The Pipeline Fellowship conference is an all-day event on angel investing open to the public. Panels and presentations cover topics ranging from angel investing in action to due diligence, structuring the deal, valuation, and the post-investment relationship.
2015 Bay Area Pipeline Fellowship Conference
Friday, October 9, 2015, 8:30AM – 6:00PM (PDT)
Surprised? Curious? Each year, the Pipeline Fellowship selects five to ten women in cities around the country to learn the skills of becoming an angel investor. The program includes attending monthly workshops and being mentored by seasoned male and female financiers.
The architect behind this initiative is Colombian-Italian Natalia Oberti Noguera, an unstoppable LGBT Latina who aims at “changing the faces of angel investors” in a White male-dominant industry.
“There are enough white guys investing in other white guys and I decided to change that,” she said at the Latinas Think Big™ Innovation Summit when prompted why she decided to start this women-led for profit social venture. That statement caught my attention for sure!
When I contacted Natalia for an interview, she immediately responded. “We target our potential investors through people like you who are genuinely interested in having a great conversation and sharing the message about this topic, and also through social media,” she said.
Growing up in Latin America, Natalia did not have entrepreneurial role models around her. “My father worked for the United Nations and we moved around a lot: I lived in Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Quoting Marie Wilson from The White House Project, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.”
Years later, she finally took permanent residence in New York City. “I hold a BA in Economics and Comparative Literature from Yale University –I like to say that I majored in extra-curriculars. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was being entrepreneurial,” she said.
The same way, when she meets her potential angels in training, she encourages them to become role models for other women.
“In 2011, at our first bootcamp in NYC, a woman of color approached me at the end of the session and said, ‘I was raised skeptical that women can be investors but you are right, I could be an angel!’ Those are the type of stories that keep me going. While women of color investors’ numbers are low –only 19 percent of investors are women and 4 percent are minorities–, they are not zero,” Natalia said.
She firmly believes that seeing other Latinas and women of color on the panels is a powerful message that motivates women to act. “I ‘hate’ non-profits,” she said boldly. “The perception this society has about the concept of money is different for men than for women. When a woman wants to help change the world, she starts a charity. When a man wants to do it, he builds a billion dollar business. Creating a self-sustaining venture that invests in women entrepreneurs’ projects and startups is the best way to advocate for doing well while doing good, and it should be the only way to make a profit,” Natalia assured.
For that purpose, the Pipeline Fellowship bootcamp includes three important aspects of becoming an angel investor: education, mentoring and practice. “Women who are interested in investing their money in exchange for equity in companies they believe in are helped to make the best decisions through our program,” Natalia explained. “We try to match local entrepreneurs with local investors but sometimes it is hard. We receive thousands of emails from women starting their own business who are looking to access capital but fewer are willing to step up and provide funding,” Natalia said. “Additionally, it is relatively accessible once the applicants meet the requirements,” she said. Each fellow pays $4,500 for tuition and commits to investing $5,000 toward a $50,000 investment in a start-up that meets the Pipeline Fellowship Pitch Summit criteria.
So what are you waiting for? Get your investors’ juices going and out in the real world to help other women fulfill their dreams. Latinas we tend to think that we need to keep our wealth to help our children; however, building someone else’s dream today might make that person pay it forward to our own children in the future.
After all, it takes a community of women investors to raise a successful woman entrepreneur.