At Pique Fund, we are always thinking about how we can serve our entrepreneurs better. Pique Fund is an inclusive angel fund that has so far invested in seven women-founded technology ventures. When we invest in an early-stage company, it is typically in their early or late seed round. we invest alongside other angel investors or seed funds, usually after a startup has already raised some friends and family investment. However, we invest more than just money. Pique is an active investor and in early-stage investing, helping our portfolio companies grow and succeed means rolling up our sleeves.

We provide advice and resources to our portfolio companies to help them grow and succeed. Most recently, that meant hosting Pique’s first CEO Mini-Summit. We invited Paul Moore, M&A advisor from Smythe Advisory to speak our CEOs about preparing for exit and trade acquisitions. We had time for our CEOs to speak with each other and help each other as peers. We left the office environment and continued the conversation over dinner, which proved to be very valuable. Through the CEO Mini-Summit, Pique was able to provide connection, resources for managing change and making decisions to our CEOs. These three things are all Essential Resources, part of Integrated Investing‘s Access to Essential Resources.

Here’s what I learned from hosting Pique’s CEO Mini-Summit:

  • Connection. Pique Fund’s portfolio companies are all at slightly different stages, experiencing different challenges, and growing at different rates, yet there is so much value in connecting with peers, especially as it can get lonely at the top. Our CEOs found it helpful connecting with others outside of their respective industries and being able to speak candidly about opportunities and challenges they faced.
  • Managing change. There was an opportunity for each CEO around the table to present an “ask” to the group and receive offers of help (thanks to Alex Greenhill, CEO Careteam, for the reminder to do this!) Asks and offers enabled our CEOs to access resources to help them manage and lead change in their ventures.
  • Making decisions. In the workshop portion of the mini-summit, our CEOs gained access to new information to help make decisions – in this case about exits and acquisitions.
  • Getting out of the work environment and shifting our surroundings to a restaurant setting for dinner was an important feature. It was a more relaxed environment for candid conversation and connecting as peers.
  • But getting away from the office, while you’re busy building a business can be challenging. Surprisingly, one of the suggestions was to host the summit on a Saturday.

It wasn’t the first time Pique hosted an event for peers to get together and help each other. In the summer of 2014, before Pique Fund launched with its first close, we hosted a peer capital raising event. The feedback then was, “we should do more of this!”

And in February, I attended the Female Founders Conference hosted by Y Combinator in Seattle. There was a capital raising panel featuring funded entrepreneurs rather than investors. It changed my perspective. Yes, it is helpful hearing from investors about how they make investment decisions and what they look for, but entrepreneurs need to hear from other entrepreneurs about their capital raising successes and challenges. Learning from peers can be so powerful and inspiring.

Pique hosts an annual event for its investors and as Pique grows and we continue to invest in more entrepreneurs and ventures, we hope to host more events for our portfolio companies as well.

Featured image: Left to right (back): Catherine Dahl, CEO Beanworks, Dr. Alexandra Greenhill, CEO MyBestHelper and Careteam, Jennifer Li, CEO MuseFind.
Left to right (seated): Tania Lo, Managing Director, Tandem Accounting Group and Pique Fund investor, Bonnie Foley-Wong, Pique Ventures and Pique Fund, Jessica Pautsch, CEO FoodMesh.

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For more impact investing resources and tools that prepare you to be a helpful and impactful investor, buy Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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