All Articles Tagged "Investors"
Behind the Click: Natalia Oberti Noguera Opens the Pipeline of Angel Investing For Women Philanthropists
Hey everyone! We are back with another profile, and for those who are interested in money — from smart investments or building a business — read on!
Investment and the images of women of color may not be synonymous, but if Natalia Oberti Noguera has her way, that will change very soon. Natalia is founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing boot camp for women philanthropists. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. This is key as women seek to balance the tech industry. Natalia is a game-changer in this area and has some major insight to share!
Name: Natalia Oberti Noguera
Current Occupation: Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship
Favorite Website: Twitter
2013’s Ultimate Goal: Add #morevoices to the table.
Quotations that govern your mission, inspire you, and are just awesome:
When you do the right thing, it may not pay immediately, but it does pay. –Luz Urrutia
Powerful leadership is about understanding that you belong there. –@CarlaHarris
[I]f you don’t have a seat at the table: Bring Your Own Chair. –@midyaponte
People think #feminism is just for women. No fool, feminism is for everybody. –@aminatou
Twitter Handle: @nakisnakis
Madame Noire: Where are you from, Natalia, and where did you attend college?
Natalia Oberti Noguera: I’m half-Italian, half-Colombian. My father used to work for the UN, so we moved around quite a bit while growing up, primarily in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Dominican Republic). Summers were often spent in the United States, as my maternal grandmother used to live in Pennsylvania. I went to Yale for college and double-majored in Economics and Comparative Literature.
MN: What were you doing in your career before you started the Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: I built a network of women social entrepreneurs in NYC from about six women to over 1,200 members within two years.
MN: What events led you to start Pipeline Fellowship?
NON: Having the same conversation over and over: “It’s so hard to secure funding as a for-profit social venture.” [It] inspired me to launch the Pipeline Fellowship.
MN: What have been the results to date for the organization. Why do you feel its important to have Pipeline in place?
NON: In 2011, only 12 percent of U.S. angel investors were women and only four percent were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since running our first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained fifty women and has expanded from New York City to Boston, as well as San Francisco, and plans to head to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Pipeline Fellowship alumnae have gone on to invest in their third and fourth startups, as well as launch accelerators and angel groups.
MN: Since you focus on women and diversity, I’d love to know if you felt you’ve ever been challenged due to gender and race. How did you handle it? And what might your suggestions be for other women facing similar situations?
NON: Last year, I was invited to judge a tech startup demo. Judges were asked to sit in the front row and that’s where I found myself when a guy told the guy next to him — loud enough for me to hear, however not directly addressing me — “I thought that only the judges were supposed to sit at the front.” I turned around and said, “And what makes you think that we’re not judges–because we’re women?” My approach is to call out -isms. As an LGBTQ Latina, it can get tiring. However, after hearing Ruth Simmons, former President of Brown University, mention how important it is for us who speak up to continue to do so because others in the room might not realize that they have the right to do the same, I understood that burning out isn’t an option. If you’re wondering how to handle a situation, remember:
Some conversations are uncomfortable but also necessary. They are so uncomfortable because they are so necessary. –Molly Lambert
You want to convince people to invest in your new business idea. Having a great business plan is a must, but it also takes a great pitch to reel in startup money.
According to The New York Times, some of the elements you need for a great pitch are:
- Delivering concrete figures, numbers and statistics add scale or a benchmark to your opportunities and accomplishments. “Saying that I have raised a lot of capital for companies does not have nearly the impact of stating that I have raised more than a billion dollars,” says the article.
- You are the face of your company. So when you pitch you should be confident about what you want and what you can do.
- Don’t get too complicated. Simple is better. “The more complicated the business opportunity, the more challenging it is to understand and to execute,” states The Times.
- Don’t make the business opportunity sound risky. Explain how you are making money. “Be clear on the business and revenue model,” according to the newspaper.
We agree with all of these but had a few tips of our own:
- Get creative. Potential investors get pitched all the time. Do something different to stand out — nothing extreme but it shouldn’t be the same old, same old. We’ve heard of someone who wanted to get people to invest money in a community music program she was launching. For her pitch, she brought along one of her prospective students to play a classical piece on the violin before and after her pitch to investors in their corporate office.
- Make investors feel confident in your abilities. Now is the time to brag a little about your past achievements. But don’t overdo it; you don’t want to come off as a braggart.
- Dress for success. To be taken seriously, you need to look serious.
- Be friendly. Yes, it is all about business. But set a friendly tone to your pitch. You want the listeners to connect with you. The more they connect, the more they want to believe in your goals and help you achieve them.
