Angel investors sought for women entrepreneurs

Published March 25, 2022, 1:51 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

To address the perennial problem of lack of funding for women entrepreneurs, Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN) has encouraged angel investors to put their resources in enterprises run by female.

MAIN, Philippines’ pioneer and premier investors’ network, recently kicked off its first Gender Lens Investment (GLI) Series, Women Leaders and Angel Investing in the Philippines. The forum focused on women business leaders and their attitudes towards angel investing, as well as providing a space for women angel investors to come together.

Panelists discussing how to encourage women participation in angel investing during the first Gender Lens Investment (GLI) Series of Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN). From L-R: Gobi Core Founding Partner and Head of Circular Economy, Carlo Delantar; MAIN’s Gender Lens Investing Committee Chairperson and Avaya Managing Partner, Tina de Cicco; on screen: MAIN Member, James Lette; Xchange PH Director, Love Gregory Moral-Perez and MAIN’s Executive Director, Quenby Go.

MAIN Executive Director Quenby Go said they are targeting $2 million in new investments this year. Last year, MAIN’s members invested a total of $1.3 million in 2021, where $120,889 came from women. The 2021 investments surpassed its total investment of $ 640,000 in 2020.

MAIN shared its goal to engage women to become angels and start investing. “It is our purpose to unlock angel stage capital for women entrepreneurs, celebrate women founders, and step up on our movement for gender balance,” said Go.

MAIN was formed to support the country’s startup ecosystem by connecting investors with promising early-stage startup companies. It mentors founders by providing expertise support and creating networking opportunities.

To date, MAIN has over a hundred active members of which, over a dozen of them are women. The organization’s female membership has grown from just two women members in 2018. Among MAIN’s portfolio of female founded startups are: 1Export, Fortuna and Taxumo.

“We need to improve both ends of the pipeline. We need more women-founded startups and we need to have more women seating in investment committees,” Love Gregory Moral-Perez, a panelist at the forum said.

“There needs to be a peer circle or an investment club for women so they can be educated,” Perez said.

Tina DiCicco of MAIN added that there is a need to proactively educate women to invest or involve them to decide on investments. “Investing in women pays. It is no longer a social issue, it is actually smart economics. We must encourage women to be fund managers and we must encourage women to support women.”

“It is pretty intense how competitive women are,” Carlo Delantar, Founding Partner and Head of Circular Economy, Gobi-Coresaid. He added that in terms of returns for venture capitals, it is always 5-20 percent higher for those gender-diverse startups than male-led startups.

James Lette, also from MAIN, said they aim to be a group who can provide education on angel investing.“Angel investing is a journey. You need to become aware, you need to be interested and you need to join a group. But after you join a group there is still that journey before you deploy money since that is the much harder step. MAIN’s key role is to provide the mentorship, and the training for potential members, be it female or male.”

MAIN’s GLI Series has three goals: building awareness, creating a community and investing in women-led startups.

MAIN’s GLI Series is made possible in partnership with the Australian Government’s initiative, Investing in Women. Investing in Women uses innovative approaches to improve women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar through workplace gender equality, impact investment for SMEs and influencing gender norms to positively shift attitudes and practices to support women in the world of work.