Did you know that, according to the Center for Venture Research, in 2014, only 26 percent of U.S. angel investors were women? While that number increased from 19 percent in 2013, it’s still low. At Pipeline Fellowship, we’re working to do our part in increasing that statistic every year by engaging more women as angel investors. Pipeline Fellowship is an angel investing bootcamp for women and we're proud to have activated more than 100 angels since launching in April 2011.
I’m thrilled to spotlight Pipeline Fellowship’s “This Is What an Angel Looks Like” interview series with the DailyWorth community and share my conversations with powerhouse women each month. In this series, alumnae of our program discuss what inspired them to become angel investors and provide advice for entrepreneurs looking for funding, as well as angels-in-training (or sharks-in-training, for those of you who watch Shark Tank).
This month, I’m sharing our interview with alumna Kim Tennican. Kim, an accountant with more than 20 years of experience, participated in the inaugural Seattle Pipeline Fellowship class in the fall of 2014 and later launched the Seattle Women’s Impact Fund with her Pipeline Fellowship cohort. Since graduating our program, Kim has invested in 10 different companies and was appointed to the board of directors of Genomic Expression, Inc., a company that develops lifesaving cancer diagnostics.
Check out Kim’s interview, below, for more on her angel investments:
Full name: Kim Tennican
Affiliation: Berntson Porter & Company, PLLC
Twitter handle: @KimTennican
Describe the moment when you decided to become an angel.
The headline announcing the Seattle launch of Pipeline Fellowship caught my eye, and the subsequent conversations with Natalia ignited the fire — I knew this was the path to increasing my personal impact I had been searching for.
What investments have you made since graduating from Pipeline Fellowship?
Via Pipeline Fellowship, I invested in FoodTrace [a software platform that connects local farmers with larger scale distributors and restaurants], Genomic Expression, and Kidstir [a kid-centric service that sends monthly cooking kits — complete with tools, recipes, and specialty ingredients — to educate and inspire kids about healthy eating].
How many investments do you make per year?
Three to eight.
What are your investment deal-breakers?
Founders who are not receptive to feedback or not open to seeking advice from others; lack of coachability.
What types of companies do you look to invest in?
I am interested in women-founded social impact companies, preferably in a stage of growth where I can also lend my expertise to help them succeed and where their potential for doing good is aligned with my interests.
What do you look for in an entrepreneur or founding team?
I look for founders who are following their passion and have surrounded themselves with a great team.
How has your background played a role in your angel investing?
My business, accounting, and tax expertise, as well as my attention to detail, have definitely been an asset during due diligence and deal structuring.
One piece of advice to an angel-in-training?
Develop an investment thesis based on your personal financial goals and passions and let that drive your investment decisions. Then, cast a wide net for deals to consider, but be selective in the deals you choose to pursue — wait for the opportunities that really align with your personal passions.
One piece of advice to an entrepreneur looking for capital?
Be realistic and transparent about your funding needs — how much you need, what it will allow you to accomplish, how that will lead to your success.
How would you define a for-profit social venture?
A for-profit social venture is a business whose mission and purpose will have a positive impact on the world, making it a better place, while also returning a reasonable profit to shareholders.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” — Dalai Lama XIV
I enjoy combining my interests in gardening and cooking by creating “zero mile meals” from my front-yard urban farm.
Help us change the face of angel investing! Pipeline Fellowship has opened a call for applications for its fall 2015 angel investing bootcamps in Albuquerque, Boulder, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Las Vegas. To apply, click here.
Natalia Oberti Noguera is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.