Gaingels announces the first edition of the Gaingels 100 featuring amazing LGBTQIA+ venture backed founders and entrepreneurs and their inspiring stories
We are amongst the most active LGBTQIA+/Allies venture investors in the world, but represent an otherwise extremely diverse group of investors and check writers from many backgrounds, and we particularly seek to promote diversity and inclusion at our portfolio companies through direct and network support.
To this day, we include over 2000 individual members, who are accredited investors interested in helping diversify the ecosystem and realize outstanding returns by investing in some of the most exciting companies within the innovation economy, with leadership that is as committed as we are to building diverse and inclusive companies. Of anyone interested in joining our network, we ask three things:
To commit to helping our portfolio companies in ways other than simply
investing money. That might be an introduction, advice, a business connection, or engaging in a way that is directly applicable to their experience as an advisor, mentor, or board member. When we deliver value to our companies, we contribute to raising the importance of bringing more diverse investors and leaders into the ecosystem, which brings more investment opportunities and, in turn, more opportunities for change.
To commit to helping our portfolio companies in ways other than simply investing money. That might be an introduction, advice, a business connection, or engaging in a way that is directly applicable to their experience as an advisor, mentor, or board member. When we deliver value to our companies, we contribute to raising the importance of bringing more diverse investors and leaders into the ecosystem, which brings more investment opportunities and, in turn, more opportunities for change.
To introduce others who might be interested in creating social change
through business and profitable investment and bring them into the Gaingels Network, especially if they are from groups traditionally underrepresented in venture, such as women, BiPoC individuals, or LGBTQ+ folx.
To introduce others who might be interested in creating social change through business and profitable investment and bring them into the Gaingels Network, especially if they are from groups traditionally underrepresented in venture, such as women, BiPoC individuals, or LGBTQ+ folx.
To conduct themselves professionally and with integrity in all circumstances.
We are the representatives of our network and of our community whenever we interact with our portfolio companies, CEOs, co-investors or any other part of the ecosystem. This includes honoring our commitment to confidentiality and avoiding and alerting others to potential conflicts of interest when investing in or discussing individual companies.
To conduct themselves professionally and with integrity in all circumstances. We are the representatives of our network and of our community whenever we interact with our portfolio companies, CEOs, co-investors or any other part of the ecosystem. This includes honoring our commitment to confidentiality and avoiding and alerting others to potential conflicts of interest when investing in or discussing individual companies.
Our Mission is to foster social change through business and profitable investment, and to create a more diverse, inclusive and accessible venture ecosystem at all levels of leadership.
We do this first and foremost by ensuring that diverse and underrepresented (including LGBTQ+) leaders of high-growth companies have access to capital. The knock-on effect of being able to raise capital is huge. Raising capital to fund a company’s growth is an important attribute of success for founders, and successful founders/CEOs quickly become people of power and influence. This opens doors and creates opportunities for those who have been traditionally excluded from them.
But we also know that diversity and inclusion is a journey and that equitable representation is an ever ongoing and renewing task. We therefore invest and support all companies that recognize its importance and see Gaingels as a valuable and strategic partner in building truly diverse and inclusive teams through our network of members, experts, and portfolio companies.
We put this in practice in the following ways:
- We take meaningful positions in the companies we invest in and work with them to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion.
- We partner and co-invest with top-tier VC firms, accelerators and strategic investors in companies with diverse (including LGBTQ+) representation in leadership, board of directors, and/or advisory board, as well as in companies that recognize the value and importance of building diverse and inclusive teams and look to Gaingels as a partner in doing so.
- We invest in institutional venture-led rounds in all sectors, and at all stages of growth, from pre-seed/seed to pre-IPO.
- We ask all our portfolio companies to stand with us and acknowledge and sign the Gaingels Pledge in fostering a culture of corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, at all levels of leadership.
- We actively assist our companies with business development, talent recruitment, board and advisory board recruitment, DEI strategies and initiatives.
- We bring representation of an ever more diverse group of investors and check-writers within the cap table of our portfolio companies.
