This Is What An Angel Investor Looks Like - Erica Frontiero

ericafronteroheadshotrtg.jpg

Women 2.0 profiles women (from angel investors to venture capitalists) who invest in women. By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

15% of angel investors are women and 11% of investment partners at venture capital firms are women. Women investors are more apt to be directly connected to and able to attract female-led ventures, and investors invest in women where there are women to be found.

Let's increase the pipeline of women angel investors and venture capitalists. From the Pipeline Fellowship which trains women philanthropists to become angel investors to Golden Seeds's investor training for future angels, there are multiple ways to onramp investors. Also, AngelList could use more active women angel investors on there - get visible and connect with the early-stage women entrepreneurs who are seeking investment!

We at Women 2.0 profile women - from angel investors to venture capitalists - who invest in women with the hopes of clarifying the role of and identifying women who invest in women.

This week, we talk to finance guru Erica Frontiero. As she told Forbes a few years ago:

"My friends and I have begun blocking one hour a week for personal finance... not simply balancing our checkbooks, but actually researching or participating in a new investment, analyzing budgets and sharing ideas. It makes it a little more interesting, and by scheduling this time, less overwhelming."

Now a graduate of the Pipeline Fellowship, Erica has diversified her investment portfolio by personally investing in women-led early-stage startups!

Meet Angel Investor Erica Frontiero

How and why did you decide to become an angel investor? "I find entrepreneurs to be energizing - their creativity, passion and commitment to change and improvement are contagious. After going through the Pipeline Fellowship, I became more confident in making these types of investment decisions; I knew I had the right tools, mindset, and rationale."

What investments have you made since graduating from the Pipeline Fellowship?

Company: PhilanTech Founder(s): Dahna Goldstein*

Company: Blackbird Vineyards Founder(s): Michael Polenske

*Woman founder!

Range of initial investments? "N/A"

What are your investment dealbreakers? "Inflexible management teams with unscalable ideas."

What types of companies do you want to invest in? "Ideally, game-changing, technologically forward and adaptive businesses that place an importance on their legacy but also straightforward concepts that just make sense."

How has your background played (or not) a role in your angel investing? "I work in finance, so it has been helpful, but the metrics are very different. Startups are essentially prequels of the businesses I finance on a daily basis. With startups, you have to place more emphasis on the qualitative data like scalability, management and gut instinct because quantitative metrics like sales and profitability aren’t always there."

One piece of advice to an angel-in-training? "Give yourself an amount of money that you can afford to potentially lose (angel investing is generally higher risk and longer term than public equity investments) and go for it, but also be realistic in your demands on the entrepreneur relative to the size of your investment."

One piece of advice to entrepreneurs looking for capital? "Don’t take the fundraising process personally. You are asking people for money, they have a variety of places they can put it, as a result they are likely going to have a number of questions to help them to understand your business. If they are taking the time to speak with you, they are interested in potentially investing, so be prepared, realistic, and forthright with your answers. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification so you can answer the question they asked instead of seemingly avoiding it, and tell them why they should invest; make the consideration easy for them."

What does impact investing mean to you? "The three Ps - people, profit and the planet - are increasingly more connected today than ever before. To be successful, businesses have to be focused on the means and the ends simultaneously. They must be socially responsible, focused on what they do, how they do it, and what they leave behind; that is also true of investors."

Favorite quote? "Pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee to a personal failure." - Bill Clinton

Random fact? "I eat hot sauce on just about anything. I even keep a bottle at my desk."

Investor Erica Frontiero graduated from the Pipeline Fellowship. Apply to the Pipeline Fellowship and help change the face of angel investing! Applications are currently being reviewed on a rolling basis for the 2012 Fall Bay Area and Los Angeles programs.The Pipeline Fellowship trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. Fellows commit to invest in a woman-led for-profit social venture in exchange for equity and a board seat at the end of the training.

How can we get more women investing in other women's growth businesses? Let us know in the comments!

Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the "+1" for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.