North Carolina’s first female-focused angel investment group officially launched this week. xElle Ventures is a for-women, by-women angel investor network that already counts over 10 women entrepreneurs and executives as backers.
Entrepreneur and investor Robbie Hardy is serving as chairman of xElle Ventures. Nearly two decades ago she tried to get a female-focused investment group off the ground in North Carolina, but she says, “it was too early” for the ecosystem.
Upon her return to North Carolina in 2017, she decided to try again, putting together a group of like-minded women to lead an angel investment group. The founders of xElle Ventures are a mix of experienced and new angel investors.
Hardy shares that only 10 percent of those making the funding decisions in venture capital today are women. Therefore, only a paltry 2.2 percent of venture dollars have gone to women.
“We not only want to support women entrepreneurs, but also expand the network of women angel investors in the state. We aspire to become one of the most active venture networks backing female entrepreneurs in North Carolina,” Hardy tells Hypepotamus.
The syndicate will invest in early-stage startups with checks of $20,000-$100,000.
They are industry-agnostic provided the company has at least one female founder. Hardy says their main criteria is strong leaders that display confidence and coachability.
In addition to capital, the organization will also provide marketing and mentorship resources.
“I meet female entrepreneurs on a regular basis who want and need to raise capital for their business, but they don’t fit the target profile for most investors. This doesn’t mean they don’t have great businesses or great ideas,” Jennifer Turnage, CEO of startup myBeeHyve and a founding member of xElle Ventures, tells Hypepotamus.
“I also meet experienced and financially successful women who would like to mentor others and make investments themselves. xElle Ventures brings the two groups together.”
Turnage says that xElle Ventures lines up with her “personal mission of empowering women to achieve financial independence through entrepreneurship.”
The xElle model of debt-based financing widens their investment options.
“We’re able to invest in women founders where building a company to sell within 10 years may not be their top priority. Instead, they may be interested in building a profitable business that can operate independently for decades,” says Turnage.
xElle Ventures is now accepting applications from startups in the North Carolina area.