Gaingels was started in 2014 by co-founders and Managing Partners David Beatty and Paul Grossinger as a small but active angel group made of LGBTQ+ investors, investing in LGBTQ+ founders. After a few years, and as the attention to the lack of diversity in venture continued to gain momentum, David and Paul recognized the opportunity to pursue the original mission with deeper and longer lasting impact by focusing on a broader mandate to co-invest alongside other venture investors and firms who recognized the value that the Gaingels network and focus could add. We also moved from being focused exclusively on LGBTQ founders to a broader focus on diverse leadership across the venture chain, from founders, to c-suite, to board members, to individual LPs and check writers, but always including explicitly LGBTQ and gender non-conforming leadership which often was being forgotten in other efforts in DEI in venture. With a broader mandate also came a broader scope in funding stage and sectors, leading to today’s Gaingels, a large and active venture syndicate that works cross-stage and cross-sector, and focused on promoting and supporting diverse leadership in venture. Managing Partners Lorenzo Thione - who also co-founded StartOut, the leading non-profit network in support of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, and Peter Steinberg joined the team around 2018, just as this inflection and transformation was afoot.
In the time since, Gaingels has grown to over 2000 members, a portfolio of over 800 companies, and its network of investors collectively has invested over $500M to date, with a 5x growth YoY each year from 2018 to 2021.
Investment & Management
Co-founder & General Partner
David is an entrepreneur and venture investor. As well as co-founding Gaingels, David is also co-founder of digital Irish angels, investing in companies on the island of Ireland.
Born in Ireland, David started his career as a headhunter in London before being transferred to the USA in 1990 by IMI computing. David is chairman of empire messaging, inc., a company he started in 1993 and ran until 2004, which provides enterprise messaging solutions to corporate clients.
David has co-founded 3 other tech enabled companies with successful exits. He lives in NYC with his partner Ryan on the upper west side.
Peter has honed his expertise in website UX/UI, human-computer interaction, user analytics, SEO and online communities for 25 years. following a 4.5 year run at online pioneer aol (where he co-created some of the world’s first online personal ads) he then headed up product development at Zagat, moved on to Vindigo, spent a year at the CIA, and then joined nascent startup meetup as one of their very first employees.
From 2003 to 2006, he led meetup’s product through two vital evolutions: ensuring every meetup group had a self-appointed organizer (therefore dramatically improving the attendee experience) and then implementing a monthly fee for organizers (thereby establishing a sustainable business model).
Subsequently, he co-founded flashlight worthy books and headed product (and served as interim CTO) at food52. He's been a venture investor since 2007, all the while raising two sons with his wife. With his children past their seed stage, he made his exit to assume a managing member role with Gaingels at the beginning of 2019.
Co-founder & General Partner
Paul is the co-founder of Gaingels and Mathison.io, with David Beatty.
To date, Gaingels has invested $110,000,000+ in 200+ companies since 2016, including $80m+ in the 2020 year.
Paul also founded blue jay syndicate, now part of the Gaingels family, and a-level capital. Prior to that, Paul was the co-founder of pervasive group inc.
Lorenzo is a serial entrepreneur and investor at the intersection of technology, art, commerce, and social value. he is a tony-award winning Broadway producer (Hadestown) and the co-creator/producer of the George Takei Broadway musical allegiance, of which he also directed/produced the record-breaking 2016 film.
He’s co-founder/CEO of the social edge, and previously co-founded two other companies: Powerset (exited to Microsoft in 2008) and artify. It as well as an active investor, board member, and advisor to many more startups.
Lorenzo’s support of the LGBT entrepreneurial community predates his involvement with Gaingels - he’s also the co-founder/board chair emeritus of startout, the leading non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. he's an outspoken LGBT advocate and was twice named one of the most influential LGBT people in tech by business insider in 2014 and 2018.
Venture Advisor, 10X Capital
Mr. Weisburd is currently a general partner and co-head pf venture capital at 10x capital, where he led 10x capital’s investment in Robinhood, Compass Therapeutics, Headspace and DraftKings.
