Ascent Podcast Ep. 9 - Andrea Turner-Moffitt, Co-Founder @ Plum Alley Investments - Ascent Conference Ascent Podcast Ep. 9 - Andrea Turner-Moffitt, Co-Founder @ Plum Alley Investments - Ascent Conference

Ascent Podcast Ep. 9 – Andrea Turner-Moffitt, Co-Founder @ Plum Alley Investments





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Paving the way to success

On the Ascent Podcast this week Andrew spends some time interviewing Andrea Turner-Moffitt, a true pioneer in the business and finance industry. A well known investment banker and published author, she is the co-founder of Plum Alley Investments and author of (amongst other works) the critically acclaimed book “Harness the Power of the Purse: Winning Women Investors”. Her works have been featured in Forbes, Harvard Business Review Inc., New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. Andrea is a master of her craft and someone who quite literally has a wealth of knowledge.

Paving Her Own Path

Someone who exemplifies what a morning person is (a late start to her day is 6:45), Andrea got a start in investment banking right out of college. You can get a sense of her drive and passion for financial independence and how to help others interested to achieve that goal. The investment banking and asset management experience that she obtained from working for more than a decade in firms like Citibank and Robertson Stephens polished her skills and acumen, and set the stage for her own venture. It was here where she found her passion for driving change in the world through investment banking.

Investing in Change

The years of experience in the field as well as the research done for her book and other published works have led to Andrea often being referred to as a “National Thought Leader”, a term that fits her so well because that’s exactly what she is! Plum Alley is an investment firm known for investing in advanced technology and healthcare, the firm also focuses on working with underrepresented groups, specifically regarding women. Andrea was able to realize just how deep an impact investment banking has on the world, and also see how it quite literally shapes and molds it depending on what is funded. This realization she also understood was a responsibility; to truly make the world a better place you have to invest in changing it for the better.

Tune in and hear from Andrea first hand about her journey as a successful investment banker and author. Without a doubt this week’s Ascent Podcast interview certainly continues the line of bringing on heavy hitters in the areas of business, entrepreneurship, finance, and marketing to the program.

Time Stamps:

00:01= Intro/ Welcome
03:12= Rapid fire Questions
10:58= Morning Routine/ Morning strategy/ Early Bird gets the worm
12:30= What’s the first way Andrea made money/ Obtaining financial independence
13:50= Transition from medicine to Business and Investment banking
16:22= Paving her own way/ Branching out on where own
18:34= Knowing when to leave/ Betting on yourself/ Finding the right partner
21:35= Finding your fit/ Building Plum Alley
24:25= Supporting what you stand for/ Paving the way for Women/ Levers of change
28:08= Dealing with bias and underrepresentation/ Challenges women investors face
31:23= Sharing the knowledge/ The author experience
36:05= Reviewing the reviews/ Feeling the feedback
38:12= Where to learn more abut Andrea and Plum Alley
29:13= Outro

