Kara Penn is the mother of four daughters and proprietor of Mission Spark, a the managers and programme consulting company.
And now, thanks to Hustle Fund, she is also an angel investor.
Hustle Fund is coming out of stealth today with Angel Squad, a new strategy aimed at making angel investing more accessible to more people, like Colorado-based Penn.
“We believe that in order to increase diversity in the startup ecosystem, one thing that we must do is increase diversity — whether it be in regard to gender, race or geography — amongst angel investors, ” said Hustle Fund co-founder and general spouse Elizabeth Yin.
Via Angel Squad, Hustle Fund solely aims to build an all-inclusive investor community, stimulate minimum check sizes low-spirited and accessible( speculate as little as $1,000 ), offer “angel education” and give investors a route to invest alongside Hustle Fund.
“There’s been this misnomer, or at least I had this incorrect assumption that in order to become an angel investor, you have to be super rich and write $25,000 checks, ” Yin told TechCrunch. “But the reality is actually in Silicon Valley, there are all these parties running around investing $1,000 checks…and that’s something that’s a lot more accessible than most people might judge. And, part of the value of having this group is then we can accumulate a knot of smaller checks to then write one big check for a company.”
So far, Penn has invested in five startups across a variety of sectors, including real estate, nutrient, clothe and finance.
She describes herself as “a complete apprentice” in angel investing, and so far, she’s gentle the experience.
“I adoration Hustle Fund’s perspective that enormous hustlers can look like anyone and collected from anywhere, ” Penn told TechCrunch. “I’ve experienced being in a caring community with differing levels of expertise, but where every question is welcomed.”
The experience is also broadening her exposure to engineering and AI, the collecting and use of data and the creation of brand-new marketplaces in ways she never would have been exposed to before.
“As someone whose own corporation focuses exclusively on approach in social impact parties, I also constitutes looking for how founders identify and bring to market creative solutions to complex problems, as well as exposure to a network of inventive parties looking to solve hard issues in smart natures ,” Penn said.” This showing is helping me begin to think about applications of these approaches to difficult social troubles .”
For some context, Hustle Fund is a endeavour firm founded by Elizabeth Yin and Eric Bahn, two former 500 Startups partners, with the goal of investing in pre-seed software startups. The firm has traditionally operated by investing $25,000 in a company, often with a minimum-viable product, and then works with the team to help them grow. It does around 50 investments per year, according to its website .
It recently closed on $33.6 million for a new fund.
“One of the things most important to us is this bigger mission of wanting to change the acces the startup ecosystem is, ” Yin said. “I noticed both as an entrepreneur and while guiding an accelerator, if you have a certain resume, went to see sure-fire institutions, or were a certain race or gender, you have advantages in starting a company and coming fund. For many beings, if you don’t tick those caskets, it can be very challenging. That’s why we’re investing in a lot of founders from all marches of life.”
Hustle Fund Venture Partner Brian Nichols had started a trust of Lyft alumni on AngelList. After doing a few transactions, he opened the syndicate to beings outside of AngelList.
“I concluded there was a wide range of beings looking to diversify into private marketplaces, from all over the world with every type of backgrounds, ” he said. “Hustle Fund and I had similar delicacy in companies I was investing in and I constructed such relationships with them in co-investments.”
Today, he’s helping move the fund’s Angel Squad initiative. So far, it has had two cohorts with more than 150 investors total, and, genuine to the fund’s mission, those investors have been more diverse than typical angel syndicates: 46% of the members are female, 9% are underrepresented minorities and 32% are people who work outside of tech with professional capacities such as lawyers, doctors and craftsmen. Really one-third are based in Silicon Valley.
Every week, Angel Squad multitudes an affair that arrays from networking to a peep behind the curtain at opportunities in which Hustle Fund is considering investing to talking through why or why not to take a meeting with a founder.
“Imagine starting from zero, and if you could skip a knot of steps and have Elizabeth( Yin) tell you how to do this before you lose a bunch of money in the process of evaluating a startup, ” Nichols told TechCrunch. “Angel Squad is this that I order had existed three or four years ago when I became interested in investing.”
Silicon Valley, Yin declares, can be intimidating, but the reality is that no one is an expert in everything.
“We’re trying to cultivate an environment where people are very kind — we have a’ no asshole’ principle, and that is a safe space where people can learn and feel like they can ask questions, and not have to know everything about angel investing. The actuality is most people don’t. And we want to bring new people into this system.”
Besides not being an a-hole, other criteria in becoming a Squad Member includes being able to add value and being an accredited investor.
“With rounds as competitive as they are today, we are looking for people who want to be actively supportive of the portfolio companies we’re investing in, ” Nichols said. “Every person who wants to join the program is interviewed by someone from our squad, who requests questions such as’ What can you help a founder with? ’ We are not looking for passive asset. That’s not super supportive at this degree in the ecosystem.
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