The “Gender Bias in Angel Investing” Webinar, organised by the EBAN Gender Community, captivated international audiences. This event, held in preparation for the European Angel Investment Summit, provided a forum to discuss a critical issue in the world of investment: gender bias. With an emphasis on actionable strategies, this webinar aimed to unveil the “how” behind mitigating gender bias in angel investing. Let’s delve into the main learnings and takeaways from this insightful session:
1. A Shift from “Why” to “How”:
The webinar’s distinctive focus on “how” to combat gender bias distinguished it from previous discussions that had primarily explored the “why.” Selma Prodanovic, Vice President of EBAN, underscored the importance of advancing gender equity within angel investing. The event also marked the launch of the EBAN Manifesto for a Gender-Balanced Angel Investing Ecosystem, advocating the manifold benefits of having women co-investors and investing in female-led startups.
2. Insights from the Speakers:
– Gabriele Tatzberger (Head of Startup Services at Vienna Business Agency): Gabriela expounded on her role as the Director of Startup Services at the Vienna Business Agency, which is committed to supporting local and international startups through grants, real estate, and services. Importantly, the agency places diversity and inclusivity at the heart of its mission.
– David Fogel (Co-founder of Alma Angels): David shared the mission of Alma Angels, focusing on tech-driven and IP-driven startups with ambitious women at the helm. Alma Angels operates as a community where individual angels make investment decisions, with a strong emphasis on sharing deal flow to broaden investor access.
– Cécile Sevrain (Co-founder & Head of Impact Measurement and Management, TIIME): Cécile highlighted the work of TIIME, an impact catalyst specialising in impact investing with a focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI). She underscored the significance of recognizing and addressing personal biases and the need for diversity among investors.
3. Tools and Initiatives to Overcome Gender Bias:
– Unconscious Bias Training: Gabriela discussed the Vienna Business Agency’s use of an unconscious bias tool to raise awareness among team members and jury members about biases that may influence their decision-making processes.
– The Role of Empathy: Cécile introduced immersive experiences that facilitate individuals’ ability to empathise with the challenges faced by others, particularly those tied to gender diversity.
– Transparency and Data: David emphasised the crucial role of transparent data related to gender diversity within startups and investment firms. He recommended resources such as Suzanne Beagle’s work, which maps investment funds focusing on women-led startups.
– Educational Programmes: The webinar introduced the SUPERNOVAS Business Angel Training program, set to launch in October. This program offers investors a valuable opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.
4. Challenges and Future Directions:
– Transparent Data and Action-Oriented Initiatives: Addressing gender bias necessitates transparent data, action-oriented initiatives, and systemic changes. The challenge lies in driving comprehensive change in an environment marked by deeply ingrained biases.
– The Complexity of Gender Bias: While progress is being made, addressing gender bias in angel investing remains complex. Initiatives to promote inclusivity and diversity should extend beyond just investing in women; they should include all underrepresented groups.
The “Gender Bias in Angel Investing” webinar provided a global stage for a crucial conversation about gender bias in angel investing. By focusing on actionable strategies and insights, it offered a deeper understanding of how to combat this issue effectively. As the world of angel investing evolves, these lessons serve as a beacon, guiding the way toward a more equitable and diverse investment landscape. While challenges persist, the commitment to inclusivity and diversity in angel investing is stronger than ever.