Transcription

Andrew Tarvin [00:00:04] Now, as I mentioned, I am particularly excited today because we’ve got an expert in a very important area because today we are going to be talking to Andrea Turner Moffitt, the founder of Plum Alley Investments. Like I said, he she has nearly 10 years of experience investing and raising capital for companies with a focus on high growth tech, clean energy and financial companies. She is also the author of a book on international investing and engaging women investors. And she lives in Brooklyn, but is a Midwesterner at heart myself as well. So we’ll learn a little bit about that. She has three kids and is a runner who also loves to travel. So please welcome to your eyes and ears. Joining us today, Andrea Turner Moffitt. Andrea, thanks for joining us. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:00:46] Thanks for having me. Delighted to be here. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:00:48] I’m super excited to chat with you. So, first of all, I have to understand, where in the Midwest does that Midwestern sensibility come from? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:00:58] And of Lenoy, whenever I’m talking to New Yorkers, I like to say I’m just from Illinois because most people on the coasts really only know Chicago and Bloomington is in the states. I’m from originally central Illinois. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:01:11] So central Illinois. I grew up in the great state of Ohio. So not too far away from you in Illinois. And I’m curious, do you think that when you talk to New Yorkers about Illinois, do they actually know where Illinois is? I feel like a lot of people confuse at least Ohio and Iowa are constantly confused. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:01:30] Yeah, I think it’s I tend to get Iowa and Indiana confusion generally. I think people know where Illinois is because of Chicago. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:01:38] Yeah, Chicago. Exactly. When you have a big city like that that has pizza, that’s not as good as New York pizza, but still Chicago style pizza. When you have a place like Portillo’s and they’re delicious chocolate cake shakes, people start to put. That’s what people in Chicago for, right? It’s not the Cubs or the White Sox or any of that. It’s it’s the food, I think. But Andrew, so before we jump into kind of your background and expertize in the career space, we do like to get to know the human behind the tech leader. So we’re going to start with a rapid fire question. Where are you going to answer these in just one or two words? Are you ready? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:02:09] I’m ready. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:11] You’re ready. All right, excellent first question for you, are you a morning person or a night owl? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:02:15] Morning. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:17] OK, what what time did you wake up this morning? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:02:21] Well, actually, this morning is not the best example, but normally I’m a five 30 to 6:00 AM riser,. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:28] OK? And then what was this morning? What was different about like did you see them. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:02:32] In late working on something last night? So it was more of a six forty five wake up. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:37] OK. OK, so six forty five is late because here I am like for me noon is late, like I’m more like a nine a.m. but I could sleep until noon if I need to like at six. Forty five is like man I’ve wasted the entire day. Excellent. Are you Apple or Android. Apple. OK, the whole ecosystem or just the iPhone or are you, are you like iPhone Mac fitting into Apple Watch. All of it. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:03:01] I’m on a Mac now. I do not have an Apple Watch actually I put Garmin OK, but on iPad and computer. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:10] OK, I like true runner, though, going with the Garmin, I think, as opposed to the Apple Watch, are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:03:18] Extrovert. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:20] OK, do you how do you how are you feeling then, pandemic wise, being locked in and away from people a little bit more? I think that sometimes challenging people forget, like introverts were like, hey, welcome to our world. Extroverts are probably like, I need people. How are you feeling? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:03:35] Total fatigue. I am very blessed and healthy families. Been healthy, but very feeling, very cooped up. It’s definitely feeling like the middle of winter. And I live in Brooklyn, but I’m actually calling in from our office, which is in Manhattan on Twenty Third Street and the Flatiron. So it’s nice to change it up and get the house. And I’m not seeing many people. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:59] Exactly. Yes. Sometimes just the the scenery itself around you. Changing I think is is important. Let’s see, when you were a little kid, what did you want to grow up to become? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:04:11] Well, what do you actually want to become a doctor that lasted until biology freshman year of college and chemistry probably. