Pedro Moore, Executive Director of the Delaware Innovation Fund, wants to create an angel network for Blacks and Latinos to teach them how to invest.
He cites an article by the Chicago Tribune noting that “data show[s] that African-Americans are seriously underrepresented in the investment community. “Less than 1 percent of venture-backed internet companies were founded by African-Americans, according to a 2010 report by CB Insights.”
“The ones that can invest choose things they’re comfortable with, such as real estate,” Moore says. He wants to broaden their scope by encouraging them to invest in local small businesses and startups. For him, its a “no brainer.”
As someone who’s dedicated to helping his community, he says that “we have to invest in ourselves. The ones that are rich have to get in the practice of investing in companies.”
His guess for why minorities are often reluctant to invest is due to an “intimidation factor.” He says “it’s hard finding those investors, [it’s] like pulling teeth.”
“They think they have to invest alone, but the network effect is what makes them more comfortable. We want to get them to pull the trigger. Let’s get them to thinking of angel investing the same way they would a retirement plan — a percentage of your portfolio could go towards investing in small businesses.”
He expects these minority investors to diversify their investments as well, not simply choosing businesses run by people who look like them. Though he does expect them to invest in those companies, too.
“There are African-American entrepreneurs, and since we’re such a small state, there’s a good chance that they know each other,” he says. “With that, they’ll be more likely to cut a good deal with quick execution.”
He’s utilizing a grassroots strategy by planning small events to gauge the local interest. In the long run, he’d like to create a national network of investors, but for now, he’s focused on Delaware and Philadelphia.
“They’re here,” he says, and for him, it’s just a matter of finding a few individuals to get started.
Pedro is also the founder of FundingFuel, previously called Shell Capital, which won first place at Startup Launchpad and third place at Startup Weekend. The online equity crowdfunding platform aims to provide funding opportunities for everyday people by allowing them to invest in franchises.
Anyone interested in learning about becoming an angel investor should contact Pedro via email.