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Video Interview with Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO Pipeline Fund Pipeline Fund is a social venture fund that trains women philanthropists into angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. She is also the creator of #womaninnovator a media campaign to increase the visibility of women changemakers and mainstream their stories. As Chapter Leader of New York Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE), Natalia launched the network in January 2008 and has grown the community from six women to over 1,200. Her background includes work experience in the nonprofit and social entrepreneurship sectors. Natalia holds a BA from Yale in Comparative Literature & Economics, and an MSc in International Health Care Management from Bocconi University. Natalia serves on the founding board of Fast Forward Fund, a youth-to-youth social venture fund, and you can find her on Twitter @nakisnakis
Transcript follows & video above. This is Part II of the interview.
- Do you think that the challenges that women entrepreneurs/startups have historically faced, mean that we will always be under represented sourcing angel investment?
To that point, I would like to say No! I am a systems thinker & what I’m excited about, especially with Pipeline Fund is that we are dealing with something that is about changing our culture. And that we are making this effort in community because it can’t happen in silos. So that would be the first part.
Another thing that I’ve been noticing & the reason I think its important that we also address the other side of the equation. Not just the entrepreneurs but also the investors, because if we don’t there will be a bottleneck effect that will occur. There’s a lot of support that’s coming up for women entrepreneurs in the form of incubators for example. If the investment culture is not adapting quickly enough to take advantage of the investment opportunities that come with these women entrepreneurs. So by creating for example Pipeline Fund & Pipeline Fund Fellowship we are first of all increasing the number of investors that are out there so that in order to match them with ideas that might resonate with them. That is part of it. The other one is that also with Pipeline Fund we’re seeding a fund whose focus is women led for profit social ventures.
- Could you list some of the advantages of gender diversity in a startup? I have received a lot of feedback in these interviews & also figures that if a startup has women & men that they in fact produce better results. I just wondered what you’ve perceived are the advantages & disadvantages, if any?
Sure & I did have a chance to see some of your work & you also mentioned age diversity. I think it’s important that we talk about the advantages that come from having a diverse team in terms of age, in terms of gender, in terms of race, diversity in general. To me diversity of teams: we already see the advantages with all the people who are in favor of it & just companies in general. So for me there are all these huge companies that in terms of talking about systems & institutions, they’re realizing now that the lack of diversity means lack of innovation, lack of all these advantages & they’re trying hard to integrate & incorporate systems that will permit an increase in diversity in these huge companies. So for us startups, we have the opportunity in a much easier way to take advantage of what diversity means. What it means to me in terms of advantages obviously why do we need different perspectives? There is a reason for that.
In terms of the importance of gender diversity or any sort of diversity in a startup, the same as within a company, the actual team can reflect the potential market. What is at least for me, super interesting in having a team that reflects the market is that one can get closer to the potential of current consumer use of one’s product or one’s service.
Yes it’s much more successful, yeah.
Because then in some ways it’s an internal focus group that one can have. One is actually closer to whatever trends or whatever else is happening in the market. So that would be the other component. I think it’s also not to just talk about the advantages, it’s also important to respond to some criticism. I do know from my own experience is that one of the criticisms that people have regarding diversity is that woa… if you have a diverse team it’s so time consuming! Obviously if one is coming from different perspectives & then it’s not the group think of yes we’re all going to A or we’re all going to B because there’s going to be someone who says Z, there’s going to be someone who says a number: no I want 2. For me personally I do believe that whatever additional time that get’s invested in the pre-work is time that gets saved after. Yes it might be a shorter length to get, for example, a product out, if it’s coming from a team that’s not diverse. There might be issues that would need to be corrected that won’t have been potentially accounted for if another voice had been in the mix. One of the recent examples that was very provocative was what if Apple had more women in the team that decided to name the ipad the ipad. Now people have forgotten about the ipad and how controversial that was, which was great for Apple, yet that hullabaloo might have been prevented if there might have been more diversity in the marketing business development team in the first place.
And it is a truer representation of the outer world if there is diversity because that is the way our world, our planet works, so you’re right it has incredible advantages. The same disadvantages that we experience in ordinary life. But that’s fantastic. Thank you so much for all that information. You’ve certainly got me thinking, I really appreciate your perspective on things. Thank you again Natalia.
Thank you Pemo, it was a delight.