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Women Backing Women: Investor Gail Ball

This month we’re celebrating women backing women. We’re introducing you to women investors who are getting behind female entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas.

Gail Ball

Who Am I?

I’m a compassionate, curious advocate whose first language is math. Until I came to VC, I was a tech and operations leader in some of the largest financial institutions, both public and private. Currently, I am Senior Partner of AVG’s Women’s Fund and Founding Managing Partner of Chestnut Street Ventures.

Companies We’ve Backed

  • Ellevest – digital investment platform for women, co-founded by Wall Street icon Sally Krawchek
  • HatchApps – online platform enabling businesses to create and deploy apps without writing code, co-founded by Amelia Friedman, Forbes 30 under 30
  • Getaround – technology for remote vehicle access, monitoring, diagnostics and control, co-founded by Jessica Scorpio

Why I Invest in Women

We created AVG Women’s Fund to invest in great deals as measured by their projected financial outcomes for investors. This fund layers on the filter of supporting women (UN SDG 5,) the global sustainable development goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women) and supporting women founders because the data is irrefutable: women founders/co-founders do more with less and deliver greater returns than all-male teams, whether you are looking at venture or public markets.  We all do better together by investing in women.

My Tip for Women Seeking Investment

Pick a number – a non-gendered, easy to understand value – that is pertinent to telling the story you want and need to tell to inspire others to support your business. Remember, the venture investors you’re pitching are wired for numbers. This number could be one that you want to work toward, or one you want to change.

For example, a company at the intersection of wearables and digital mental health simply began their pitch with the number 20. The founder stated that 20 is the number of veterans who commit suicide every day in the U.S. The company was founded to drive that number to zero.

You will then use that number to build your pitch. Investors will follow along with your story because you are using their language, speaking to their concerns. You’ve demonstrated inclusion this way (we share the same worldview). In doing so, you give everyone involved a chance to do right by doing good work.

About the author

Natasha Zena

Around age eight Natasha Zena was told it was a woman’s job to take care of the home and since then she has built a career out of telling women they can do whatever the hell they want to do. She is the co-founder of Lioness, the go-to news source for everything female entrepreneur. Natasha was recognized as an emerging leader in digital media by The Poynter Institute and the National Association of Black Journalists. She has mentored women entrepreneurs and moderated panels at a number of national accelerators, Startup Weekends and conferences such as The Lean Startup Conference, the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Women Empower Expo and Smart Cities Connect. Natasha is also the author of the popular whitepaper, "How To Close The Gender Gap In Startup Land By 2021." In her spare time, she writes short fiction and hangs out with her son, Shaun.

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