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:04:19] I think it’s amazing how, like a certain class can sometimes completely change, just chatting with someone recently, they also wanted to go premed and like I got to calculus and was like, that’s more math and I want to do so. I like it. Sometimes a class can change that that perspective. So maybe, maybe not scientists. But what is what is a favorite hobby that you have currently? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:04:42] Funny enough, I thought you might ask that question, and sadly, I don’t really have any hobbies. Really, I do love to play tennis. I love to travel. And so those are probably two hobbies, but I’m not really doing much of them at all and running a company and having three little kids. I would say hobby is the one thing that kind of falls away. And hopefully after the pandemic and we emerge from the pandemic, I can do a little bit more. I can leave in some time for them. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:05:10] Certainly you got to focus on certain priorities. Running a company and children is probably more important to take care of the kids than it is to master your TechnoServe right now may be more important right now, but yeah, they’re going to get older and you’ll be able to focus a little bit more on the future. I love it. So and maybe maybe your answer will be a little bit different. But is there a TV series or a movie or a book you recently finished or read that resonated with you? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:05:39] Well, I just finished watching The Unwinding with Nicole Kidman saying that I’ve got. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:05:46] I’ve not even heard of it. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:05:48] So very it was a bit of a thriller takes place in New York City. Very interesting. Good escape from day to day life. That was a really good one. Hugh Jackman and Hugh Jackman. Hugh Grant is in it as well. I am trying to catch up on the crown. I also know. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:06:08] OK, I like it. My wife is watching the crown. I’ve never seen any of it other than I just hear it sometimes over in the background. But the unwinding, they have to check that out. I like it. And finally, who is someone who you admire? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:06:25] Well, certainly a lot of people who probably are not famous and necessarily recognizable names, but I would say and more recognizable names, I I really admire Melinda Gates and the work she’s done and the voice she’s led and taking a stance around women investing women in STEM and very much have kind of modeled the way we’ve built family around, giving more people an opportunity to have a chance to take their own stands at their own level of where they may play in their space, in the ecosystem. So she’s certainly a big one. And I have to say all of the all of the founders, women and men who we back and invested in, I admire them incredibly because being a founder is a very tough journey, can be very lonely. And many of them are. I mean, all of our founders are focused on building companies that are really trying to make a difference in the world and and are very innovative, but also incredibly challenging to kind of break through and break out. So I’d have to give a shout out to the founders. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:07:29] I love it. That is a great that’s a great kind of leader of an organization answer because you answer a good answer that you give good both and both answers are great. And we’re like, we’ve got to lift people up. And it’s true. I am I see that their sincerity when you say that it’s not like a cliche kind of answer that you gave, but I love that. And also to the point that you did a lot of people that people may not heard of. And that’s helpful to remind people that you don’t have to be a world famous person to do admirable traits that other people look up to. So a great answer all around there. So the next question I have, you can certainly I take more than one word to answer. This is still a little bit rapid fire round, but you can take a little bit more time. One of the questions that we like to ask each of our guests is, what’s the story of your name? Are you named after someone? Is it or do you like the name? You have a nickname. Anything that comes to mind when you hear the question of what’s the story of your name? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:08:24] Is that my personal name or my or the name of my company? 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:08:28] That your personal name. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:08:29] My personal name. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:08:31] Yeah. This is about the human behind the company. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:08:34] Sure. Well, I love it. I love my name, Andrea. I don’t think there’s any real big story. I’m not named after anyone and I think my parents just liked it. I will say this growing up, I didn’t like writing my name. I don’t have the best handwriting. And I have a sister named Ashley and at the end of her name as a Y, and I always was envious of the bubble letters and the Y, so but at this point in life, I’m not I’m I’m enjoying my name. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:09:01] I like and as you were just saying that I realize have you recognize it as a like investor and who helped a lot of different organizations? You probably are aware of this. Your your initials are the acronym is ATM?

