An idea for a fund
Over the last year I have spent more time talking to interesting women about a variety of topics. What kind of work they do, their companies, their ideas, their families, how to fund more women entrepreneurs, how be more transparent about our lives to help the next generation, etc.
One of the many topics is how to connect more women angels, like myself. I certainly have a small handful of people that I show businesses to that come across my desk. I am curious what they might think and perhaps if we would invest together. Also, it helps when doing diligence. Regardless of those conversations, there is a lot of singular focus and there is something to said for group that is focused on the same thing, like a company.
I have been thinking about what a womans fund would look like for a while. I have investments in tech based companies but I also have investments in companies that for lack of a better description are brick and mortar models. Certainly the brick and mortar models use tech but their businesses only use it because it helps them expand and everyone must have a social media/site as part of their business these days.
Here is my idea. 50% of the capital raised would go to tech related businesses. Tech related is a broad topic so I define it as a business that uses tech as a platform to create their business and without the technology piece, they wouldn't be in business. I have already invested in companies like that such as Food52, Red Stamp, Catch-a-Fire, Curbed/Eater/Racked, Nest.io, Editd, Edition01 and DailyWorth. Btw, except for Curbed Media, all of these companies were started by women entrepreneurs and most of them have a balance of women and men at the top of the company. To me, that makes for a much better organization.
The other 50% would go towards more brick and mortar operations. Those term sheets are much different. I would set up a group of advisors around these businesses to help insure their success. Where in the tech world you generally have multiple investors that can give advice and help the entrepreneurs grow their company, in the brick and mortar not so much. There are a few models in the non-profit world where money has been given to women to start their own businesses and there is a path that they follow that helps the entrepreneur avoid many pitfalls.
Those businesses, again started by women entrepreneurs, have a difficult time get funding. Think of a woman in a community who is interested in a business where she provides all the sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants, etc. to all the local schools in the area. A bank is not interested in funding someone like that but perhaps we would.
If we could come up with something where more women are getting funded to create companies that could grow in range from $10M to $100M that are evenly balanced between men and women at the top and provide jobs opportunites for people who have chosen to stay home and want to work hours that work with their life style or want to re-enter the work place, the impact in the economy and communities could be significant.
Not saying I am doing this but am just thinking outloud.