As we were preparing the release of our latest study on the world of angel investing and access to finance, we shared our results with entrepreneurs, angel investors and consultants based in the United States, France and Australia, asking them for comments. Below you’ll find the interview we conducted with Kelly Hoey – reposted here in its entirety.
Kelly Hoey is a strategist, startup advisor and angel investor based in New York City. She is the CMO of the startup Cuurio and in 2011, co-founded Women Innovate Mobile, a startup accelerator focused on investing in female-founded mobile ventures.
Are you surprised by these numbers?
No. Not surprised by the numbers. Mildly amused as I thought the numbers would be worse.
What has been your experience as an entrepreneur while approaching angel investors?
I have been overwhelming supported in my activities in tech by investors who have become mentors, advisors and friends. And yes, they have committed to investing. My experience has been exceptional in that there is a lot of diversity in my circle of angel investors; however, overwhelming the “get it done” support for me has come from men.
Do you think gender plays a role in decisions to invest in a company?
Yes and no. If an investor cannot look beyond the gender of the founder to see the value of the investment, they deserve to lose a good investment.
Do you think that the gender pay gap has an influence in the gender gap in angel investing? If so, how?
There may be a correlation in the sense that if it is more difficult for women to accumulate wealth through traditional employment channels, they may be more cautious to “gamble” it on highly risky alternative investments. A paradox, as those investments may generate the financial security a woman is looking for. And ironic, as women over 40 are the wealthiest generation in human history – in the U.S. women account for over 50% of stock ownership and control 60% of all personal wealth.
What can be done to improve these numbers, leading to more gender balance?
Women who qualify as accredited investors need to get off the investment sidelines and start investing in early-stage ventures. In the U.S. women applaud themselves for controlling or influencing approximately $7 trillion in household and business purchasing decisions. But if we’re not intentional in directing that spending power toward effecting the change we want to see in the business world, why the applause?
With all the recent awareness regarding sexism in Silicon Valley, have you noticed any improvements for women in the world of technology and angel investing?
Accepting the risks (i.e. likelihood of not getting funded for naming names), more women are talking about the sexism and increasingly men who can make a difference are distancing themselves from those “other” guys. My feeling is change will really happen when successful female entrepreneurs call out investors with “you didn’t get my IPO, because you’re a sexist jerk.” Change will happen faster when it hits the wallet or the company bottom line.