When it comes to entrepreneurial investing, the incredibly talented women on this list are actively reshaping the landscape for the better. Throughout their domains — from angel to impact investing — they are innovating traditional approaches to backing early-stage companies, busting norms, and establishing new metrics for success. They not only represent the new face of investing, but they also have bold visions for its broader future.
Arguably one of the most prolific angel investors of our time, Joanne Wilson has invested in over 100 entrepreneurial companies over the past 10 years, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs. Based in New York City, Joanne has been a tremendous force in turning the city into one of the leading innovation hubs in the world for startups, and an especially inviting location for women. Joanne’s Gotham Gal blog is a must-read, and she has nearly 28,000 followers on Twitter seeking guidance on investing in innovative companies.
Barbara Clarke has become an emerging force on the Boston innovation scene. No less than Flybridge General Partner Jeff Bussgang recognized her as one of a handful of Boston-based Super Angels, having backed 30+ companies in the past five years. A noted economist and community activist, Barbara also co-founded The Impact Seat. Barbara is a Venture Partner in two Portfolia Funds: The Rising Tide Fund and Portfolia Enterprise Fund. Of note is Barbara’s deep investment portfolio that includes people of color, which she sees as one of the most attractive growth areas for venture investment.
Dr. Judith Rodin has been a global leader in many fields throughout her illustrious career as the first woman president of an Ivy league school at the University of Pennsylvania, the first woman president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and as a noted research psychologist at Yale. On the boards of Citigroup, Aetna, and Comcast, she’s been a barrier breaker in business. She brought impact investing to top institutions across the world and is on the forefront of changing venture investing for women with the view that “Finance is the New Feminism.”
No one has a broader network or expertise in investing than Shereen Shermak. Shereen invests personally and through Launch Angels, always testing new models with funds specializing in women, LGBT individuals, people of color, as well as a technology-focused syndicate in the Southeast U.S. A graduate of Duke and MIT, Shereen brings her business-building acumen as she backs emerging entrepreneurs across industries.
Bethann Kassman was one of the earliest and most successful cross-border angel investors, investing in and mentoring a line-up of top entrepreneurs in both Europe and the U.S. As CEO of Go Beyond Network, she has served as the U.S. partner of this strategic alliance of angel investors since 2009 and is a founding member of the Rising Tide Fund and Portfolia Enterprise Fund. One of her latest investments, OtoSense, founded in France and now based in the US, just scored a big exit just 24 months after her early stage investment.
Melissa Bradley is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sidecar Social Finance, a social impact agency that provides impact investing advisory and capital services to individuals, institutions, and social enterprises. Melissa served as a Presidential Appointee under Presidents Clinton and Obama. She has secured over $20 million in public-private partnerships, which we see as one of the most innovative ways to bring government funding, social impact and investing together for change.
Family offices are becoming major players in the world of venture investing. Wake Stream Ventures, where Kim Pasquino is an investing partner, has become a role model for family offices building out world-class investing teams. Starting out as investors to support their local Grand Rapids, Michigan community, Wake Stream Ventures has expanded to back 35 companies from New York to San Francisco. 40% of those companies are led by women, not because of a gender thesis, but because they’re backing top experienced teams.
No one’s star has shined brighter during the past year than budding New York investor Lorine Pendelton’s. With an early career as an entertainment Lawyer, Lorine is now a full time investor and coach to founders and ultra high net-worth investors through Tiger 21. Lorine has been featured in major national publications including Worth Magazine, Marie Claire and Essence, among others. She’s a Pipeline Fellow and will be founding Venture Partner of the upcoming Portfolia Inclusion Fund.
Adrienne Penta is a Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the Brown Brothers Harriman Center for Women & Wealth (CW&W). Adrienne is among the most visionary leaders in the more traditional world of investing. She has become a force for change in how women are viewed by their investment advisors and counseled in their financial affairs. As important, she has become a ‘god-mother’ and partner to individuals and organizations that are innovating in the national investing landscape for women.
Nathalie Molina Niño is the CEO of BRAVA Investments and the writer of Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs. She is committed to delivering returns to investors while making a catalytic impact on women in the world. A technologist and coder by training, Nathalie is a consummate entrepreneur, and a storyteller at heart. She is the co-host of GREENBACKS, a podcast by Green Matters that explores how sustainable sustainability really is.
Rachel Sheinbein is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Makeda Capital, investing in public companies with female CEOs. She is also an active angel investor in companies such as Goldieblox, Social Imprints, Aspiration, Thrive Natural Care, Other Machine Company, Scan (acquired) and PV Evolution Labs (acquired). Before she launched Makeda, she was a Partner at CMEA Capital, a venture capital firm with more than $1.2 billion under management, investing in Clean Technology.