Upstate NY Investor, Mentor Champions Movement to Advance Women Entrepreneurs

Rochester community leader Jean Kase joins Chloe Capital to drive growth among women entrepreneurs and investors. Kickoff women-only pitch event December 4, 2018 in Rochester, NY!

Things are changing for women in the startup and venture capital world – and a network of women in Upstate NY have stepped forward to join the movement.

According to Pitchbook, all-women teams received just 2 percent of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists last year. All-male teams received roughly 79 percent. While there’s still no single definite answer behind the gap, female founders point to the lack of female VCs.

“Only about 5% of partners at top VC firms are women.” –Crunchbase

The silver lining is that the world has started to take notice of this inequality, and more leaders have emerged to champion the effort to decrease the gender gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Last year, three Upstate NY women tech-trepreneurs (Elisa Miller-Out, Kathryn Cartini and Erica O’Brian) launched Chloe Capital, a venture capital firm with a mission to invest in women entrepreneurs, and increase the pipeline of women investors.

Chloe Capital debuted with a Women’s Investor Accelerator that united investors with world-class women leaders in angel investing and venture capital for three days of learning and community building. Five women-led innovation companies were also invited to pitch their ventures for funding.

“We were successful in creating a hands-on learning experience for investors, who by the end of the Accelerator, joined Chloe Capital in making our first investment in Mi Padrino, a high-growth tech startup,” said Chloe Capital Founding Partner Elisa Miller-Out. “Since, we have helped Mi Padrino founder and CEO Kim Gamez raise ~$2 million in additional funding in partnership with Astia Angels, and secure major deals, including partnering with Mattel to promote the Quinceanera Barbie!”

Upstate NY entrepreneur mentor, angel investor and super connector steps forward

Monroe County and Imagine Monroe understand the importance that innovation based economic development and its positive impact on wages and job creation in other sectors.  Their commitment is solidified by putting funding in place to drive this strategy. Jean Kase, Executive Director of The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) plays a strategic role connecting people and resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Jean is a member of the Rochester Angel Network (RAN) and supported Chloe Capital’s accelerator for investors from the onset.

Jean has recruited and mentored hundreds of startups founders and owners of scalable businesses throughout her career. In these roles, having witnessed the gender gap first hand, Jean was enthusiastic about collaborating with an Upstate vc firm catalyzing solutions to the problem. She joined Chloe Capital as an inaugural investor, and became a member of the firm’s Board of Directors earlier this year.

Inspired by the movement, Jean helped TEN launch the first Women’s Business Accelerator in Upstate NY. This exclusive experience for women started in September. The program’s focus is to drive profitability, and help scale companies focused on selling products and services beyond the Finger Lakes Region.

“The Entrepreneurs Network is an intense program that helps entrepreneurs build scalable companies through a proven curriculum, experienced coaching and powerful connections,” said Kase. “Out of over 20 successful cohorts, this is our first accelerator solely for women.

Chloe Capital partners Elisa Miller-Out and Kathryn Cartini will participate in TEN’s business accelerator for women entrepreneurs as mentors, speakers and judges.

Accelerators for women investors and entrepreneurs catalyze next initiative

The Entrepreneurs Network, powered by Imagine Monroe, is leading the Rochester collaboration with Chloe Capital. Activities include a pitch event for women-led companies, and unique workshops designed for women investors and male allies.

“This collaborative initiative fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs across New York State mentoring, connections and access to capital,” said Miller-Out. “We’ll also continue to educate and inspire investors to take action.”

Five women-led innovation companies will be selected out of an applicant pool of 1000 startups. Each will pitch their venture live to a panel of investors, who represent capital providers committed to gender parity in entrepreneurship. Tickets to the event are on sale now at CHLOESrochester.eventbrite.com.

“Our approach with Chloe Capital is unique in that unlike a business plan competition, women-led companies will actually pitch Chloe Capital and our co-investing partners for funding,” added Kase. “TEN and Imagine Monroe will also collaborate with Chloe to increase the number of women investors at the table, and provide access to future funding for women startups.”

Prior to the pitch event, investors will be invited to a full day of enrichment programming. Participants will receive insight on how to find deals, the power of building community and the ins and outs of term sheets. Accredited investors can apply for the workshop at chloecapital.com/tour.

“The power of having TEN champion the Rochester Event is sustainability,” said Kase. “New initiatives planned for 2019 will increase our reach and impact, by tapping new partners to ensure underrepresented founders and companies have access to the people, training and resources to spur innovation led growth throughout the Finger Lakes Region.”

The journey continues to get more women entrepreneurs funded

Chloe Capital will venture forward on its National Tour throughout 2019. Pitch events and investor workshops will be held in Boston, MA (January 11), Denver, CO (February 7), Chicago, IL (April 4) and Binghamton, NY (May 1).

