These Angel Investors Want to Bring Women Into Startups Early—And Get Them Equity

An investor group known as #Angels wants to bring more diversity and gender equality to startups. Long the domain of privileged, single, white men; the startup ecosystem and everyone involved in it will benefit when more women and other underrepresented minorities are supported. Women are taking risks, and #Angels are helping them—reaching out to startups to allocate more shares to women, helping women and other underrepresented people negotiate for equity, hosting an investing boot camp, and pushing for companies to disclose the diversity of their capitalization tables—which lay out ownership stakes in a startup—the same way they've disclosed other measures of equality. Click through to watch the interview and read more about how #Angels are making sure women employees get their fair share—and that more women are supporting one another all the way to the top; including ownership, wealth, and equity.

By Julia Boorstin

Silicon Valley is still under fire for its lack of diversity. At tech giants like Apple and Google, women still comprise less than a third of employees, and female founders drew just 2 percent of VC dollars last year.

One group of female angel investors is working on a plan they hope will help close those gaps by honing in on the nexus of power: the allocation of shares to founding employees of startups. This investing collective of six former Twitter executives, called #Angels, says that if more women have representation on the cap table — the legal document that lays out equity stakes in a company — that will help boost female leadership and wealth creation, and turn more women into VC investors who can back women-run startups. #Angels is focused on educating women and men alike on the value of bringing in female executives early and giving them shares.

"There's four groups of people who make significant wealth and who are on the cap table. It's founders, it's early executives, it's early employees and it's investors," says Chloe Sladden, one of the #Angels. "We know that women and underrepresented minorities do not make up those groups significantly. So our concern is if women and underrepresented minorities are not part of the cap table, they are not part of the wealth and power that shapes Silicon Valley."

Image credit: #Angels

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