Pipeline Angels: The Female Investors Helping Women Entrepreneurs

March 1, 2019

By Carlo Versano

The gender gap in Silicon Valley is no secret. But for women of color who are looking to tap into the startup boom, the barriers to entry are even greater. Only about 1 percent of angel investors are women of color. That's something Pipeline Angels is working to change.

Tawana Murphy-Burnett, global marketing leader for Facebook ($FB), moonlights as a member, investor, and board member of the national network of female investors whose goal is to boost other female founders.

Murphy-Burnett told Cheddar it's a "collaborative learning model" for women ー particularly minority women ー to get their business ideas backed and funded.

Pipeline Angels makes a point to seek out female founders beyond the bubble of northern California: "Everything's not in Silicon Valley," she said, and not all seed money comes from "white guys in hoodies" cutting fat checks.

Murphy-Burnett said Pipeline Angels specifically looks for business ideas solving an actual problem in the marketplace and evaluates them on market fit, the founder's passion, and who is already backing them. "A lot of times you're investing in the person," she said.

Her advice to young female entrepreneurs is to get over the "invisibility factor" that is especially familiar for women of color, and to stop waiting for the perfect moment to take the jump with their world-changing idea. "There really isn't one."

Hungry for more stories of female representation in business? Cheddar has turned into ChedHER all day Friday in partnership with JPMorgan Chase to focus on stories of women innovators like Tawana Murphy-Burnett. Find their stories here.

For full interview click here.