Women-Led: The Underserved Investment Opportunity
Companies that are led by women or have diverse teams are shown to outperform those without women on the team, and yet private investments in these companies is far below what would be expected. Investors maintain that their decisions have nothing to do with the gender of the CEO. Less than 15% of venture investments are made in companies with a woman founder and/or CEO, yet according to the SBA women own about 50 percent of all businesses. There are many studies and impressive statistics to show the career and entrepreneurial potential of women indicating that they are an underserved business opportunity for investors. In 2000, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor recommended increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurship as a necessity for long-term economic prosperity. Three investors who have 'made a market' in investing in women-led businesses reveal their rationale and ROI.
Lucas Point Ventures
Adam is an Active Angel Investor, Start Up Advisor and Board Member. Since 2011 he has invested in 8 early stage companies with a women founder or co-founder - indeed all 8 currently have rock star women CEOs - Rapt Media, VenueBook, The Muse, Snaps, Nopsec, Thrive Metrics, EpiEP, Consensus Point. He recently joined one of them, Nopsec, as CFO!
He is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University SIPA and, in the not for profit space, a Board member at the Center for Talent Innovation and International House New York.
Adam is a fully recovered investment banker having previously been a #1 ranked "sell side" investment research analyst and manager based in London, Singapore and most recently New York.
Joshua Henderson is the Vice President of Springboard Enterprises (www.sb.co), a non-profit organization that supports women entrepreneurs in life sciences and technology. Since its inception, Springboard has accelerated 537 women-led companies, which encompass 10 IPOs, $6.2 billion raised and tens of thousands of jobs created. Joshua’s expertise lies is in building, maintaining and expanding relationships with and within entrepreneurial ecosystems. In Joshua’s role, he oversees Springboard's programs and leads their strategic initiatives, which are designed to create new business opportunities, partnerships, and growth for the women entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts in the global Springboard expert network. Joshua joined Springboard as the Director of Programming in 2008, where Joshua led the process to source, evaluate, select and coach over 150 high-growth, women-led companies in healthcare, life sciences and technology as they sought access to the human and financial capital needed to scale. Joshua formed Springboard's 50-person Life Science Council and is also the Geek-in-Residence at Springboard where he leverages technology to streamline and augment the organization’s operational capabilities. Prior to Springboard, Joshua founded and chaired Georgetown University’s Business Plan Competition (now Hoya Challenge) and helped spark an entrepreneurial movement at the University, where he graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and English.
BELLE Capital USA
Ms. Flanagan is one of the Managers of the General Partner and Managing Direct of BELLE Capital USA, LP. As SCIO Corp's chief executive officer, Ms. Flanagan has more than 25 years experience in founding and operating technology companies. She is also a co-founder and managing director of the Phenomenelle Angels Fund , LP and BELLE Capital LP. Before founding SCIO Corp, Ms. Flanagan co-founded WebWare Corp, a pioneer in creating the digital asset management market, and served as WebWare's chairman and chief executive officer for seven years, where she raised approximately $20 million in equity capital. WebWare, one of the first Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, was acquired in 2003. Prior to WebWare, Ms. Flanagan co-founded four technology companies and consulted for high technology leaders including Apple, Atari, HP, IBM, Microsoft, NeXT, Texas Instruments and Xerox. Ms. Flanagan is a board member and alumna of Springboard Enterprises.
Trish Costello is CEO & Founder of Portfolia, which engages opinion leaders and
consumers as investors and market-makers around entrepreneurial companies. With a
subtle focus on women, Portfolia’s innovative platform enables individuals and affinity
groups to bring both their money and robust social networks to the companies, teams
and products they want to see succeed in the marketplace.
Trish is also CEO Emeritus of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, the Silicon Valley-based
global institute that educates, prepares and networks emerging leaders in venture
capital, which she co-founded and led for 10+ years. Kauffman Fellows operate at 300
venture capital and corporate venture groups in 50 countries on 6 continents, and
collectively deploy $188B globally. Costello served as Founding President of CVE
Capital Corp, a holding company affiliated with a $780 million Fund of Funds created to
endow the Kauffman Fellows Program.
Costello was on the startup team of the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship
Center, where she also directed its efforts to accelerate high potential women
entrepreneurs. She played a leading role in obtaining greater equity investments in
women’s businesses and in funding initiatives supporting high-growth women
entrepreneurs, including Springboard Enterprises. Trish served as the Director of the
Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College, rated #1 for
entrepreneurship by US News and World Report.
Costello writes and speaks globally on entrepreneurship, venture capital and women’s
high-growth entrepreneurship, keynoting events at the OECD and the World
Entrepreneur’s Forum. She leads the National Science Foundation Sub-Committee on
Commercialization and has held advisory/board positions with Springboard, National
Venture Capital Association, the SBA and various start-ups.