On June 23, 2016, we had the delight of hosting Valentina Vitols for our Hera Fund Wingpact Conversation. Monthly Hera Fund Wingpact Conversations are convened by Silvia Mah, Founder of Hera Fund and Hera Labs, and Suzanne Andrews, Founding Partner of Wingpact.
Valentina Vitols is a Latina angel investor, a Pipeline Angels member, co-founder of the Seattle Women’s Impact Fund, and active in her Seattle innovation ecosystem. She actively seeks out Latina women to bring into her community of angel investors.
Valentina shared with us about two topics that she is passionate about – activating Latina angel investors, and developing deal flow – both areas that rely heavily on relationship-building.
Both Silvia and Valentina are from Venezuela, are angel investors who support women entrepreneurs, and are passionate about finding more Latinas to become part of this movement.
Latina Women Make Great Angel Investors
These observations from Valentina’s and Silvia’s personal experiences as active members of their communities explain this major takeaway from our discussion, that Latina women in general are especially well-suited to be angel investors.
First, Latinas tend to enjoy building relationships, and they are good at it! Networking, meeting new people, and talking with them about their interests comes naturally. Women actively share deals, and the process of making of meaningful connections between entrepreneurs and other investors is very satisfying.
Secondly, Latinas are currently becoming more active and interested in investment decision-making. Latinas tend to make safe, structured investments, and at the same time, they are fearless. With education about the process and the community benefits, many would enjoy the enriching experience of a new kind of investing.
Latinas are also very generous as shown by their commitment to philanthropy. Supporting other women is near and dear to their hearts. Angel investing involves a more personal relationship than other kinds of investing. We have the opportunity to develop warm, personal relationships with entrepreneurs and activate our nurturing sides. Valentina finds she is always learning, having fun, and being enriched by the entrepreneurs she meets.
Valentina observes a paradigm shift in how women are investing, in ways that express our values and lifestyle needs. We are supporting companies that are creating new structures that meet the needs of how women need to work. For example, many of our startups provide freelance jobs, which work well for moms juggling multiple responsibilities.
How to get more Latina women involved in angel investing
In general, Latinas are especially relationship-focused so networking and word-of-mouth is a great way to bring women in. Latina communities are scattered – we need to find and educate them about the opportunities and benefits of angel investing. Latina women qualified to be angel investors are out there. A particular group of Latinas ripe for angel investing is women ready to come back to the work force, and looking for meaningful, high-impact work. When women understand the positive social impact of angel investing, they will be interested. Silvia says, “If you are supporting your community with philanthropy already, why not find a Latina entrepreneur to invest in?” Connecting potential Latina investors with Latina entrepreneurs is another way to inspire women to get involved in angel investing.
Reaching out to the media is effective, observed Valentina. There is a lot of information available for women about becoming entrepreneurs but not much for women who might be interested in investing. (Check out Wingpact’s new book, Impact With Wings, which was written to show women readers why angel investing could be empowering and satisfying for them.)
Valentina expressed her dream that there could be a class of new angel investors who are all Latina, like the recent Pipeline Angels cohort in Atlanta that was all African-American.
Deal Flow Comes Naturally to Latinas
Valentina said finding potential companies to invest in is one of her favorite parts of angel investing. She gets to network, talk to a lot of people, see their excitement, and talk with them a lot about what they care about.
Silvia and Valentina advise entrepreneurs who are looking to become part of investors’ deal flow to take advantage of opportunities to go meet angel investors. Both Hera Fund and Valentina offer regular open hours for any entrepreneur who wants to come and connect.
Valentina closed our conversation by encouraging women to think about angel investing, no matter what your background is. There is a need for your expertise, and some entrepreneur will definitely benefit from what you bring. Valentina offered to make herself available to any Latina women who would like to connect with her about angel investing.
This was a very rich conversation, with only the briefest highlights reported here. Watch the full session on YouTube.
Attend the Hera Venture Summit to learn more about angel investing and connect with women angels. There will be a number of Latina women angels attending, many from Tijuana. Sept 17, 8:30am-7pm, at the University of San Diego. Register here.
Come meet the authors at the Impact With Wings San Diego launch. This historic book is the first for women about angel investing. August 17.
Watch for the Fast Pitch in preparation for the Hera Venture Summit.
Let’s keep on investing and building bridges!
Also published on Wingpact’s Blog, Soar Higher.