Underwear or Blockchain?
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
A couple months ago I was attending a Pipeline Angels virtual pitch summit. Nyssa, a company whose postpartum underwear replaces the mesh underwear they give out in hospitals, was discussing the lack of options available to women after giving birth. This “revolutionary” product, underwear that is sexier than a diaper and has pockets for ice packs, is helping women heal and feel a little better about themselves. I was listening to the pitch and thinking to myself: it’s 2020 and only now has specialized underwear for women who have just given birth come to market? We literally sent people into space in 1969, yet the postpartum needs of mothers is just now being addressed. Sorry fellas- looks like you’ve missed out on a huge market opportunity for the last…forever. In the past two weeks I’ve bought this product for two different friends and it will continue to be my go-to baby shower gift. If you are in your 20s or 30s you are well aware of this lucrative market.
As a Pipeline Angels member, I have the honor of sitting in on monthly deal flow calls and pitch summits in which women and femme entrepreneurs are bringing products and services to market that have traditionally been isolated from the male-dominated VC space. Why is this important? Because when the people funding businesses don’t understand the needs of half the population, that segment misses out on innovation that addresses their acute needs.
Funding early stage companies can be extremely risky and it certainly does not make sense for everyone’s portfolio. This is especially true when check sizes requirements are quite large and you need a lot of deals so that the few winners offset the losers. That’s at least what the “industry standard” teaches us. As a young 32 year old angel investor, I’m personally a little skeptical of a standard created by people who have traditionally left out women, people of color, diverse genders, diverse sexual orientations, etc. Perhaps traditional VC loses so often because they overlook basic needs and massive market opportunities? Underwear with ice packs sure is a lot easier to understand to me than future blockchain technology with absent applications that may or may not be around one day.
As Pipeline Angels’ founder, Natalia Oberti Noguera, explains in this recent podcast interview, Pipeline Angels is helping break down the barriers of entry and changing the face of angel investing. Its education component, its community, and its lower check size requirements help women and femmes break into the early stage market. In turn, this lower barrier of entry creates a network effect. More women and femmes are at the table listening to their fellow women and femme entrepreneurs pitch ideas that simply make sense, are billion dollar ideas, and help serve populations that have been left out over the past decades.