By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0) Editor's note: Christina Brodbeck will a judge on February 14, 2012 at the Women 2.0 PITCH Conference - get your ticket now! Ezebis's Pemo Theodore interviewed Christina Brodbeck about angel investing and startups. The full interview is on Ezebis but we've extracted the parts about angel investing, women-led ventures and how to get into an accelerator program below:
Ezebis: I know that you’re an investor as well as an entrepreneur. Could you tell me what you’re interested in investing? What are the businesses that fascinate you? Christina Brodbeck: Because I’m an angel investor instead of an institutional investor, a lot of it is what personally interests me. Instead of "oh this is going to get me a huge return", the areas I’m particularly interested in are in mobile because I have a background in mobile UI. Also, I'm interested in things that solve email problems, I’m really interested in that, and productivity and utility tools. Also, things that appeal to a female consumer demographic.
Ezebis: Great, and have you invested in many female founded businesses? Christina Brodbeck: Yeah I have, probably at least 3-4 of the 15 companies I’ve invested in.
Ezebis: Great. I guess if you’re an angel investor, you obviously help the founders get their business going as well as the actual money that you invest. Christina Brodbeck: Yes, since I don’t invest a large amount, I’m a smaller angel investor. A lot of what I do is try and give back in terms of time. Since my background is UX and UI, most of the time I spend with companies is helping them with that.
Ezebis: Fabulous. Now something that I get quite a few emails from female founders is that they’re interested in how to get involved in 500 Startups incubator. I know that you’re one of the mentors. I wondered if you’ve got any tips for female founders who are interested in that? Christina Brodbeck: Yes, I think honestly a lot of it (and this doesn’t just apply to 500 Startups, also just to incubators or anyone in general) is persistence and knocking on a lot of doors. I’d say the best way to get in touch with Dave or any of the people who are partners there is to go through the mentors. Try and establish a relationship with them. Maybe look them up on the mentor’s page and try & start a conversation with somebody who has either invested in, mentored or advised or started a company possibly in the similar demographic as your own. Just start a conversation with them. Then hopefully something will develop into an introduction.
Ezebis: As you said research really helps because then you can see whether or not they would be female founder friendly. Christina Brodbeck: Right, exactly and as a whole 500 Startups is very female founder friendly. So you’re starting in a good place.
Ezebis: Fabulous, you don’t have to jump any hurdles. Christina Brodbeck: Right exactly.
Ezebis: I know I’ve read in the past a couple of articles that have either mentioned you or you’ve actually written about women and startups. I just wondered if you’ve noticed any differences for female founders in the last couple of years. Christina Brodbeck: I think now people are recognizing that a lot of spending and a lot of the consumption and the time that is being spent online is done by female consumers. So I think now there is a shift where investors are at least taking note of companies that are appealing to that demographic and they’re willing to put more money into them. I think the next step, the step beyond that is, let’s invest in more female founders so they can start more companies.
Ezebis: I just read, I think yesterday, that there’s a female venture capitalist firm just opened and has just invested in a female founded company. Gee even in a year, I’ve seen massive, massive change of consciousness around it. Christina Brodbeck: Yes it’s really cool, it’s awesome.
Ezebis: Thank you