Frontier tech companies will have the opportunity to pitch for funding and connections to our network of advisors, investors and business pros -> view startup application details. Sponsors will gain regional and national visibility. Investors will receive returns and insight on how to pay it forward. Together we’ll all further the movement to decrease the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Upstate NY Investor, Mentor Champions Movement to Advance Women Entrepreneurs2018-10-16T00:12:40+00:00

25 Women Leaders Pitch; 5 Companies Get Funded

Chloe Capital is searching for the best, investment-ready innovation companies in the country. We’re offering investors an opportunity to ‘do well and do good’ by supporting women entrepreneurs on our National Tour!

Tour Cities

  • ROCHESTER – Dec 4, 2018
  • BOSTON – Jan 11, 2019
  • DENVER – Feb 7, 2019
  • CHICAGO – April 4, 2019
  • BINGHAMTON – May 1, 2019

The countdown is on for startups, investors and sponsors to take action.

Apply Now: ChloeCapital.com/tour

Pitch Events

25 women leaders will pitch their ventures. Five will receive funding from Chloe Capital, plus the opportunity to pitch our network of co-investors. Investor capital will be de-risked across the five investments.

Chloe Capital is a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in women-led innovation companies. We focus on frontier technologies in rapidly growing markets, and seek diverse leadership teams.

Companies do not need to be located in these cities to pitch or receive an investment. However, if selected, be prepared to travel. Meeting our investors in person is a must!

Startup Application Details: Click here, it’s a really long link 🙂

Investor Workshops

Fueled by the success of our inaugural Women’s Investor Accelerator, Chloe Capital in partnership with our City Champions, will hold unique and exclusive workshops for investors.

All levels of experience welcome. You’ll gain insight and inspiration from the top leaders in venture capital and angel investing, tap into a network of your peers and benefit from a hands-on investing experience.

Help Chloe Capital decrease the gender gap in entrepreneurship by providing women-led companies access to more capital.

Join Our Movement: ChloeCapital.com/tour

 

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* Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available in select cities. Reach to Chloe Capital for details at ChloeCapital.com/contact

25 Women Leaders Pitch; 5 Companies Get Funded2018-10-15T23:59:13+00:00

The Power of Community – The story behind Chloe Capital’s new look

Meet the driving force behind Chloe Capital’s new website and branding!

Ewelina HoldredgeEwelina Zajac-Holdredge is the founder and creative director of IdeaKraft, a website development, packaging design and digital marketing agency with offices in Binghamton, NY and New Orleans, LA.

The Chloe Capital team met Ewelina through our work with nonprofit Upstate Venture Connect, when collaborating to strengthen entrepreneurial activity in the greater Binghamton area. A friendship was born, and soon after Ewelina joined Chloe Capital’s mission to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Idea Kraft has been a major supporter of Chloe Capital since our Women Investor’s Accelerator, and continues to help advance our movement through the redesign of our website: ChloeCapital.com.

Idea Kraft is a WBE, WOSB and EDWOSB Certified Woman Owned Business that works with a variety of clients, from early-stage startups, to global Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Idea Kraft is changing communities one branding at a time through Re-Kraft, a bi-annual event where the Idea Kraft team volunteers their time to rebrand a startup, non-profit or small business in New Orleans or Binghamton within 48 hours. Idea Kraft also hosts meetups for creative entrepreneurs, and recently launched Baseline Type, a resource for anyone looking to easily improve the typography on their website.

We applaud Ewelina’s unique vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Her award-winning design work has been recognized by many influential design organizations and media publications. How lucky are we to have such talent in our corner. Thank you Idea Kraft!

Chloe Capital | featured in Forbes

Chloe Capital Update

We’re feeling the love, friends! Since Chloe Capital announced our plan to travel around the country in search of the most promising women-led innovation companies, requests from community leaders interested in us stopping in their city has been tremendous. We’re currently in the planning stages with leaders in Binghamton, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Rochester, with conversations moving forward with Austin and San Francisco. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. We welcome your partnership and look forward to making the Chloe Capital Tour a true milestone in our mission to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Chloe Capital will be announcing our first tour location soon. Investors, Startups and Sponsors can apply to participate in the national tour now. You do not need to be located within a tour city to participate. Join the Chloe Capital Tour

The Power of Community – The story behind Chloe Capital’s new look2018-07-10T01:45:11+00:00

Invest outside your networks

Many Angels and VC’s invest in people they know, but what if your network isn’t diverse enough?

Originally published in Women 2.0.

 Photo courtesy of Pexels.com Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

There’s a phrase I hear in the venture capital world all the time: “Invest from your network; invest in people you know.” I get it. There needs to be a huge amount of trust between investors and entrepreneurs and what better way to establish trust than by reaching out to people in your networks through referrals and existing relationships? The problem is: what if your networks aren’t diverse enough? How many talented founders are getting overlooked, simply because they’re operating outside of certain networks?

