What $100 million means to women entrepreneurs

Jo Ann Corkran, managing partner of Golden Seeds

November 9, 2017

Earlier this year, Golden Seeds marked a $100 million milestone. That’s the amount of funding our network of angel investors has infused into women-led companies since 2005. While it’s a notable moment for our organization, it matters far beyond our doors.

Among the 100 million reasons why this is significant are these:

Angel investors drive company growth.

There are approximately 300,000 angel investors in the U.S. evaluating early-stage companies. They put their own capital into about 65,000 companies every year, and they account for $21 billion worth of annual startup investments. Along the way, these seed investors take scores of meetings (ours have participated in thousands of such meetings), and they give generous amounts of advice and support to entrepreneurs — even the ones in which they don’t ultimately invest.

Before 2005, little of that support went to women-led startups. Such companies comprised only 3 percent of those that got funded in 2004. Ten years later, women entrepreneurs accounted for 22 percent of all companies that earned funding. That steady increase correlates with a similar increase happening among angel investors, more and more of whom are women.

A rising number of angel investors are women.

It takes a diverse group of investors to spot a diverse group of promising, early-stage businesses. In the years that Golden Seeds has been working toward its $100 million landmark, we were also pulling more women into our network and into the broader world of angel investing.

Eighty percent of our investors are women — most of whom had never invested in startups before joining Golden Seeds. The opportunity to invest with the purpose of creating an environment that highlights high-potential, women-led companies unleashed considerable capital for female entrepreneurs.

In the years since Golden Seeds’ creation, women grew from 5 percent of angel investors nationwide to 26 percent. This means that there are nearly 80,000 women angels in the US. This is a substantial, positive development for all entrepreneurs, but for women entrepreneurs, in particular.

More seed investments are reaching women-led companies.

Women entrepreneurs are everywhere, in every sector, leading businesses that warrant investment. However, they previously did not have the opportunity to present their plans for the serious consideration of angel investors.

The men and women of the Golden Seeds network — 650 of them over the years — have changed that reality for the nearly 150 women-led companies in which we’ve invested, as well as for more than 3,200 companies overall that have applied to Golden Seeds for investment consideration.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of $100 million worth of investment for these companies is the leverage they gain to raise more money in later funding rounds and accelerate their growth. The companies that are included in the $100 million have gone on to raise more than $750 million more in capital, thanks in part to Golden Seeds’ due diligence, which enables syndication, as well as the post-investment support of introductions, advisory and board positions, and follow-on capital from our investor network.

Early money and leadership creates momentum, and it’s been very satisfying to know that Golden Seeds has played a role in the initial stages of so many promising businesses.


Learn more about Golden Seeds companies and how women entrepreneurs are achieving success with Golden Seeds.