Changing the Face of Angel Investing with Simone Castillo
In 2011, only 12% of startups pitching to angels in the U.S. were women-led, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Out of that 12%, 26% secured funding. The Pipeline Fellowship is Angel investing boot camp for women. Founded by Natalia Oberti Noguera, the Pipeline Fellowship’s mission is to increase diversity in the U.S. angel investing community and create capital for women social entrepreneurs. Since launching its first angel investing boot camp in April 2011, the Pipeline Fellowship has trained over seventy women, who have committed more than US $350k in investment, and has expanded from New York City to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
In partnership with The Pipeline Fellowship we are excited to launch an interview series featuring some of the amazing women who are helping to change the face of angel investing. Our first interview features Simone Castillo. She currently serves in the Office of the Vice Chair, Tax, at KPMG LLP (US) with over ten years of experience in providing strategy, fiscal management and operational advisory services to nonprofits and other charitable organizations. During her free time, Simone volunteers with organizations that assist underserved communities, such as Harlem Children’s Zone and Harlem RBI. She holds a BA from Tufts University and is a member of the Class of 2015 at Columbia Business School.
We sat down with Simone to discuss the need for more women to get involved in the angel investing community.
What sparked your interest in angel investing?
The Pipeline Fellowship
How did you learn about the Pipeline Fellowship?
I attended a White House Urban Economic Forum in NY where the Pipeline Fellowship was invited to participate as a guest speaker.
What was the most valuable thing you learned going as a Fellow?
No question is a wrong question.
In what ventures have you invested so far?
Happily Ever Borrowed (2012)
Any advice for Black MBA Women interested in becoming angels?
Consider investing with others if you are interested in knowledge sharing and building your professional network.
What are the top 3 mistakes you think women entrepreneurs make?
- Asking for help after it’s too late. Co-founders, CTOs and CMOs are integral team members.
- Using $ as the solitary form of currency for business resources. Swap resources and services with other entrepreneurs; form mutually beneficial partnerships that bring value add to your business.
- Not evolving when the business/product has. Your business and/or product will most likely change from inception. Leverage and maximize this opportunity for change and improvement.
What advice would you give new entrepreneurs when pitching investors?
Clearly articulate and nail your pitch; it should convey a compelling story.
Why should more black women become angel investors?
We support our loved ones and communities using a multitude of resources. Angel investing provides another avenue to continue these efforts while gaining a financial return.