I grew up in New Orleans, one of the more diverse cities in America. I lived in multi-ethnic neighborhoods and attended diverse public schools growing up. I’m lucky to have a big, sprawling family with members that span the gender, race, and sexual orientation spectrum. However, I still face challenges in making sure my network is diverse enough. As I’ve advanced my career in the technology, entrepreneurship and investing space, it’s been more of a challenge to maintain the level of diversity that I was accustomed to in my childhood. This is a journey and I’m the first to admit that I have more work to do.

In a global, digital economy, there’s no question that diversity is critical to success. I think that as investors, we need to find more creative ways to reach outside of our existing networks to find deals. The next wave of innovation may come from overlooked talent in unexpected places. This will mean stepping outside of our comfort zones more often. Most of us in the entrepreneurship space are already used to being bold, taking risks and trying new things, so this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

There are many organizations working on diversifying the entrepreneurship and innovation space and lots of opportunities to engage, whether it’s Women 2.0Digital UndividedLesbians Who TechBlack Girls CodePipeline AngelsLatina GeeksGirls Who CodeCode 2040 and more. We’re starting to document some of these resources on our site as well, so please feel free to share others with us and we’ll add them to our list.

There is still a need for groups that focus on moving the needle for certain demographics, but it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to identify directly with one of these categories to engage with these groups. Most are very inclusive of allies who want to be supportive of the diversity movement and who want to expand their networks. So, go to an event, or better yet, sponsor an event or offer to volunteer your time.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in achieving diversity in the entrepreneurship space and it’s everyone’s problem and everyone can and should be a part of the solution. I’ve been hearing from white men on our mailing list recently who are wondering if our movement is for them and are grappling with their role. The answer is simple: Yes — we all can play a role.

  1. Start expanding your networks.
  2. Step outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Hire more diverse talent.
  4. Fund diverse founders.
  5. Fund organizations working towards diversity in entrepreneurship.

There are now 56 ways to list your gender on Facebook. We live in an era in which gender, race, sexuality, and ability are more fluid than ever before. Breaking down these boundaries is exciting and can help us to build a thriving, innovative future for all. Enough talk. Let’s start with our actions and our money. #FundingForAll.

Join our program this fall to learn more about making an impact by investing in women entrepreneurs of all colors.

Invest outside your networks2018-06-19T15:19:46+00:00

Why invest in women?

Originally published by Women 2.0.

After a recent acquisition deal that freed up some of my time for new ventures, I thought a lot about where I want to put my focus and energy next. One idea emerged clear and strong: Invest in Women.

Multiple exposure shot of a young businesswoman superimposed over a city background at night

Why is this meaningful to me and why should it be important to all of us? By investing in women, we can make money, make an impact and create a better future for everyone.

A huge, untapped financial opportunity

The first goal of most investors is to make a financial return. The data shows that diverse teams perform better and yet, less than 10% of venture capital funding goes to companies with women on the founding teams. Even investors who are purely focused on financial gains, such as Kevin O’Leary from SharkTank admit that the data favors companies with female founders. Furthermore, women lead consumer spending and having their perspective on a founding team can be invaluable.

It’s projected that women will control 75% of discretionary spending around the world by 2028. (Boston Consulting Group)

I believe in diversifying our portfolio in the truest sense of the word. It’s time to transcend unconscious bias and build a portfolio that’s consciously inclusive of founders from different genders, races, sexual orientations, backgrounds and more.

Venture-backed, women-led tech firms bring in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech firms. (Kauffman Foundation)

A lack of diversity in many of today’s high growth companies is creating culture problems that are having an adverse effect on the bottom line. We’ve all heard the stories about Uber, Zenefits, and the list goes on. We can address that proactively by building and investing in companies that focus on diverse, healthy, thriving cultures at all stages.

A chance to make a real impact

Technology is creating tectonic shifts in nearly every industry and the pace of change is accelerating. If we’re going to create a thriving world that’s just and peaceful for all, it’s critical that we have diverse voices at the table defining what we create next and determining our approach. Are we entrusting humanity only to white college men in hoodies? Shouldn’t we have all genders, races and cultures building the future together? Who would want to live in a world in which mothers and grandmothers did not also have a voice?

A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community. (USAID)

Diverse teams create better products and user experiences. For instance, here is a recent story about a soap dispenser sensor that doesn’t recognize darker skin tones. Also, when women are not in the room, their needs are often overlooked and mistakes can be made that prove costly and in some cases, fatal. For decades, crash test dummies were only modeled after male bodies and more women were injured and killed in car accidents as a result.

As technology plays a more powerful role in healthcare, and as we add cyber enhancements to humans, what other mistakes will we make if we don’t have diverse perspectives in the innovation sector?

The thesis is simple: by investing in diverse teams now, we stand the best chance of building a prosperous and thriving future for all.

Why invest in women?2018-06-19T15:19:54+00:00