A Rundown of the 2013 NYC Pipeline Fellowship Conference

The blizzard of 2013 did not get in the way of Goodwin Procter hosting the Pipeline Fellowship Conference at our New York offices on February 8, 2013. Approximately 70 people, nearly all women, participated in the event aimed at teaching women philanthropists how to become angel investors.

The conference kicked off the term for yet another group of Pipeline Fellows, who over the next few months will learn the basics of angel investing and will each ultimately contribute $5,000 in order to make a collective angel investment in a women-led for-profit social venture.

Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship and Goodwin Procter partner Christopher Austin gave opening remarks, followed by always-informative presentations by lead instructor Susan Preston of the Angel Resource Institute with panel discussions interspersed throughout the day.

Adam Quinton of Golden Seeds moderated and Lauren Maillian Bias of Gen Y Capital Partners and Kathleen Utecht of Comcast Ventures participated in a panel on angel investing in action.

Brittany Haas, Founder of Happily Ever BorroWED (a former recipient of Pipeline Fellows investment), moderated a due diligence panel which included William Crowder of DreamIt Ventures and Comcast Ventures Opportunities Fund, Brian Cohen of New York Angels, Bonny Moellenbrock of Investors’ Circle and yours truly, associate at Goodwin Procter.

The audience asked us, “2012 was the year of the ______, and what will 2013 bring?” We agreed that 2012 was the year of angel and venture money going into businesses aimed at selling things in a pretty box (like Birchbox). We also discussed 2012 as year where start-ups had big aspirations, but many had trouble raising significant funds, and that we hoped 2013 would bring bigger investments.

A third panel discussion on structuring the deal was moderated by Nithya Das, legal counsel to Appnexus (and Goodwin alum!), with Laurel Touby, founder of Mediabistro.com, William Crowder and Goodwin partner Breck Hancock as participants.

During lunch, I met some of the enthusiastic new Pipeline Fellows. Pipeline fellow Barbara Clarke and I bonded over our shared alma mater (Go Tufts Jumbos!) and involvement in the ed-tech space, and Virginie Henry, consultant at Deloitte, and I discussed women’s issues in consulting and law. I also met several entrepreneurs including Suzanne McKenzie, Founder and CEO of Able Made, an online boutique for sustainably made crafts.

As the day went on, and the snow fell heavier and faster, we learned more from Susan Preston about valuation methodologies. Finally, a fifth panel on the post-investment relationship, moderated by Rachel Sklar, founder of Change the Ratio and The Li.st, rounded out the day. Panelists included Goodwin Procter partner Paul Cicero, Ayah Bdeir, Founder of littleBits, Jalak Jobanputra of FuturePerfect Ventures and Jeanne Sullivan of Starvest Partners.

Unfortunately, the snow got in the way of holding a closing reception, but I walked away from the conference and into the snowy abyss with a renewed excitement for the future of women in angel investing!

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