Changing the Face of Angel Investing - Pipeline Fellowship

Danielle-Dias-CoutinhoThis guest post was authored by Danielle Dias Coutinho, VP of Strategy & Outreach, Pipeline Fellowship

In 2013, only 19% of U.S. angel investors were women and only 4% were minorities, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.  Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women, works to increase diversity in the U.S. angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs.

With the recent passage of Black Philanthropy Month, we’re excited to spotlight three black women leaders who graduated from Pipeline Fellowship and who have continued to leverage their philanthropic backgrounds throughout their angel investing journeys. For Simone Castillo, Pipeline Fellowship alumna and manager in the Office of the Vice Chair, Tax, at KPMG LLP (US), angel investing is a “natural extension of the lessons learned from my family’s involvement in civic engagement and investor clubs.”  Her angel investing journey taught Simone that “transparency and communication are crucial for any investment of time and funds.” “I've worn a few hats in my life: lawyer, television producer, foreign television correspondent, corporate strategist and then there is angel investor,” remarked Adaora Udoji, Pipeline Fellowship alumna, Founder of The Boshia Group, and Interim President of News Deeply. “It is a singular experience. At the heart, becoming an angel investor has been about taking the world down a road it has never been before, it's about creation in a way few actions are. It's about breaking stereotypes and supporting women and people of color in a world that has not dropped any welcome mat. It is about making sure the best ideas are getting some support. From Eli Whitney's cotton gin to Madam C. J. Walker, the first self-made U.S. millionaire woman, to HopStop founder Chinedu Echeruo, a geography-based technology that Apple bought for a reported billion dollars, black innovators are out there and, today, I along with so many women from Pipeline Fellowship are looking for them and looking to support them.” “I became interested in angel investing because I wanted to help people of color and women entrepreneurs gain access to capital and grow their businesses,” added Lorine Pendleton, Pipeline Fellowship alumna and U.S. Director of Business Development at Dentons. “My Pipeline Fellowship cohort invested in Cissé Trading, a cocoa company that makes gourmet and organic cocoa products using fair trade to source cocoa from Dominican Republic farmers. I also recently invested in Traklight, a software platform that identifies and stores IP documents for small businesses and entrepreneurs, which is an important aspect of any business. And, I sit on the board of WomenLEAD, an online personal advisory board platform for women. Each of these companies are women-owned and are engaged in social change.” Since its April 2011 launch, Pipeline Fellowship’s angel investing bootcamp has trained over eighty women, who have committed more than US$400K in investment, and has expanded from New York City to Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.. Pipeline Fellowship has opened a call for applications for its spring 2015 angel investing bootcamps in Austin, Boston, Chicago, DC, Miami, NYC, and Philadelphia.  

To apply, go to:

Danielle joined Pipeline Fellowship after five years at Goldman Sachs where she most recently served in the Executive Office as part of the Corporate Communications team and was on the Steering Committee of Goldman’s Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit, and Executive Office Women’s Network. She started her career at the firm as a stockbroker in Institutional Sales covering emerging markets. Danielle has had a longtime passion for social enterprise and was part of the founding leadership team of New York Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE), a network of women social entrepreneurs launched by Pipeline Fellowship Founder & CEO Natalia Oberti Noguera in 2008. Danielle initiated two business plan review workshops for women entrepreneurs as part of Goldman Sachs’ Community TeamWorks program and has advised many women-led startups over the years. She holds a BS in Economics and Latin American, Latin@, and Caribbean Studies from Dartmouth. You can find Danielle on Twitter (@ddiascoutinho).

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