How Angel Squad saves you time and accelerates equity

Venture capital isn’t an equitable space — simple as that. Only about 11% of partners at VC funds are women. An even smaller fraction of those partners are women of color. 

Luckily, new players are looking to improve equity across the board. One of them is Karin Dillie, VP of Partnerships at Recurate, who’s also made waves at Sotheby’s and The RealReal

We sat down with Karin to learn how joining Angel Squad majorly accelerated her ability to invest in female founders. Keep reading to dive into: 

  1. Pushing equity forward in the venture ecosystem
  2. Karin’s tactical experience as an operator-investor
  3. How Angel Squad enables more intentional investing
“The VC space has to change. Investing in my usual network isn't going to move the needle. I saw Angel Squad as a way to expand my impact without the work of building out an entire network and deal flow.” 

Karin’s Path: From Eco-Conscious eCom to Angel Squad

Karin kicked off her operating career at Sotheby’s, cutting her teeth in the auction space. 

And she hasn’t departed from the resale sphere since. 

She followed that up with business school at Yale, where she was bit by the tech bug and decided to work for a startup — joining The RealReal during its early stages. In her four years there, she fell in love with how tech scaled the role of resale in the legacy clothing industry. 

At the start of 2021, Karin would wind up leaving The RealReal to join Recurate, which builds tech enabling brands to fully own their secondary resales. 

Angel Investing to Uplift Underrepresented Founders

The RealReal was founded by one woman and scaled with a 70% woman-led team. 

Karin was there when the brand went public, and she’ll never forget walking through the halls of the NASDAQ with her coworkers. 

With walls of photos of companies going public behind the podium, essentially all of them showed white men. It was such a contrast to The RealReal’s story.

Right then and there, Karin resolved to foster the growth of women-led businesses. 

In mid-2021, she made her first angel investment. 

One of her friends posted a viral tweet about Karin’s work, and the New York Times wound up picking up her story for a piece on accessible angel investing

Other angels featured in the article included members of the Hustle Fund team, which spurred Karin to learn more — and ultimately sign up for Angel Squad. 

“On the walls were white men, white men, one woman, and then more white men. We showed up with 70% women, which was so cool. But it made me realize — we need more of this.” 

How Angel Squad Saves Time and Accelerates Equity

For Karin, Angel Squad is a huge step up from traditional VC in two areas: time saved and equity. 

  1. Time saved — Generating deal flow the traditional way (AKA building extensive networks) is basically a full-time job in itself. And Karin wasn’t interested in abandoning her meaningful work at Recurate. 
  2. Simple equity — Since VC overwhelmingly revolves around personal networks, equity issues abound. Karin realized investing in her own circles wouldn’t move the needle for women founders or Black founders, so she looked to Angel Squad for an existing, intentionally accessible network. 

As a salesperson, Karin knows creating a pipeline takes a lot of work. 

She sees Angel Squad as the best way to jump in and invest her capital in companies and underestimated founders she believes in. 

Joining Hustle Fund’s three-month program has saved her hours each week and years throughout a career of building a network to enable strong deal flow. 

“A big reason that I wanted to angel invest is that only about 2% of VC funding goes to women, and even less of that to Black people.” 

The Impact of Hustle Fund’s Value-Driven Investing Ethos

Since joining Angel Squad, Karin has exclusively invested in women-led companies. 

One way the Hustle Fund community facilitates that is through our growth arm. 

Through that branch, Karin invested in Ellevest, a women’s financial wellness and investment company, which she’d followed for years but never would’ve had the opportunity to invest in without Angel Fund. 

She admits that path simply wouldn’t have been open to her if she was operating alone — and she likely wouldn’t have found out about the investment opportunity in the first place. 

Karin wound up contributing a small check to their Series B round. 

Before signing up for Angel Squad, she’d hoped our ecosystem could help her invest in pre-seed founders, get better deal flow, and understand the all-around investment process a bit better. 

It did that and more, enabling her to invest in a company whose leadership and product she deeply believes in. 

“I never would've had the opportunity to invest in Ellevest without Angel Squad, because those worlds simply weren't open to people like me.”

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