March 22, 2019

Plum Alley’s Membership Model Bridges Traditional Gaps in Private Investment

Plum Alley is not a fund or an angel network, it’s a platform for connection between investors, entrepreneurs, and partners. Founded by Deborah Jackson and Andrea Turner Moffitt, the uniquely curated member network of private investors employs a syndicate model that maximizes individual investments while providing an infrastructure to scale portfolio companies.

Core to the mission of Plum Alley is tapping into the huge potential of engaging a larger base of accredited investors, particularly women, who have not traditionally been active investors in the asset class of venture. As noted in a seminal study on women investors published by Turner Moffitt and the Center for Talent Innovation, women investors in the US represent an enormous market with more than $11.2 trillion of investable assets. “[We] enable a broader base of investors, women, and men, to build a custom portfolio of venture investments. Plum Alley members have unprecedented access to entrepreneurs raising capital at the Series A and B level, and highly sought-after funding rounds where individuals typically don’t have a seat at the table,” says Haley Fradkin, Investment Associate.

Haley Fradkin
Plum Alley Investment Associate Haley Fradkin.

Although Plum Alley doesn't exclusively cater to female entrepreneurs or investors, they work diligently to purport that their approach to highlight diverse teams is a strategic one. Public reports have shown that female-founded companies deliver higher revenue per dollar invested than male-founded companies. “We are in the early phases of a paradigm shift in an industry that historically overlooked half of the population. This blind spot represents a unique opportunity for venture returns, but female founders will not have equitable access to capital until there is an evenly matched ratio of women making investment decisions.”

Diversifying the investment pool is the first step in utilizing venture capital to create a greater social impact, but Fradkin is quick to note that Plum Alley is not an “impact investor.” She goes on to say, “We are investing in innovations that we believe will transform industries. We back entrepreneurs tackling disease and environmental intelligence because these business models have aggressive growth strategies and broad applications that are positioned to generate attractive financial returns.”

The novel approach also allows for the blossoming of a tight-knit network invested in personal returns, as well as monetary. “Our business is also driven by the content and experiences we bring forward that extend far beyond transactional investing. Our thought leadership and partnerships with dominant industry players allow our members to gain tangible insights into new areas of innovation like cybersecurity and gene editing. We cultivate intimate executive dialogue between industry experts that diving deeper than what gets covered at large conferences or news reports” Fradkin explains. These events are opportunities for investors to learn more about the industries and companies that they are investing in as well as leading-edge technology shifts in Blockchain and AI or the venture landscape in China, for example.

Haley graduated from Tulane University Freeman School of Business, and after studying and working within traditional financial services, she saw the barriers to innovation in those institutions and sought out involvement in the early stage tech industry. She attributes her success at Plum Alley to a willingness to show up, hustle and deliver material value to the organization. Aside from generating deal flow and supporting portfolio companies, Fradkin is personally committed to being a “soldier” for parity in venture and beyond. “Though I am optimistic about the future, I continue to hear horror stories that ignite my energy and focus toward fighting for underrepresented founders. We are lucky to have a growing number of like-minded ecosystem partners deploying dollars with an aligned investment thesis. That said, we all have work to do to diversify the venture landscape and assure that capital is directed toward companies that reflect, and equitably cater to all stakeholders, regardless of demographics.”

Kalei Buczek is a Contributor at VentureFizz