That was in 2013, and Clark has been writing checks ever since. Her first three investments were small, ranging from $5,000 to her $10,000. Some companies are very successful. Others struggled or folded. Today, Clarke says she has poured millions of dollars into about 60 companies, from tech startups to fair-trade cacao her business, and invested in 15 of her funds that invest in women entrepreneurs. I’m guessing.

Although lonely at first, Clark is meeting more and more female investors like himself. One reason is the proliferation of funds dedicated to supporting women-owned businesses. Investing used to be a much more exclusive and labor-intensive process. I had to introduce the founders, attend pitch sessions, and do my own homework. Today, her 10 women-led startups vetted by experienced investors can be funded with a single check.

“There are so many entrances to investing,” Clark says. “There’s no reason to wait.” But she warns, “You can be in the game, but never invest in anything you can’t afford to lose because this asset class is risky.” .

Here’s a dirty little secret about funding: The majority of startups don’t get venture capital. Funded by a network of angel investors.

Whether it’s a successful career, smart investments, or family wealth, women are beginning to realize that money can help them close the gender funding gap.

And by the end of the decade, women are expected to become an economic force to be reckoned with, due to demographic shifts as baby boomers leave their assets to their wives. A McKinsey & Company study shows that a woman is trying to control her $30 trillion, roughly the size of the United States’ annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But for now, even as more women enter the world of startup capital, women remain in the minority.Analysis by PitchBook and JP Morgan shows that women make up only a small percentage of general partners in venture capital firms. 15.4%, and women make up about a third of the market among angel investors, according to New University’s Center for Venture Research. Hampshire.

It is important for women to manage checkbooks. According to some studies, a female venture capitalist invests twice as much in early-stage female-founded startups as she does compared to male venture capitalists.

This is not charity. And a growing body of research shows that women-led startups are more likely to succeed. A 2018 Boston Consulting Group study based on an analysis of her five-year data from MassChallenge found that a female entrepreneur earns more than twice as much as her per dollar invested compared to male-led startups. It turns out that

“Women are great. The data is clear and very important to understand,” says founder of Rethink Impact, a venture capital firm that specializes in funding startups led by women and non-binary entrepreneurs. Jenny Abramson, owner and managing partner, said.

Founded in 2015, Rethink Impact has raised two funds through high net worth individuals, university endowments, foundations and banks. In a second fund of approximately $180 million, approximately 65% ​​of investors were women. Rethink has backed 36 startups, including at least two of her Boston companies, CareAcademy and Eleanor Health.

Abramson acknowledges the importance of understanding what kind of investors women want to be. Angel investors who provide seed funding for early-stage businesses often seek hands-on, active involvement. On the other hand, some people may want to entrust their money to someone else.

“Does that mean you want to invest in your daughter’s friend’s business and get a hands-on feel of what’s going on day-to-day?” says Abramson. “Or do you want professional investors to vet and choose from a wider trading universe?”

Dr. Uzo Ndukwe Erlingsson, an angel investor. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Dr. Uzo Ndukwe Erlingsson has gone both ways. In 2014, she was walking around the South End and stopped by Follain, a shop that sells clean skin care products. She was allergic to everything during her pregnancy and knew how difficult it was to find beauty products free of harmful ingredients.Erlingsson tracked down her founder, Tara Foley, to grow her concept. offered to invest her $200,000 to “She thought I was crazy,” she recalls Erlingsson.

Foley eventually took her money, and Erlingson became a trusted advisor ever since. Follain now sells its own branded line of clean skincare and has evolved into an e-commerce retailer known for selling healthy beauty products. “Being an investor is a privilege for me, not the other way around,” he says Erlingsson. “The whole process is my own personal his MBA education.”

These days, Erlingsson doesn’t have much time to research individual opportunities. She has become an entrepreneur herself and launched her health tech startup, FHIOS Health, with her husband, who is also a doctor. Instead, she prefers to support women-owned businesses through foundations such as her Rethink Impact.

“I don’t own a Hermès bag,” Erlingson says. “I want to invest in my community and the people who employ others to provide their services.”

Female entrepreneurs feel seen by female funders. “They understood more than the others I was pitching,” said Foley, the CEO of Foley, who developed the business while earning a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College. increase.

Of Foley’s original five investors, Erlingson and EDENS chief executive officer Jodie McLean were the two women who made the most money at the beginning, and her longest-serving investor. I have served as an advisor.

McLean, who runs one of the nation’s largest retail real estate firms, advised Foley on real estate. She helped hone her limited-ingredient approach to skincare and introduced her to the Healthcare Network.

Follain reached a milestone in October when it was acquired by Credo Beauty, another clean skincare retailer, allowing the Boston brand to acquire a larger national footprint.

“My female investors have been there for me through good times and bad,” says Foley. “I have a lot to say about that.”

Shirley Leung is a business columnist. Her contact is her [email protected]

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