For Investors

Blue Per Aspera

Investor Pledge

Equality is our north star. We are eager to connect with an investor community equally as passionate to fundamentally evolve the venture landscape. We as investors subconsciously rely on our selection criteria based on patterns learned; Ad Astra Ventures aims to take the strengths of each investor and raise awareness & understanding of bias. We pledge to actively address and change bias in the investor ecosystem to positively build a legacy of influential investor leaders.

Investor Bootcamp

As investors ourselves, we’ve uncovered that we all carry unconscious biases that must be broken down in order to create an even playing field for women and minority founders seeking funding. As a result, we’ve developed a proprietary framework that helps investors implement an action plan for neutralizing their bias and achieving their goals, while funding deserving and diverse founders.

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Bobbie Lamont

“I have only positive feedback. Three things stand out: (1) the efficiency of the format and use of breakout sessions, (2) the Ad Astra signature positive and inclusive culture making everyone feel welcome and listened to & (3) the high level of innovation and strong teams among the cohort.”

Barbara (Bobbie) Silber Lamont, Maine Angels

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I support Ad Astra as a mentor, or as we like to say “mentor-investor”?2021-04-03T14:55:39+00:00

At Ad Astra, we are always on the lookout for experienced investors (albeit entrepreneurs turned investors, angel investors, micro VCs, venture capitalists, impact investors, etc.) who share our values of integrity, humility, others before self, integrity, and transparency. Each of our highly accomplished mentors-investors have made a positive difference in both Ad Astra Ventures and our portfolio companies. Please contact us at if you are interested in becoming a mentor.

How do I support Ad Astra as an investor?2021-04-04T14:42:19+00:00

We welcome anyone who is passionate about growing the community of investors who support & invest in diverse founders.  Opportunities abound! Please reach out to us at for more information on ways to contribute.

What happens in the investor bootcamp?2021-04-04T14:29:27+00:00

The goal of the “Close the Gap” Investor Bootcamp is to equip new, early, and experienced investors with a better understanding of how to maximize their portfolio returns. All this is to close the funding gap across the venture table – not only how many women founders receive funding but how many women investors fund startups. Aspiring and existing investors become keenly aware of investor biases, learn how to impact their own investment outcomes and act on newly developed skills through investor simulations with quality female founders.

This engaging bootcamp is a two-day immersive experience, help 2-3 hrs per day, where you will interact with other values-aligned & impact-driven investors, growing your personal network of investors and learn to embrace the Ad Astra Framework and Methodology to make better investment decisions.

A field study conducted on question-and-answer interactions at TechCrunch Disrupt New York City during 2010 through 2016 revealed that investors tend to ask male entrepreneurs promotion-focused questions and female entrepreneurs prevention-focused questions; entrepreneurs tend to respond with matching focus. (source: Academy of Management Journal)

The “Close The Gap” Investor Bootcamp at Women’s Venture Summit will give you unique tools to review and interact with companies differently – and the ability to see women-owned companies through a new lens.

Led by Ad Astra Ventures’ founders and experienced investors, Allison Long Pettine, Vidya Dinamani, and Silvia Mah, this event will teach investors how to improve their due diligence process and significantly change the way they interact with female-led companies. Based on significant research, combined investor relations experience, and practical lessons learned from the (1) Ad Astra Ventures Founders Accelerator, (2) Ad Astra Ventures “Get to Even” Founders Bootcamp, and (3) continual advising and championing current portfolio of companies, Allison, Vidya, and Silvia will share with you how they’ve modified their own investment process to reach for their north star of Equality across the venture table.

In summary:

  • 2 days, 6 hours total on Zoom (3 hours / day)
  • Unique curriculum written and taught by 3 Founding Partners
  • Sessions designed to recognize the patterns we as investors subconsciously rely on and how small actions can increase deal flow, diversify portfolios, and maximize returns
  • Investor simulations with Ad Astra Ventures portfolio companies and founder bootcamp alumni (highly curated)
  • Interactive discussions, case studies, and group insights to make the experience meaningful, insightful, and fun!

We are offering our virtual investor bootcamp at a reduced rate of $150.

You can feel good knowing that proceeds from this bootcamp go to our sister organization, Stella Labs, to help support scholarships for new women entrepreneurs.

What are the AAV partner’s favorite tool taught in the investor bootcamp?2021-04-04T14:01:26+00:00

During the “Close the Gap” Investor Bootcamp, we will explore tools that will equip you to better returns.

Allison Long Pettine’s favorite AAV tool: Be Curious

“As investors, we are discerning and skeptical by nature and so often we’re used to taking what founders say at face value or even discounting what we hear. I have found with female founders, what they say is often just scratching the surface of what the reality is, and by taking what they say without asking more is doing them and me a disservice.

I recall one time when a founder told me that she was in the early stages of her business and that she still had so much to do and a long way to go before investors would be interested. I mentally checked out and assumed her company was not strong enough for me to even consider investing. I ran into her a few weeks later and it came up in conversation that she was running pilots with a few well-known public companies. I had assumed she didn’t even have a product built the way she was describing her business and certainly didn’t think she had started conversations with potential customers. By not practicing curiosity, I made assumptions that hurt her chances of me investing in her. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized her reality was very different than the typical founder I was used to speaking with.”

Vidya Dinamani’s favorite AAV tool: Be Positive

“As an investor, we’re usually looking for a reason to say “no” because we have a high bar of what we want to put our money into. What I like about “be positive” is that it reminds me of the research that proves that I’m more inclined to say “no” to a woman because of implicit bias. I try and reframe my questions in a promotion light to draw out more information and help see the potential.”

