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While angel funding is most commonly used for startups, some investors do fund follow-on rounds of financing for established companies, says Stephanie Hanbury-Brown, founder and managing director of Golden Seeds, an angel network focused on investing in woman-owned businesses.
Hanbury-Brown started Golden Seeds because she noticed it's harder for female entrepreneurs to raise capital than males. She also had a long-term vision: "We need more companies owned and run by women so they can create an environment where women can get to the top and have sustainable careers at the top."
The companies Golden Seeds funds are typically founded by women who still hold C-level operating positions. Companies have usually received earlier funding but are valued at less than $5 million. Adds Hanbury-Brown, "They must have a scalable product, commercially viable business model and realistic exit strategy."
Enter Artemis Woman LLC, co-founded by Lisa P. Kable, 38, and Ann T. Buivid, 54, in Wilton, Connecticut. In 2002, the company began producing women's personal-care beauty appliances. After an early infusion of $350,000 from friends and family, the co-founders wanted to get their products into a mass-market retail environment--namely Wal-Mart.
In April 2005, they attended the Crossroads Venture Fair in Connecticut and presented their company to hundreds of investment professionals. Golden Seeds approached them at the fair and asked them to submit their business plan for formal review and to present at the group's angel meeting in New York City the following month.
Golden Seeds initially led a $669,000 investment in Artemis. When Kable and Buivid met with Wal-Mart--before an official purchase order was in hand--Golden Seeds led a $575,000 debt deal to finance inventory production.
When approaching angel investors, Kable suggests you: 1) start local and follow similar companies, 2) have a rock-solid pitch and business plan, and 3) persevere. "Raising money with angels is extremely time-consuming and exhausting," Kable adds.
With more people becoming angels and banding together in networks, Kable believes that angel money can be a viable source of expansion funding for the right company.
Want more information for and about women entrepreneurs? Go to womenentrepreneur.com.
Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, e-entrepreneur and author of eight books, including PowerTools for Women in Business. Her work can be found at mediaegg.com.
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