More and more women are investing in early-stage ventures as angel investors. According to the Center for Venture Research, in 2016 women angels represented 26.2% of the angel market, up from 25.3% in 2015. In this post, originally written in 2013 and updated for current perspectives, I address some of the assumptions about women angel investors.
Women are risk-aware, not risk-averse
Let’s de-bunk the myth that women tend to be risk adverse. Women take risks. They start businesses, they explore and experiment. They re-locate half-way around the world and back again. They travel, they are inquisitive, and they are curious about the world around us. Women make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Women are risk-aware and they take risks. Perhaps in some circumstances, women take different risks compared to men. This level of diversity is valuable to our business ecosystems.
Women are also successful in math, engineering and as tech entrepreneurs
Some women are numerate AND enjoy story-telling, communicating, and connecting. Some women are the higher income earners in their households. Some women are feisty, independent thinkers, confidence, and don’t care too much about what other people think of them. Many women excel in their respective fields, be it mathematics, technology, finance, marketing, education, science, engineering, or the creative sector. Increasingly there are more and more successful women entrepreneurs, but there are other women with the wealth of experience and they are not only tech entrepreneurs.
Women on average earn less, but that doesn’t mean they create less value.
Historically, many women have earned less than their male counterparts – some 77 cents on the dollar. What isn’t captured in this metric is the amount of value created by women in their many endeavours – investing in their families, neighbours, communities, and in self-fulfilment.
Why are there not more well known female angel investors?
Female angels may be more private about their investing activity. Maybe they are less interested in attracting headlines and attention, resulting in the general public not hearing about female angel investors as often.
It could be that women are clubbing together to invest, resulting in fewer single investors that stand out. Within Pique Fund, we currently have 29 investors, of which 24 are women, representing 80% of the fund’s capital. It could be that many women – although of considerable wealth and expertise – do not meet accredited investor definitions and are therefore structurally excluded from angel investing.
Women may be seeking investment opportunities that provide multiple outcomes (economic, social, environmental) and that the investments they do make are not regularly reported in the media at the moment. Women might not be amassing and accumulating their wealth with a single-minded goal and then investing or giving back. It could be that they are making small investments in others and in their communities and so any single investment does not capture the attention of the general venture community.
I don’t believe there are fewer well-known female angel investors because women are risk adverse and poorer in math and technology skills. I believe women investors make decisions differently and are showing up in the investment sector differently. I do believe we could benefit from more women actively and visibly participating as investors – in a way that works to women’s strengths, is appealing and attractive to women, and makes room for different definitions of value and success. We’d have more diverse investment decisions and a more diverse economic environment – diversity of perspectives is critical to a healthy, thriving economy.
For more impact investing resources and tools, check out Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.
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