- Put your passion on display. Be enthusiastic in your pitch. Show that you are going to give it your all to make this idea a success because you fully believe in your business model.
Entrepreneurs quickly become comfortable with the word “no.” They may hear it about a thousand times before they get the “yes” that takes their business to the next level. This rings truer for minority and women entrepreneurs who have the added hurdle of wooing investors who are unfamiliar with the communities they serve.
A New York magazine writer, Kevin Roose, recently came under fire when he deemed the website NaturallyCurly, a leading social network and community for people with wavy, curly and kinky hair, as a dumb investment with “no redeeming qualities whatsoever.” Many felt that Roose ignored evidence that supported investment in the site including the potential market of over 80 million women in the US with textured hair. Roose later updated his article to say he only took issue with the social network component of the idea, but his generalizations underscore an issue many women and minority entrepreneurs face.
Gatekeepers to the business world – investors, manufacturers and the like – aren’t known for their diversity. Largely white, male and upperclass, there is a myopic mindset that makes it all to easy for them to miss the potential and profitability of businesses that target consumers outside of the mainstream. It also creates an additional hurdle of shortsightedness for minority- and women-fronted businesses to overcome.
Kevin McFall, Senior Vice President of NewME Accelerator, an incubator for technology start-ups in the competitive industry of Silicon Valley, traces the root of the issue to a lack of ability to pattern match. “Patterns exist in Silicon Valley of Ivy League dropouts being the ones identified as having all of the big successes associated with their ventures, so some investors look to match that pattern and find others like that to invest in,” said McFall.
“Because there has not historically been a lot of female and multi-cultural entrepreneur success stories, those patterns aren’t as visible or as plentiful as there are of other patterns.” Fair or not, the onus is on entrepreneurs to educate investors on the potential of their ideas and to have the tenacity to not let hearing “no” stop their pursuit of success.
There is no shortage of stories of entrepreneurs who went on to success after major players passed on their ideas. Sara Blakely, the founder of SPANX met opposition from patent lawyers and manufacturers who told her, her idea for spandex-type undergarments to slim and smooth your figure was crazy. She went on to become the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails, has been vocal about major liquor brands passing on her idea because they thought women wouldn’t buy low-calorie spirits. Skinnygirl Cocktails is now the fastest-growing spirit brand in the industry.
These women overcame initial opposition because not only did they have a good idea, but they were able to demonstrate success on a small scale. An idea is only worth something if a sustainable business can be built around it. Seth Godin, author and entrepreneurship guru, offers five basic components of a good business model:
- Profitable – Do the revenues from sales exceed the cost of supplies and labor?
- Protectable – Is it difficult for a competitor to enter your market? Have you accounted for potential rip offs of your idea?
- Self-priming – Can your business sustain itself? Will product sales generate enough profit for you to develop more products to sell?
- Adjustable – Is your business model flexible enough to adjust its strategy in response to unexpected challenges?
- Exitable – Have you developed a strategy that will allow your business to function without you?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you’re ready to take your idea to the next level. Tech blogger Paul Graham’s guide to presenting to investors is a good resource. He underscores the importance of being specific and narrow in your description of your idea, having data with specific numbers, and telling stories about your consumers that illustrate how you solve a problem.
The business world is becoming increasingly niche. Every day we are seeing individuals and companies tapping into the passions and needs of special groups. Investors that want to make money are opening their minds to new markets and ideas. The burden of proof is on entrepreneurs to show their potential and profitability.
Maybe R. Kelly thinks “Trapped in the Closet” will be the ticket to getting his mansion out of foreclosure, but if he doesn’t find any investors, it will be a no-go for the hip hopera and his home.
TMZ caught up with the pied piper and he says he’s written an additional 32 chapters that he wants to film and release but “it costs a lot of money to do…so we’re looking for investors.”
I can’t lie, “Trapped in the Closet” was hilarious when it first came out in 2005. After the first 12 chapters, R. Kelly released another 10 in August 2007, exclusively on DVD. I’m not sure he can revive the series seven years after its original run—even five is asking a lot. But when you’re strapped for cash, you get creative. Check out the clip below to see where it all began.
What do you think of R. Kelly bringing back “Trapped in the Closet?” Are you over it or looking forward to it?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
By Charlotte Young
From famine in Somalia to genocide in Sudan and bombings in Nigeria, the media puts out a very bleak image of African development. But in economic reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For investors in the global market, much of the real growth and opportunity is stemming from Africa.
Marketwatch reports the continent is “home to a host of fast-growing economies.” In addition the growth possibilities have the potential to provide large returns.
