By Marya Stark (Co-Founder & Board Chair, Emerge America)
Women entrepreneurs get approximately 15% of angel investments and also represent 15% of angels. Likewise, women entrepeneurs receive 6-10% of venture investments and represent 7% of venture capital investors. Guess what? We need more women investors.
Last fall, I decided to explore angel investing because I love ideas that are scalable and I wanted to invest in early stage companies. I told a few people and was surprised at how quickly the introductions to entrepreneurs started flowing in. This is one of the advantages of living in the San Francisco area, which has an incredibly energetic and welcoming angel ecosystem. Just do it.
How to start generating deal flow and learn about the investor ecosystem
- Tell your friends and colleagues. You’ll quickly start getting referrals to entrepreneurs.
- Join an angel group. It’s wise to co-invest with other angel investors, particularly at the onset. Angel groups will provide you with deal flow and you’ll benefit from the breadth of knowledge of the other members and joint due diligence and term sheets. An angel group with a focus on women entrepreneurs is Golden Seeds.
- Join AngelList. Join the list of angel investors at AngelList to create a profile of your investment criteria and search through investment opportunities.
- Read as much as you can. Start with Fred Wilson’s blog and Paul Graham’s essays. These sources will lead you through many important discussions and to tons of resources and contacts. Be sure to read the comment section on Fred Wilson’s blog, as entrepreneurs and investors talk through lots of the ideas of the day.
- Take a class. I took a phenomenal class at Stanford taught by Carols Sands called “Angel Investing for the Serious Investor”, which covers selecting companies, the angel ecosystem, due diligence, board issues and how to get your money out. She may be offer this class again in 2012.
About the guest blogger: Marya Stark is Co-Founder and Board Chair of Emerge America, the premier national training program for women Democrats. She is a Principal at Allegory, a corporate leadership and communications training company. She is also an angel investor, with a focus on the consumer Internet, particularly opportunities that exploit women’s dominant consumption and social patterns. Marya blogs at www.maryastark.com. Follow her on Twitter at @maryastark.