Golden Seeds Seeks to Plant Angel Funds For Women Founders in Houston
Houston—Golden Seeds, an angel investing community that focuses on funding women entrepreneurs, has opened a chapter in Houston.
The New York-based group now has six chapters around the country who have invested $150 million in 105 companies since it was founded in 2005.
Loretta McCarthy, Golden Seeds’ managing partner, says the need for the organization is just as great today as it was 13 years ago. “Women entrepreneurs are doing a lot of interesting things in many different ways, but they are not getting funded at a reasonable rate.”
Last year, all-women teams got $1.9 million, or 2.2 percent, of the total $85 million invested by venture firms, according to PitchBook. All-men teams received nearly 80 percent of the funding, or $66.9 billion. (The remainder was given to mixed teams or those whose gender makeup was not determined.)
“We’ve always felt that if we were going to find the best women founders that we needed to have a local presence,” McCarthy says. “Unlike men, women just can’t pick up their lives and move to Silicon Valley or Boston of New York. Women are starting businesses all over the country and we need to go find them.”
Golden Seeds is a network of about 300 angel investors (20 percent of the group are men) that offer women founders office hours and other mentoring that could lead to funding from Golden Seeds mentors. In Houston, Golden Seeds joins a few other groups dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs, such as Alice, a virtual accelerator that uses artificial intelligence tools to connect founders with resources they need. In addition, Houston Angel Network managing director Juliana Garaizar is an active member of Portfolia, which also steers angel investment into women-led startups.
A Dallas chapter of Golden Seeds was opened in 2011. The other branches of Golden Seeds are located on the east and west coasts. In Houston, Golden Seeds is working with the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, which will host the angel investors’ events.
In addition to hands-on mentoring and possible funding, Houston founders get access to Golden Seeds’ national network, McCarthy says. “We often say we are trying to create the conditions so that women entrepreneurs will have serious opportunities to present their plans, be listened to, and treated respectfully,” she adds.