Plamen Monovski, chief investment officer of Renaissance Asset Managers, one of the biggest investors on the continent, relays that the images of Africa “are rooted in the past” and the “BBC effect.” “But Africa is now the last frontier left in the market. Nowhere else has the same kind of growth potential,” Monovski tells Marketwatch.
The media seems to neglect Africa’s stories of triumphant and success as it zeroes in on political unrest, poverty and hunger. But after enduring 30 years of stagnation and decolonization, Africa is growing rapidly. There are 11 African countries that now see growth rates higher that 7 percent annually, which is higher than the rates in East Asia. Nigeria, one of the largest countries in Africa, is growing at 9 percent a year, one percent below the magic percentage when economies really begin to take off. Three countries have already reached a 10 percent growth rate.
In addition, while many countries worldwide are facing labor shortages, Africa boasts of a rising labor force. With secondary school enrollment also rising, the continent will be able to see a generation of more educated youth as well.
All of the growth does not negate that there is truth in the media coverage. Governments across the continent have their share of problems, but what government doesn’t? China has continued to succeed economically without a democracy and many Asian nations also face corruptions.
African infrastructure is not always the best, which can provide a setback to companies seeking to build presence. But with investments comes financial capital to improve upon roads and broadband connections.
Those that are forward thinkers understand how important it is that Africa continues to grow. With or without personal attachments to the continent, Africa’s success is important to everyone. Its rise could help to alleviate much of the despair around the global markets and end the threat of another recession. As investors know best, there’s nothing like an emerging market. Only they are capable of the “explosive growth,” that provides the fast expansion effect desperately needed around the world.
(New York Times) — Small investors’ faith in the stock market is being tested again. After the market rout of 2008 that drastically shrank their retirement nest eggs, small investors withdrew hundreds of billions of dollars from American stock funds, and they kept bolting as the market rebounded sharply for much of last year. But earlier this year, having missed out on last year’s gains, some investors began to tiptoe back in. The timing for those people was off, and now they are being buffeted by the steep drops on Wall Street or bailing altogether. Still others who have been holding on in recent years have had enough.
(Wall Street Journal) — Agustin Gutierrez, a construction worker from this town in the hills northeast of San Francisco Bay, lost his job in 2009, then, 10 months later, he lost ownership of his home. Now, the husband and father of four rents the same five-bedroom ranch from McKinley Capital Partners, an investment company that’s at the forefront of a new breed of big-money landlords. McKinley, which has acquired more than 300 foreclosed single-family homes in the Bay Area over the past two years, recently teamed up with Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, a New York hedge fund, with plans to buy at least 500 more foreclosed homes in the next year. Those homes, too, will be rented to people like the Gutierrez family.
(Fast Company) — Fundraising is a tough name for one of the most important, and sensitive, ways to engage people. Raising funds for your venture really isn’t about the money. If you want to be successful in this money business, focus on people, not funds. One of my greatest funders has been with me for the better part of 10 years. We started out slow at $5,000 and it grew to a consistent, annual six-figure support. Our first big jump in investment was when he funded two new hires, bringing them on board to join our team. Next year, thinking he might want a creative change, I presented an aggressive marketing plan which could take UniversalGiving to exciting new levels of brand awareness.
(USA Today) — You’re walking across the street, minding your own business, when you look up and see a tractor-trailer bearing down on you. It should stop, you think. Suddenly, you realize that there’s a good chance it won’t stop. What do you do? Investors are getting a similar feeling of impending doom as the deadline for Congress to raise the debt limit approaches. “People are getting more uneasy because of all the rhetoric on the airwaves,” says Lance Roberts, CEO of Streettalk Advisors, a Houston investment firm. What should you do? The overwhelming likelihood is that Congress will eventually act and the U.S. won’t default. Until it does, you can expect increasing volatility in the stock, bond and commodity markets. If you’re tired of the roller coaster, consider moving some — not all — of your portfolio into short-term money market securities or bank accounts. You should have enough cash available for your short-term living expenses, anyway.
(Wall Street Journal) — Since borrowing $8,000 from his older brother and $2,000 from a friend to start a jewelry business, Andres Arango says both relationships have soured. Whenever they communicate, the brother and friend raise the subject of the loan and the progress of his business with a negative tone. ”The well has been poisoned,” says Mr. Arango, who launched Muichic, a retail and wholesale business, from his home in Burlington, Vt., in 2009 after getting laid off from a technology company. While the 34-year-old entrepreneur has assured his investors several times that he’s working hard to pay them back, “there’s always this underlying tension,” Mr. Arango says. If you’re starting a business on a shoestring budget, you may be inclined to approach the people closest to you for financial assistance. After all, those individuals are generally going to be willing to open their wallets whenever possible.