Amanda Robson, a principal at Cowboy Ventures, is seeking to alter that by forming an informal network of women and non-binary people who have the financial wherewithal to write checks but have not been able to readily transition into this sort of investing for whatever reason. Women and non-binary persons, according to Robson, have shut out of angel investment. “I had a few friends who had recently gotten VP-level at various firms, and they had an interest in angel investing, and they had the wherewithal to do so at the time, but they didn’t have access,” she explained.
In comparison, guys in a comparable situation did not. “They saw that a lot of their male peers who were also executives or founders were getting pinged their VC buddies to join deals, and they weren’t receiving the same treatment,” she added. Robson says she was taken aback by this at first since her business tries to populate the cap table with a varied group of angels. She discovered that this was not the case at all businesses, but it was not necessarily due to a lack of desire more diversify. It was also a difficulty with sourcing. They were at a loss for what to search.
Therefore, if one group wanting to invest and another were searching for a broad set of investors, it appeared that something might do to close the gap. “I just found myself in a unique position,” she explained, “having been in venture for almost six years and having a bunch of VC relationships as a result of that, and then having access to awesome female [and non-binary] founders and operators that I could kind of bridge that gap in a pretty seamless way.”
Her situation is not unusual, Diana Murakhovskaya general partner and co-founder of the Houston-based Artemis Fund, told TechCrunch recently that she and her co-founders frequented networking events in the Houston region prior to opening the fund in 2019 and noted a lack of women. To figure out why she began throwing dinner parties. “‘Where are all the women?’ I said. […] Therefore, we started hosting meals to get women together and ask them why they are not investing and what they are doing instead. And they were all businesswomen [with the financial means to invest].” Murakhovskaya, like Robson, discovered that these women had never approached to invest and decided to launch a company to alter that.
Robson, on the other hand, adopted a different strategy. She has a day job, but she knew she could make some introductions if the situation called for it. “As a result, I’m the link between the two [groups].” “I have a database with angel investors and other VC contacts, as well as a deal flow that I see coming from other angel syndicate groups or opportunities that Cowboy can’t invest in because we’re conflicted out,” she explained. Robson built this database of people on her own, many of whom she knew before or found about when she put out a call on Twitter for female and non-binary angel investors. “I talked to them and got a feel of their background and interests, as well as if they actually understood the dangers and dynamics of angel investing, and I added people that way.”