Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Our Ask An Angel series speaks with angels and investors involved in early stage deals. It explores all angles of what founders need to know as they seek funding to grow their scalable businesses. In our second installment we speak with Ife Babatunde, Agency Lead for LinkedIn. Ife specializes in strategic partnerships with advertising and media agencies. Here she talks about why she got into angel investing and what she looks for in an investment.
How did you get into angel investing; what drove your fascination from an early age?
I got involved in angel investing by participating in Pipeline Angels’ signature angel investing bootcamp. Workshops are conducted on topics ranging from due diligence, valuation, portfolio strategies, and impact measurement. Participants are connected with seasoned angel investors, VCs and impact investing professionals who share best practices and lessons learned.
Through Pipeline Angels, my first angel investment was in Hurry Home, a startup that aims to turn renters into homeowners through shared ownership. Homeownership is the primary way to build wealth in America, however, people who are credit invisible and do not have FICO scores cannot get approved for mortgages and therefore are excluded from building wealth through home equity. Hurry Home offers an alternative to traditional mortgage financing, providing a path to home ownership for those excluded from the mortgage market.
What is your current role and company?
I work at LinkedIn and am responsible for leading strategic partnerships with some of our largest advertising and media agencies. My job is to evangelize LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and to help advise agencies and their clients on how to best leverage our platform to drive business growth. I love working for a purpose-driven company whose vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
What exactly is Pipeline Angels?
Pipeline Angels is a network of new and seasoned investors who are changing the face of angel investing by creating capital for women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs. Our members often serve as the ‘friends and family round’ for entrepreneurs who may not have the support or networks, providing capital injection at that critical early stage.
What are some of the reasons you were drawn to socially conscious investments, via Pipeline?
I believe how we invest our money reflects our values. There is a funding gap that currently exists for entrepreneurs. Of the over $100 billion in venture money invested in the United States, less than 3% goes to female founders and less than 0.5% goes to black female founders. This is a huge missed opportunity. One of Hurry Home’s founders, Jada McLean, is a black woman. I love that I am helping to support an underrepresented founder and close the funding gap through my investment.
What is a piece of advice for beginner angel investors?
If you are just starting out, consider investing in a group alongside other angel investors. This will allow you to collaborate on deal screening, due diligence and support of the business post-investment. Joining an angel group can also be a great way to build your network and gain access to deal flow for future investments.
What are some of the most important things that you’ve learned since working with Pipeline?
Angel investing is about much more than writing a check to an entrepreneur at an early stage. The financial capital aspect is important, but so is the human capital and social capital that angel investors offer - human capital in terms of the skill sets and professional experience that angel investors can bring to a startup and social capital in terms of the connections and networking opportunities they can provide as well. All three types of capital are needed to help early stage startups succeed.
Thank you, Ife!
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