Four years ago this week, we founded #ANGELS, an angel investing collective focused on backing incredible founders with bold ideas. We thought our operational experience in building great companies such as Twitter, Netflix, Google and Slack would serve our founders well as they scaled and grew their businesses. We’ve backed entrepreneurs tackling a wide variety of challenges in a broad set of industries from marketplaces to transportation to healthcare to infrastructure to aerospace.
While investing, we quickly realized that we had a broader mission: to get more women on the cap tables of successful companies.
The cap table (or capitalization table) is the document that shows the ownership structure of a company and reveals who will make money when a company goes public or is acquired — it is the roadmap to wealth and power in Silicon Valley. If women have a disproportionately low share of startup equity, it follows they also are capturing only a small fraction of the industry’s wealth and power creation.
In 2015, #ANGELS started hosting a series of events and conversations to build community, diversify networks and include and promote more women in technology. To get more women on cap tables of successful start-ups, we needed to support women breaking into networks that they may not always be accessible to them. We’ve had discussions about investing, operating expertise, founding companies, negotiating and more hosted by leaders and visionaries such as Jack Dorsey, Max Levchin, Gloria Steinem, Patrick Collison, & Maggie Neale.
We also realized that you can’t improve what you can’t measure so #ANGELS teamed up with Carta for a first of its kind study: #TheGapTable. The report measured cap table data of more than 6000 companies and quickly confirmed our hypothesis.
Women make up 33% of the workforce but hold just 9% of that equity value. This study has been a tipping point in the industry to think about not only measuring and diversifying your representation in the workforce, but also by measuring and diversifying who stands to profit from your companies.
In parallel, we asked ourselves, “Are there founders and products that we can invest in to help close #TheGapTable?” It was time to put our #Gapital to work. To that end, we’ve invested in the following companies who are building products that help address gaps in compensation, equity and opportunity:
- Carta’s vision is to create more owners, and increase liquidity and transparency between them. They help private companies, public companies, and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments and equity plans. On Carta, you can add custom properties that include gender and other information about your shareholders to analyze the data. In addition, Carta has taken numerous steps to measure and fix their own gaps in their own cap table. (April Underwood, Chloe Sladden, Jana Messerschmidt & Katie Stanton invested in Carta)
- Compa.as is a compensation analytics and planning platform which gives employers a comprehensive overview of employee’s entire compensation, including salary and equity. Compaas does all the hard math so you can easily see how compensation is distributed by gender as well as ethnicity and intersectionality. (Jana Messerschmidt & Katie Stanton invested in Compaas)
- Lambda School trains people online to be software engineers at no upfront cost. Instead of paying tuition, students agree to pay 17% of their income after they’re employed (but only if they’re making $50k/year) for the first two years. 66% of their students come from populations that are underrepresented in tech. Lambda School makes jobs with equity accessible to those who previously wouldn’t have had access. (Chloe Sladden, Jana Messerschmidt, Katie Stanton & Vijaya Gadde invested in Lambda School)
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