When pondering the reasons for my deep passion around equality, I consistently define that the investors who most align with my values-based approach to investing value capital efficiency, understand product-market fit and are curious. However, female investors continue to experience endemic barriers in investor networks & access to investor opportunities.  This funding gap is across the venture table, with about 9% of venture partners being female and 2.3% of female founders receiving VC funding. I am not here to discuss why the gender gap exists or how we can get to even as a collective (that is for another article), or the frustrations that come with being the only woman in the room. Instead, I took a proactive approach, looking into our investor-mentors at Ad Astra Ventures and the investors who syndicate and partner with us. I found some commonalities amongst these high achieving, great funders, the skillsets females (in general) have that help when assessing early stage deals.  There are 3 particular skills that I believe women are more inclined to have that help make them make early stage investment decisions.

 

  1. Discernment.  Most females are pretty good judges of character.  I know many men who have their wives meet potential business partners in order to get a “moral” read on someone before inking a deal.  In the early stages of investing, one of the most important factors in success is the team.  I personally look for a founder (or founders) who is tenacious, committed, and of course, qualified.  But beyond that, I have to like them.  I have to want to work with them.  And they have to possess a lot of other qualities that some may not think are vital in business, such as humility, coachability, and the ability to admit when they are wrong.  Because women are used to assessing (or judging, in some cases) both others and themselves on a regular basis, we are able to quickly come to a conclusion on whether betting on the person and their potential is a bet worth making.  And we are right more often than not.
  2. Awareness.  Women inherently are much more aware of their surroundings and pick up on non-verbal cues very well.  This allows us to see past what someone may be saying and read into what they are not saying.  In the early stages of a company where there are so many unknowns, sometimes the most important piece of information you can gather to make your decision is by reading between the lines.  
  3. Active Listening.  We hear everything.  And we actually let people finish talking before barging in.  Sometimes we don’t speak up enough.  In the case of investing, this can be a big asset.  Active listening allows us to put our own agenda aside and hear all of what is being said, instead of hearing what you want to hear.  The latter can be dangerous as you may end up investing in a team that is running things differently than you perceived.


What are some other traits that make up a good early-stage investor?

  1. Curiosity
  2. Ability to focus on the big picture
  3. Pattern recognition
  4. Not afraid to say no

What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts on how a woman’s natural skills can benefit her as an investor.  Connect with Ad Astra Ventures and lets discuss.