Call goes out for more women angel investors

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Women may have moved out of the kitchen and into the boardroom, but it seems they have no place as angel investors.

Within New Zealand's Angel Association there is only one woman on the 11-strong board.

An OECD report released earlier this year, stated only five per cent of New Zealand's overall angel investors were female.

The Angels Association New Zealand executive director, Suse Reynolds, says this percentage would only include the formal female investors.

"The informal is likely to be three-to-four times this."

Informal investors are the "family, friends and fools" who invest in the start-ups' early stages, before the Angel networks do.

They are also those who like to keep their hand in the investment game, investing in two to three start-ups at a time.

The angels association's main role is to act as a "matchmaker" between different angel networks, groups of investors with deep pockets; and start-up companies, people who have bled their sweat and tears into their company and need some help getting it off the ground.

Within Australasia's largest angel network, the Ice Angels, there are only 15 female members out of 130.

Ice Angel start-up funding manager, Robbie Paul, says this is because women are either unaware of the network, or they are not being referred by members.

"Most referrals come from members, if a guy is out with friends he may suggest they join the network.

"Friends bring friends."

Paul says there is a "capacity" for more females to join. Reynolds says more of these investors are needed.

"There is so much support, collaboration and generosity from these investors."

The same OECD report measured America's female Angel investors at 13 per cent.

America has separate female-only Angel investment groups. However, Reynolds says there is no need for this in New Zealand.

"We are more concerned with the (investment) outcome; nothing else, including the number of females, is relevant."

In her experience females had led around 10 per cent of start-up companies that Angel HQ had invested in.

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