On January 31st, the Angel Capital Association held its first angel investing meeting focusing solely on female angel investing here in Phoenix.  The purpose of the meeting was to educate the public on the importance of investing in women-owned businesses.  It was a powerful panel of female angel investors from across the country that flew in to share not only the statistics of the benefits of investing in other women businesses but also the speakers’ own journeys in how they became investors throughout their career span.  The speakers included Sylvia Mah from Hera Labs, Hera Angels and AdAstra incubator, Mara Babin with Golden Seeds, and Michelle Tinsley with Arizona Tech Investors.

One of the interesting data points that were shared was that 70,000 companies are funded by angel investors. These investors are critical to startups and the local economy! Angels invest in a wide variety of companies and help generate the growth of jobs and industries on a local level. It was very eye-opening to hear that the majority of funding for companies starting out really comes from angel investors, and not VC firms.  Moreover, angel investors are bringing diversity and inclusion to the table. They know that backing minorities and women-owned businesses makes for better business and better returns as they are reflective of the overall population.  These investors are starting to pool their resources in these areas that have been historically left behind.  In fact, they pointed out the fact that women are starting businesses at record numbers–in fact, at the rate of 1,000 businesses a day! Yet, they still don’t receive the funding they need compared to their male counterparts, and these panelists, along with many other investors across the country and world are working to change that trend by starting their own female-led angel investment funds and venture capital firms. Here in Phoenix, they are hoping to grow the number of female angel investors by focusing on educating women how to become an angel, and the longer term impact of investing, not only on returns, but also when it comes to job creation and leaving a legacy.  Silvia Mah, who leads a fund and incubator for women businesses owners in San Diego, stresses the importance of focusing on impact and legacy when she speaks to future angels. She shared her story of how she started dabbling in investing to starting a fund with other angels to also running an incubator focusing specifically on women with Hera Labs.  San Diego now has the full continuum to support female founders, from a coworking space designed for them, to an investment platform, to an incubator! Something that we hope we can replicate here in Phoenix!

Women are definitely organizing and changing the landscape for investments–a worldwide trend to keep an eye on! #yearofthewoman