PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the Portland area last year, women-founded startups raised just 2% of venture capital.
Some experts say it’s because there’s a lack of women investors at various firms. A group called Pipeline Angels is trying to change that.
Goumi Kids founder Lili Yeo helped create products for her startup business, which is based in Beaverton.
“She saw these baby mittens on my baby’s hands I told her they’re made poorly but I really needed them. She said she had ideas of baby essentials but she just didn’t know how to take it to market,” Yeo said. “And I said you know, that’s what I do for a living.”
Yeo was a marketing executive at Nike but decided to launch her own business with earth-friendly and practical clothing for babies — including mittens that don’t slide off.
“There’s just a lot of people, especially women, who weren’t getting a whole lot of funding, which seemed — the analytical part of me felt like it’s inefficient,” Pipeline Angel investor Kathleen Poe said. “Right people with great ideas but they couldn’t get the funds they needed to grow.”
Poe is among the nearly 400 Pipeline Angels who have invested around $6 million in women and non-binary, femme-led businesses. She belongs to the cohort in the Portland area that invested in Goumi.
“I think what’s great about this type of program is, for $5,000 as an initial difference, which isn’t nothing, but it’s not huge, you can make a difference,” Poe said.
Pipeline not only helps people like Yeo find investors, but it also trains people like Pie to become investors.
It all comes down to a pitch session, where Yeo says she got two minutes to make her case.
Since getting support from Pipeline, Yeo has grown her business, which is now on Amazon, in Buy Buy Baby stores and even Target.com.