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Finding Your Unicorn

{ By Angel Padulo }

If you asked me 10 years ago what an angel investor was, I didn’t know the answer. Most men and women don’t know what an angel investor is, especially women. So in case you fall into the group of not knowing…the simple answer according to Wikipedia is; “an angel investor is an individual who provides capital for a business or businesses start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.”  

Historically women have been steered into being homemakers, and definitely not encouraged into financial careers, or taught how to invest their money, and what little advice we are given is mainly focussed around investing in a 401k for example (which accumulates over time and the funds become available upon retirement.) Sure, it’s a nice little nest egg — little being the keyword. But what if you don’t need to wait until retirement to have more money and wealth? Perhaps even a wealth so great that you can leave it behind for generations to come. If you make the right angel investment, your return can dwarf any 401k savings. 

One example of an angel investment is a little company called Apple. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Apple founder Steve Jobs and his co-founder Steve Wozniak started the company out of Steve’s parents’ garage. In order to take Apple to the next level, they needed money to build their product. So, they found some early-stage angel investors to get them to point b. Their first investor was Mike Markkula, who wrote them a personal check for $250k. Today, Mike’s net worth is over $1.2 billion. Now, not every angel investment is going to lead you to what is referred to as a UNICORN company, but if you invest in the right early-stage companies, your road to wealth can be a very prosperous one.

If you’re wondering where do I sign up? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, however, we have the ability to change that. Unlike a 401k, not everyone qualifies to be an angel investor. You must meet the following criteria: Angel investors are individuals who have gained accredited investor status but this isn’t a prerequisite. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines an “accredited investor” as one with a net worth of $1M in assets or more (excluding personal residences), or have earned $200k in income for the previous 2 years, or having a combined income of $300k for married couples. Now let me tell you the great news.

This is a 3 part answer.

1. Over the last decade women’s salary grade has changed for the better. We are still not at equal pay, but we have come a long way.

2. You don’t have to invest alone or need a net worth of $1 mil. You can form an LLC with some friends and invest in a start-up company with as little as $10k each.

3. Research indicates that women are better investors in the long run. When women are stronger financially, so are the economy and society. Women have the networks and expertise to impact startups. Yes, the growth of the female entrepreneur is on the rise, but without representation on both sides of the table — entrepreneurs and investors — we won’t see real change.

There are 108,000,000 adult women in the US and only 0.06% (or 6 tenths of 1%) are angel investors. Don’t you think it’s time we got that number up?

To learn more about how to become an angel investor, visit investHER academy. For all THIS IS IT NETWORK subscribers, you will receive a 10% discount when you register for the academy.

Angel Padulo

Co-Founder, Program/Event Director & Angel Investor