Silvia Mah’s favorite AAV tool: Be Mindful

“Mindfulness has so many facets of strategic empathy to tactical temperaments. Of particular importance to me as a female investor is how mindfulness shows up in three ways: (1) empathy of the founder’s work-life dynamics (the female factor), (2) awareness of investor relations implications of stage/industry of startup (investor-founder dynamics), and (3) understanding the art & architecture/structure of product-market fit found primarily through mindfully understanding the ideal customer of the startup you are investing in. Being mindful of the founder’s personal and professional opportunities for growth allows the investor to truly be a champion for the founder; something we so uniquely do at Ad Astra Ventures.

When advising founders, I talk about how to equip them to be successful with the strengths they innate have and the constraints they have to live with. It’s about setting up trust  (the most valuable currency of investors) between the founder and investor, transparency is shared and thus, can really collaborate successfully on warm leads with investors, syndication opportunities as partnerships, and strategizing on growth milestones that are realistic with the resources, talent and team the startup has at their disposal. There are startups in particular that I have been blessed to work mindfully through pivots, growth, and multiple rounds of fundraising: Aquacycl, founded by Orianna Bretshner and Sekr (formerly The van life app), founded by Breanne Acio. Both startups started with Stella Labs, either taking our accelerator program or capitalizing on our access to capital events. We worked together on growth hacks with a full-picture view of market, life in general, industry trends, ad investor demand. I am a proud individual #angelinvestor in each. Then, Aquacycl became an Ad Astra Ventures portfolio company as Orianna met even more milestones, won the San Diego Angel Conference and received two rounds of funding from Next Wave Impact Fund. Orianna is mindfully coachable and is aware of investor trends and needs. Sekr, formerly The van life app, has been a long relationship as well, through pivots, accelerator wins, pitch competitions, and long discussions about culture, inclusivity and integrity as broader leadership conversations. Breanne is a quintessential tenacious founder, an advocate for other LGBTQ founders, and truly sought optimal product-market fit. She is now an alumna of TechStars Anywhere Accelerator and Ad Astra Ventures Bootcamp; she mindfully took advantage of all the resources, mentors and advisory hours.
What are people saying about the investor bootcamp?2021-04-04T14:04:58+00:00

You don’t have to take our word for it – here’s what our investors had to say about their “Close the Gap” bootcamp experience:

“The investor day and WVS were amazing! Now I’d like to start my journey in angel investing …” – Aspiring investor, 2019

“It has been very enlightening to see how my own gender biases translate into prejudices and can make me jump to conclusions, resulting in missed opportunities.” – Experienced investor, 2019

“Informative & substantive information presented. Founders were top notch!” – Investor, 2019

“It was a great opportunity to learn, share, and exchange perspectives. Ad Astra Ventures created a safe space to discuss some themes that can be controversial; the way they were presented was very effective. Great, fruitful discussions as well. Ad Astra did a terrific job selecting great female founders to pitch.” – Investor, 2019

Who is a good fit for the the investor bootcamp?2021-04-04T14:17:45+00:00

Whether you’re new to investing and want to start off with your best foot forward – or you’re an experienced investor who wants to add more women to their portfolio – you’ll learn and practice tools that will help you change the way you view entrepreneurs at the AAV investor bootcamp.

Qualities and mindset of our investor network of alumni include those investors who are:

  • Curious about learning new tools and frameworks that lead to a better understanding of how to maximize your portfolio returns.
  • Craving community of values-aligned investor whose values include integrity, transparency, and equality
  • Impact-driven to invest in startups that will positively change the world
  • Driven to get to even (equal representation of women founders and women investors across the venture table)
How many people will be in the investor bootcamp?2021-04-04T14:33:28+00:00

The investor bootcamp will have a maximum of 30 investors (typically between 15-25) and a portion of each day will be spent in a mini-cohort of 4-5 people intentionally grouped by stage (angel or VC) and/or industry (investing in AI, impact consumer product).  We set our standards extremely high and are constantly blown away by the quality of investors who attend. Get ready for interactive discussions, case studies, and group insights that make the experience meaningful, insightful, and fun!

Please note: this investor bootcamp is open to all genders, so we welcome all members of our investor global network to inquire to join us,

How much does the investor bootcamp cost?2021-04-04T14:32:00+00:00

We are offering our virtual investor bootcamp at a reduced rate of $150 (subject to change closer to August 2021).

You can feel good knowing that proceeds from this bootcamp go to our sister organization, Stella Labs, to help support scholarships for new women entrepreneurs.

Typically associated with the Womens Venture Summit, there are discounted bundles for tickets, so check out the event website.

What is so special about Ad Astra for investors?2021-04-04T15:02:16+00:00

Ad Astra Ventures’ north star is equality; we invest for equality because we have seen first-hand that it’s in short supply. Our investment takes many forms—time, money, experience, relationships, heart—all in an effort to close the gap and get to even.

We seek investors who are values-aligned (integrity, curiosity, transparency, boldness) and impact-driven (aligned to the UN SDGs). We build our network mindfully.

“At Ad Astra Ventures, we are committed to investing in great companies led by women. The most resilient founders are not slowing down despite current events. We seek to help investors overcome their unconscious biases to ensure the best companies get the funding they need to thrive. We need investors who want to maximize their portfolio returns through a conscious capital approach: investing for impact, activating new capital through strong networks driven towards diversity, and leaving a legacy of innovative startups on a mission to change the world.”

— Dr. Silvia Mah, Ad Astra Ventures Partner

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