"There's four groups of people who make significant wealth and who are on the cap table. It's founders, it's early executives, it's early employees and it's investors," says Chloe Sladden, one of the #Angels. "We know that women and underrepresented minorities do not make up those groups significantly. So our concern is if women and underrepresented minorities are not part of the cap table, they are not part of the wealth and power that shapes Silicon Valley."
#Angels co-founder Jessica Verrilli, also a partner at VC fund GV says, "If we are able to get women and underrepresented minorities building wealth in Silicon Valley through ownership of the cap table, I think we are going to see that same group of people starting VC firms, more of them having the financial resources to bootstrap a company and take risk, having bigger platforms to influence not just our industry but increasingly the entire world."
Houseparty COO Sima Sistani was an executive at Yahoo's Tumblr, pregnant with her second child, when she was approached by Sladden about joining the video chat app startup as a co-founder.
"There's a prototype here of the startup founder being young, white, male, who is giving up their entire life, subsisting on ramen noodles, and building empires," Sistani says. "Unfortunately that didn't look like me."
Sladden convinced her to leave her stable job and take the leap to a startup in exchange for a piece of the company's equity. "The nice thing about Chloe was that she's coming from a similar standpoint as me, but she could also see my potential so she was able to advise me that, 'I think you can do this' and empower my decision-making in that moment to take a risk."
Sladden and the #Angels collective have invested in more than 60 companies over three years. They talk to each of their founders about the importance of attracting top female employees with equity and the value of having a diversity of perspectives in the room from the beginning. They've also hosted dozens of events for a network of hundreds of women in tech, many in partnership with VC funds like Sequoia, Social Capital and Kleiner Perkins.
And they coach women on a range of topics, from how to break into a deal to the importance of getting a place on the cap table.