Prior to 10x capital, Mr. Weisburd founder and was general partner of venture capital firm GTP in 2012, whose portfolio companies include 23andme, Circle, Palantir, Pipefy, Ripple, Tonal, Vicarious and Wish.
Prior to joining 10x capital, Mr. Weisburd was a partner at flight ventures, which has a prolific track record investing in companies including Carta, Cruise, Discord, Dollar Shave Club, Fastly, Inc. (NYSE:FSLY), LinkedIn, Paypal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL), Rent the Runway, Wealthfront Inc. and many others.
Prior to his venture capital career, Mr. Weisburd was on the founding teams of two venture-backed technology startups, Isocket (acquired by Rubicon project (NASDAQ: RUBI)) and Roomhunt (Acquired by rentlingo, Inc.)
Mr. Weisburd received a BS in management and entrepreneurship Indiana University – Kelley School of Business in 2008 and an MBA from Dartmouth College – Tuck School of Business in 2012. Mr. Weisburd is currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard University.
Venture Partner, Flucas Ventures
Ashley is an active Gaingels’ member and angel investor via her syndicate, Flucas Ventures. Flucas Ventures invests in seed to late-stage companies across all sectors and geographies. As an angel investor, Ashley has back more than 100 start-ups.
Ashley also currently serves as general counsel & partner at USI fund (a real estate finance fund with approx.. $3 AUM). Ashley is an alumnus of Duke University and Harvard Law School and resides in South Florida.
Venture Partner, Calm Ventures
Zachary is the founder and general partner at Calm Ventures, a Los Angele based venture capital firm that invests in companies from seed to pre-IPO.
Prior to Calm, Zachary was an investor at OCV Partners, a $260M growth equity fund. Zach has personally invested in over 100 companies including Headspace, Coinbase and Thrive Market.
Emilie is an active angel investor and early Gaingels member. Emilie holds a PHD in economics sociology and has led strategy and transformation effort at Goldman Sachs and Bridgewater Associates. She also led a successful turnaround of a healthcare consulting company as its interim CEO on behalf of venture investors.
At Gaingels, she leads strategic initiatives to drive our new investment products, our network’s growth, and our impact on the LGBT community.
Emilie lives in Westchester, New York with her wife Nicole, their twin daughters Adeline and Birdie, and their golden retrievers Charlie and Eliot.
Jason is a tech, media & music executive with experience at leading corporations and startups including Google, Viacom, Disney, Deezer & 88rising.
Jason is Vice President at 88rising, where he leads business development & partnerships at the leading music company of the most influential Asian artists in the world. Previously Jason led business development at Google and music streaming unicorn Deezer. Prior to that, he held roles in traditional media at Disney and Viacom, and started his career on Wall Street in investment banking at UBS.
Jason advises and invests in startups and is passionate about diversity in VC. In 2019, he co-founded Out in Tech Miami, a city chapter of the largest national LGBTQ+ tech community. He also mentors the next generation of music startups as a Techstars Music mentor.
Born and raised in NYC, Jason resides in Miami and is an active participant in advancing Miami's tech community. He is on the National Advisory Council of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC. Jason is a speaker and guest lecturer, and a graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business.
Venture Partner, dRX Capital
Chris Leiter is a digital health investor and operator. He is a Principal at dRx Capital, a venture fund backed by Novartis, investing in data & digital technologies transforming healthcare and biotechnology. Previously, he was a Co-Founder of Guardtime Health and VP of Digital Health at Guardtime, a blockchain-enabled healthcare interoperability start-up where he led on product and partnerships. Chris was the Global Executive & business unit COO of KPMG’s Global Healthcare Practice and started his career as a management consultant in the firm’s London office focused on healthcare, life sciences, and public sector clients.
Chris is an investor and Venture Partner with Gaingels, and is a Co-Founder of Series Q – a network supporting underrepresented and diverse founders. He is a Guest Lecturer with the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology course Healthcare Ventures. Chris holds an M.B.A. from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from Richmond University. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, skiing, and hiking in the mountains.