Joanne Wilson: Entrepreneur, Angel Investor
Joanne Wilson is a co-founder of the Womens Entrepreneur Festival and Gotham Gal. Also, she is well-known as an angel investor who invests in female entrepreneurs. She has invested in tech companies such as Taxi Treats, a startup that sells vending machines for taxis; the Blue Bottle Coffee Company, a well-known San Francisco coffee maker; DailyWorth, the personal finance portal for women; and Nestio, a real estate site that helps users more easily find housing.
The start-up field is predominated by male entrepreneurs, but that does not mean female entrepreneurs perform any worse than their male counterparts. In fact, this angel investor has been extremely successful investing in female entrepreneurs.
-----Please briefly explain yourself for those who are not familiar with you.
I have been blogging under the name Gotham Gal over the past ten years about technology, parenting, food, culture, investments and anything else that interests me. I am the co-founder of the Womens Entrepreneur Festival that is put on every January with the ITP department of NYU celebrating women entrepreneurs. I have been doing early stage investing in start-up companies for the past 8 years and 70% of the 70 companies that I have invested in to date are led by women entrepreneurs.
-----The organizations you have managed, worked with, and invested in seem to be driven by missions. What is the mission statement of your life?
I have had my fingers in so many different things over the course of my life. Supporting women get go and that they support both women and men having families. has been top of the list over the past decade. If we really believe that the Internet was going to change the playing field, then let’s figure out how all the start-up companies create a gender-balanced company from the start.
-----What is your definition of success and what is the most important thing in your life?
Having spent my life with my best friend, marrying him and building a life together with three fantastic kids is what I define as my success. It is the driving force behind me.
-----In a previous interview, you encouraged making mistakes. How do you normally deal with failures? HOW can people learn something from their failures?
Billy Jean King said that failures are feedback. That is brilliant. If you don’t make mistakes, then you can’t learn from them. Learning from a mistake can make you smarter the next time around.
Joanne Wilson: Women Change the Startup Landscape
-----Please explain “angel investment” as if I was a 5-year-old.
I give capital (money) to people who have young businesses. When I give them money that also comes along with advice and help. I hope that when I give someone money, let’s say for their lemonade stand so they can buy the lemons, the sugar and the stand that they can use that money to build lots of other lemonade stands and maybe be able to sell cookies too.
-----You have rich experience and eminent knowledge in what you do now. If you had to re-start everything from scratch with the knowledge and experience you currently have, what would be the first step you would take?
The experience and knowledge comes from educating myself. If I had to start from scratch to learn everything over again I would probably do the same thing. Get involved in a small company or start my own.
-----If today were the last day in your life, what you would do today?
Spend it with my family somewhere beautiful and warm with a wonderful meal, lots of wine and great music playing in the background
-----If you could leave one message to the next generation to make the world better, what would you say?
Use technology to make the world safer and environmentally sound. Each generation fixes what the last generation screwed up. There is a lot to fix from the food supply to global warming to terrorism directly linked to anger and lack of education.