Friday Nooner: How Ryan Perlowin Funds Female-led Business Brilliance

This week’s Friday Nooner started with Joe’s disappointment at a missed opportunity to ride his Vespa to work because of the rainy weather. Although Joe’s obsession with his Vespa is not new news, Pete’s recent comedy show is. After completing a six-week comedy class at Goodnight’s in Raleigh, Pete just performed his graduation show. Although Pete kindly gave Jackie a free ticket to the event, Joe was forced to pay a whopping $10 to hear Pete’s jokes. [Editor’s Note: It was well worth it.] Hopefully being out a few bucks won’t break Joe’s bank (let’s remember Bronto’s $200M acquisition).

While Pete’s show is in the past, here are some upcoming GrepBeat events to get excited about: next Thursday’s Happy Hour at Bull McCabe’s from 5-7 pm and Grep-a-palooza 2 on June 1. You can register for the Happy Hour here (your first drink is free courtesy of our sponsor, Hutchison) while Very Early Bird tickets for Grep-a-palooza 2 are available here

This week, GrepBeat also produced a new episode of our For Starters podcast with guest Drew Schiller, the Co-Founder and CEO of Durham-based healthcare platform Validic, sitting down with host Anil Chawla. GrepBeat published a story on CINCH CCM, a community-based home care startup launched by a couple searching for their ticket to being ‘cool grandparents’. And, (yes, lots of news this week) Haley Huie, the director of NC State’s Entrepreneurship Clinic, shared her experiences with Brooks Malone for a new edition of The Download Q&A. 

Today also brought fast-moving news about the fate of Silicon Valley Bank, the bank of choice for many venture-backed startups and VC funds. SVB announced late Wednesday that it had (theoretically) address a liquidity crunch, but rather than reassure the market, it instead started a run on the bank that essentially put it out of business around the time that the gang were on the air Friday in a remarkably swift descent. Joe’s story about the bank run in It’s A Wonderful Life was a fitting metaphor, even if we’re a few months past Christmas.

Fortunately, this week’s guest—Ryan Perlowin, the General Partner at Chapel Hill-based investment firm Jemison Alexander—has not been affected by SVB’s rough-going. Here are some highlights from his time on the show: 

  • After selling his own startup, My Happy Plates, Ryan founded Jemison Alexander as a syndicate investor for early-stage startups with at least one founder identifying as female. As an entrepreneur himself, he wants to actively help bridge the gender funding gap in the tech world. That’s partly in hopes of improving equality for his kids—”Jemison Alexander” is the combination of his two kids’ middle names—but more so because he sees excellent investment opportunities in this often under-funded cohort.
  • Ryan’s syndicate members include a wide range of investors from a variety of networks. He hopes to do 100 deals over time with incredible female founders. Currently, most of his deal sourcing involves outbound contacts and developing publicity around his thesis. Although the time frame for startup funding is a bit more complicated for syndicates, because they also have to pitch to investors, Ryan works to give answers to startups quickly. Jemison Alexander tries to provide a clear “Yes” or “No” to founders within a week.
  • Ryan wants the tech community and investors interested in his syndicates to know that—at his core—he is a hustler. He works hard to support and back his founders, works hard to raise money from investors, and works hard to positively impact the community. Though Ryan funds female-identifying founders, he doesn’t consider his work anything close to charity. He isn’t just investing in female-led ideas, he’s investing in business brilliance. 

You can watch the full episode on LinkedIn here or Facebook here.

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