Here we are at winter break, and while the ground felt a bit firmer for a while, it is suddenly shaky and many have lost their footing with the newest variant just as we did last holiday season. I have kept this month's update short and I challenge you to read it through as there are two stories of moral resolve that may provide some sense of stability.
One. Imagine you've just started dabbling in angel investing, excited to discover opportunities you want to support and that may provide you some future upside return. You join an angel group and have been enjoying evaluating pitches and learning about the space. Through this network you're given the exclusive opportunity to participate in a growth stage round through a VC syndicate for a unicorn portfolio company that is likely to generate a significant return. Holy smokes that's exciting!
Eager to check it out you open the pitch deck and diligence material. Wow, there are a lot of impressive investors and a pretty big management team. Something seems off, though…they all look the same. There are no women or people of color at all. That can't be right, can it? You check with the VC, but yes, it's true.
Shoot, now what do you do? You got into angel investing because you want to support founders who have historically been blocked from obtaining capital. So, do you pass because it goes against your principles? Or, do you invest because you could use the returns to put more money into diverse founders?
As you might have guessed, this is my story, and I identified myself publicly in a Twitter thread. I ultimately decided to pass. Regardless of the potential return, the size of their team and the lack of diversity signaled a choice. In addition to wanting to support founders who identify as underrepresented, research consistently shows that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones and they are limiting their own growth potential.
After putting my name and face behind my decision dozens of founders and investors (beyond the social media comments) have reached out to me in solidarity and with exclusive investment opportunities. Authenticity is powerful. Stick by your morals and you'll draw others to you.
I'm not including our regular list of events this month to keep it short and sweet. Please still scroll down and read story number two from our featured founder below. I wish you all a safe, healthy, and restful holiday. ❤️
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for helping us. I appreciate you.
Allison Byers, Founder & CEO
Each newsletter features the perspective of one of our members. Most are currently raising and I encourage you to reach out to them.
This month’s featured founder and inspiring second story is Roydon Jeffrey, Co-Founder & CEO of ListedB. I met Roydon and his Co-Founder & CTO, Taj English, while sharing my own entrepreneurial journey with their recent Techstars cohort at The Roux Institute. They gave a fantastic pitch at the demo day a couple of weeks ago!
ListedB is a social booking app for beauty and wellness services within the Black community that brings the unique culture of Black barbershops and salons online. Roydon founded ListedB not only because he validated a large market need, but also to show his community that anyone can follow their entrepreneurial ambition. He is authentic, passionate, capable, and you can't help but want to get involved.