Female Philanthropists: Angels in Training

Natalia Oberti Noguera was just 8 years old and living in Latin America when she realized that being born female meant she would likely face limitations that boys would not.

Today, the Yale- and Columbia-educated Oberti Noguera, 29, is founder of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel-investing boot camp for female philanthropists that aims to increase capital for and diversity among entrepreneurs. The fellowship, founded in 2010, pairs 10 participants with experienced angel investors in a six-month training program that culminates with each participant investing $5,000 in a women-led company of their mutual choosing in exchange for an equity stake.

In 2011, 12 percent of angel investors were women and 4 percent were minorities, while women made up 12 percent of the entrepreneurs seeking funding from angel investors, she says.

“Obviously, there’s a business case for diversity,” says Oberti Noguera, explaining that more voices and different ways of thinking result in greater innovation and decision-making. Yet some well-known (and mostly white male) venture capitalists have been quoted saying they often choose “someone who looks like me” when deciding how to invest, she says.

Oberti Noguera isn’t daunted by that way of thinking. “It represents a really great growth opportunity” for Pipeline Fellowship, she says.

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