

 

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