Good News Stories About ACA Members and Women-led Startups

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

There has been a decidedly female focus to a flurry of news and announcements about angels, startups and challenges for women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, disturbing accounts of sexual harassment and gender bias dominate the headlines. But there’s another tier of good news featuring women (and men) investing in and supporting women-led startups.

Many of those good news stories start with ACA members, women and men, who are actively working to eradicate gender bias, harassment and discrimination.

Helping to turn the tide are the many women who have joined the ranks of angel investors nationwide. Over the last decade, there has been a steady increase in number of women angels, some of whom focus on investing in women-owned startups. ACA now has 15 member groups focused on investing in businesses headed by women and many more that have significantly invested in women-led companies.

Take a look at some of the latest ACA members sparking good news stories in angel investing, women-led startups and more angel opportunities for everyone.

A $100 million milestone for Golden Seeds and women-led startups: Golden Seeds is one of several angel groups that focuses on investing in women-led businesses. In August 2017, it announced surpassing $100 million in total investments in women-led companies. That $100 million was invested in 143 companies. Golden Seeds estimates that these companies went on to raise over $750 million of additional capital.  

Networking to counter gender bias: Xconomy shares how angels and others in the tech startup world are addressing gender bias: Under Silicon Valley’s Rough Turf, Tunnels of Women’s Networks Spread.  One idea is to create an “honor roll” of angel groups and other investors that welcome and seek out women-led businesses.  ACA member angel groups  listed in the story included Golden Seeds, Astia Angels, Pipeline AngelsBroadway Angels, and Sofia Fund .

Wanted: More Startups and More Savvy Angel Investors:  A Forbes column by Geri Stengel highlights how women angels are changing the startup investment game. She writes that “people are more likely to invest in founders who are like them… Men invest in men.”  Now, about one in four angels are women, which corresponds to a nearly 60 percent rise in the number of female founders who were funded between 2011 and 2016. Even with this change, she writes there is a shortage of angels to support promising startups.  Our economy needs more angels.  

Investing in women-led startups: Meet Adam Quinton,  and one of the men featured in a Forbes story on men who invest in women entrepreneurs. In the last 5 years, he has invested in 15 companies, all but two of which have at least one female founder. (He declined to disclose how much money he has invested.) One of his best-known picks is The Muse, an online recruiting company founded by Kathryn Minshew and Alex Cavoulacos that he bought into in 2012. “They took it from nothing to what is a significant business, and on a good growth trajectory,” he says.  Quinton invests in women to make money.  The article notes that “research has shown that venture capital firms investing in companies that include women entrepreneurs do perform better.”

Of course, the best deals aren’t labeled male or female: Tech Coast Angels (TCA), one of the largest and most active angel networks in the world, is now syndicating a subset of the angel network's best deals. TCA screens several hundred startups each year. They are sharing some of the best opportunities via the online investment platform and ACA member AngelList. This opportunity will allow other angel networks to diversify. TCA also welcomes new or prospective angels to find a start here.  

You can see all of these stories and many others in ACA Members in the News.