Angel’s share: investing in people

Investing in people
Investing in people

He agrees with Patel: “There is a very clear lack of female angels. Although the number of female angels is currently improving, with the interesting development of some female-focused groups, it still seems that the investment world is very imbalanced. This, in turn, means that many female entrepreneurs and CEOs feel less comfortable or welcome when seeking investment, as the industry remains emotionally immature and even sexist when it comes to dealing with women.”

He points out that angel investment is about investing in people rather than businesses. “Men tend to get more carried away with their own 'superior knowledge' of a domain they are investing in, whereas women are typically more objective and open-minded.” Hulston’s portfolio consists of around one third of businesses lead by women, but he feels that it could well be a higher-than-average ratio. “I do find women are often more focused and have a greater emotional commitment to their business; something that is hugely beneficial when making a business a success.”

The gender balance obviously needs to be readdressed. Hulston thinks that it’s shameful that this conversation even needs to take place. He feels that investors need to judge women the same way they’d judge a man. Ultimately, when making a decision about who to invest in, it needs to be the whole person, their experience, and what they’re saying, not just their gender. “Unfortunately, some men are still quick to judge women on appearance even in the investment domain and can be quicker to dismiss their ideas.”

Despite Bill Morrow’s optimism about the success of women pitching at his Angels Den’s competitions, he concedes that angel investing remains a fairly male-dominated industry. “With only 14 per cent of angel investors being female, there remains an issue of relatability as overall, male investors find it easier to connect with male entrepreneurs. Pitching events that encourage a less confrontational and more open structure, while simultaneously promoting angel investing as a viable career option for females, is crucial to confronting this gender imbalance.”

In tomorrow’s instalment of our Angel Investment series, we take a look at the keys to successfully securing funding…