Making Angels: The Pipeline Fund Announces 2011 Fellows

The New York-based Pipeline Fund, which aims to increase the number of women who become angel investors and social entrepreneurs in the U.S., today announced its inaugural class of Pipeline Fund Fellows and mentors (listed at the end of this post).

The Pipeline Fund Fellowship accepted ten women who are influencers in their fields, and have a track record of charitable giving. Together, they will go through a six-month “boot camp” in New York, learning how to route some of their wealth into angel deals, that will score them an equity stake in for-profit, for-good businesses.

The founder and chief executive of the Pipeline Fund, Natalia Oberti Noguera (image below) is serious about resolving bias against women that she — and many others — perceived in the investment and startup ecosystem.

She believes that women with enough cash to become angels, while they may not be “needy,” could use help from seasoned investors figuring out: what makes a viable portfolio strategy, how they should conduct due diligence, valuations, or scare up a strong pipeline of deals. She’s enlisted accredited angel investors, many of them men she noted, as mentors.

Accepted Pipeline Fund Fellows are required to chip in $5,000 each to a collective fund, and agree to select a female-led, for-profit social venture in which to invest their first $50,000 together. They’ll be asked to run a pitch “summit,” which they’ll host in June in New York City, to select the right startup.

TechCrunch asked Ms. Oberti Noguera if she is concerned that the philanthropists who get hip to the notion of investing in for-profit social ventures, may wind up slowing down their philanthropic giving. She said she would never encourage them to divert cash from charitable efforts. She also explained:

“This is the inaugural year of our program, so we don’t really know what the impact will be in full, but we will study the outcome carefully.

In the application process, we told fellowship candidates, there will be a group decision to be made about funding a social venture. We asked: what if your favorite is not chosen, how will you react?

Several applicants said they would consider investing on their own, beyond the Pipeline Fellowship. We view that as a positive for social ventures, and female founders.”

[Ed’s note: While optimistic about programs that support a diverse investment and entrepreneurial community, TechCrunch will be interested to see if these newly-minted angels continue to invest in businesses led by women after the session ends. For more on women in tech, investing and startups, check out TechCrunch’s ongoing coverage.]

Image: Snow angel (CC) via Lars Christopher Nøttaasen


Dawn Barber
Dawn is the co-founder of NY Tech Meetup, and is also the Apprenticeship Director for the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She is on the board of InSITE, and is a New York City Trustee of The Awesome Foundation. Dawn lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, and received her B.A. from Clark University.

Conor Barnes
Conor currently works at Good Cents Bookkeeping providing financial management to small businesses while pursuing a Master’s Degree at Rutgers University Business School. She is also a member of Echoing Green’s Social Investment Council. Conor holds a A.B. in Political Science from The University of Chicago.

Monica A. Barrera, D.D.S.
Monica holds a D.D.S. from New York University. She has owned and operated her own dental practice in New York for the last 16 years. Monica is a medical member of the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee of the state of New York, which advises on medical needs for patients with disabilities.

Elizabeth Crowell
Elizabeth is the partner/owner at Sterling Place, a Brooklyn-based, boutique retail store that specializes in home furnishings, rare antiques, and specialty gifts. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District Steering Committee and as a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts of Greater NY. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Latin American Literature from Smith College.

Erica Frontiero
Erica is a Senior Vice President in Capital Markets at GE Capital. With over 10 years in debt sales and trading, Erica sells commercial loans raised for corporations and private equity clients across a wide spectrum of industries to investors. She is also the co-leader for the NY/NJ chapter of the Women’s Network at GE, which fosters women’s professional development, and is an active volunteer with Dress for Success; serving as the President of Y.E.S.!, Young Executives for Success. Erica is a member of the creative advisory board for Orchid Worldwide and holds a B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University.

J. Kelly Hoey
Kelly is a business strategist and adviser to companies and firms on networking; creating and engaging voluntary communities; and, business relationship development strategies. She is the former President of 85 Broads, a women’s global business network. Kelly holds an L.L.B. from the University of British Columbia and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Victoria.

Diane Kaslow
Diane is the President of Kaslow Fine Art and an investor in She has been actively involved with the development and growth of several charities. Diane holds an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S./B.A. from John Carroll University.

Jessica Magoch-Roazzi
Jessica most recently served as Regional Vice President of Sales at Atlantis Health Plan. She is a Kundalini Yoga instructor and Shotokan Martial Artist. Jessica holds a B.F.A. in Acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Emma Nothmann
Emma is a Principal at Booz & Company and is based in San Francisco, California. She leads the firm’s North American Education Practice and currently serves as a Harvard College Interviewer. Emma holds an A.B. from Harvard University in East Asian Studies.

Maggie Williams

Maggie recently joined the Wright Group, a government relations firm where she assists social justice organizations with their legislative advocacy. Prior to the Wright Group, Maggie worked in the New York State Senate, first as counsel to then Senator now Attorney General Schneiderman and as Judiciary Counsel to the Democratic Majority. In addition, Maggie serves on the boards of the North Star Fund and Resource Generation. Maggie holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. in History from Yale University.


    Neil Anderson, Founding Investor, ARC Angel Fund; Founder, Immersive Enterprises Incubator; Director, Acol Advisory
    Rob Delman, Vice President, Astia; Managing Director, Golden Seeds; Partner, ARC Angel Fund
    Brad Feld, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Foundry Group; Chair, National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
    Francine Hardaway, PHD, Co-Founder, Stealthmode Partners
    Katie Rae, Managing Director, TechStars; Co-Founder, Project 11 Ventures
    Ed Reitler, Partner, Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC; Founder, Angel Round Capital, L.P.
    Dimple Sahni, Founding Partner, DS Inc; Co-founder,
    Kathleen Utecht, Principal, Wharton WVP Ventures
    Claire Wadlington, Partner and CFO, FA Technology Ventures
    Mike Yavonditte, Founder and CEO, Hashable