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:09:14] Yeah, yes. I believe that that is my married initials. So I went from one acronym to another because my middle name is actually Noel. So I went from at AT&T to atme and I actually go buy both my last names. So I write my initials is a.. A ATM. But in fact when I got married I was an investment banker. So the ATM acronym was very apropos. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:09:45] Yes. That seemed very, very appropriate. I like it. And so you already mentioned earlier that you are a morning person. We’re curious about people’s routine. What you wake up kind of on a on an ideal or average day. What’s the routine actually look like first part of the day? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:10:02] Well, morning is really my time to do more strategic thinking and and a couple of I try to get up and actually meditate and have a little space to think bigger picture, especially with a busy household and then getting into work and having a lot of competing demands on my mind and time I find that morning is a really good time to do more strategic thinking. So I try to do that between like five thirty and six thirty and then sneak in a little exercise. So a couple of days a week I’ll do exercise and I try to get at least one or two days and where there’s some some strategic thinking and meditation going on. But I do work in the morning because it’s so quiet. No one’s bothering me and I love to get up before anyone else gets up. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:10:46] Yeah, that’s what I that’s a common refrain that I hear from people that do wake up early as they like when no one else is kind of awake and bothering them, which makes I guess, a lot of sense. And so I get I’m realizing now that as a person who wakes up a little bit later, people are waking up to avoid me. In a sense, I’m I’m I’m part of the people they are avoiding by waking up at five thirty. But I think that mindfulness is very important. Like you said, it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day that you need a little bit of that time to to think strategically. And so certainly we’re going to talk a little bit about Pumbaa coming up. But before we get into that, do you remember the first way that you made money way back in the day? Were you an early entrepreneur or was it like, oh, nope, I got a job, you know, and in college later. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:11:33] Now, I came out of college and went right into tech investment banking. I actually started my career right at the height of the tech bubble. So it’s a fascinating time. And the two thousand ninety nine twenty thousand one and being a Midwesterner and coming from pretty modest upbringing, I was very focused and actually wrote about it in the first chapter of the book that I published, but was very focused on my own financial independence and campaigning hard skills early. So figuring out how to create is really establishing myself and setting myself up financially. And so while I didn’t know what investment banking was, I knew I knew it would be financially rewarding for the first few years and I would learn a lot and it would be a lot of skills that I could probably use in many different ways in my future. So I joined a firm called Robertson Stevens and covered technology companies, predominantly enterprise software companies. So it was a fascinating time and it was a fascinating time to see the height of the market and then the market falling out when the tech bubble burst and at that time. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:12:41] OK, and so is that was that the because you went from maybe I’ll be a doctor to not liking that first kind of biology class to financial security with investment banking, how did that transition happen? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:12:56] Well, I’d say the doctor thing was probably freshman year of college and then was really exposed to a lot more business and was very interested in business. I minored in business. I went to Tulane University for undergrad and was very international affairs for national business at large. And so it’s been a year abroad and had a very good mentor who recommended not taking business as a major because you can always go back to business school, which I did. But to do so, I did liberal arts. But I knew I wanted to get into business and then in fact had another really phenomenal mentor who was an investment banker and happened to be a family friend who introduced me to the world of investment banking and in fact, really helped me get really open the door for me to meet and find firms that might be a good fit. And he had referred me to someone that led to me joining Robertson Stevens. And I was fascinated by what was obviously happening at the tech bubble at that time. A lot of Internet companies, it was the dot com everything era. And so figuring out how to learn about how companies finance themselves and all these new technologies and how they were changing our lives. And this was really opened my eyes, obviously, how I love spending every day. And one of the reasons I found a family, but it’s come full circle. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:14:26] Well, and I think I think there’s a couple of things that stand out to me about what you say, there is one just again, sometimes the power of a mentor, someone that you connect with in a new resonate with, they can help introduce you to maybe topics you didn’t know fully about or get you passionate about something as well, which for some of the younger listeners that we have that might resonate of like, OK, what have they enjoyed in terms of their relationships, but also speaks to the power that some of the more senior listeners, people who are more established in their career, how if they serve as a mentor for other people, how in some way is life changing. It can be like help you to kind of be shepherd into this this focus. Another example of that, that value of giving back. And so, you know, you’re starting a career in investment banking, as you mentioned, kind of as an analyst, then as an associate, you become vice president at Citibank and then you leave to start your own thing. Like, why? Why were you like, OK, time for me to kind of go off in and do this stuff on my own. What was the prompt for that? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:15:25] Well, a couple of things within that narrative, I between various investment banking jobs and also I did a stint working at an investment firm that was a hedge fund of funds. I went to business school and was very involved at that time in what is called the Tamar’s Center Now, which is a social enterprise program at Columbia Business School. And I was fascinated and this was mid 20s. I was fascinated by the intersectionality of investing and how we drive change in the world. And so and then kind of found myself a few years later, five years later, and still doing investment banking, but also very, very committed to figuring out how do we change the dynamic around inequality, particularly inequality around underrepresented investors, be that women or other underrepresented groups, minorities, et cetera. But I was particularly interested in doing at how do we better age women investors and so found out I partner with six. Big financial services for Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and others, a global study on women that culminated in a book that I pushed, which is called Harness the Power of the Purse Winning Women Investors. And that was for me, a foundational business case study, because I had an entrepreneurial bug. I knew when I was still working at Citi that I was very interested in establishing a totally different firm around investing and one that would really engage a different audience of investors, particularly focused on women. And so so so that experience gave me the opportunity to see that venture and building a venture firm a little differently, which we’ve done informally in terms of who we’ve engaged as investors and where we’re focused on investing was very pivotal in my decision to to break out as an entrepreneur and as an investor to establish my own firm in partnership with my founder, Deborah Jackson. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:17:26] And then how did you know when it was time to do that? Because I feel like sometimes people have this thought of like, oh, I have an idea or I’m ready to strike out on my own, but there is it. So this feels like a little bit of a risk to leave kind of the comfort and security of a quote unquote, steady paycheck to be like I’m going to strike out on my own. Like, how did how was that process for you coming to terms with say, nope, I’m going to do this? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:17:49] Yeah. It’s it’s not a straight path. At least it wasn’t for me. And in fact, before cofounding Family Investments with with with Deborah Jackson, I spent a couple of years as an entrepreneur myself and was doing that simultaneously while I was conducting this global study and writing a book on women investors. So I, I really was testing and had established a very early stage fintech company that was focused on different ways of engaging women investors and and frankly dated and failed at a few different partnerships and and looked at many different types of businesses. And it was to identify the right path for me to actually establish a venture firm and and and co-found Pell-mell Investments with Deborah. And meeting people, I mean, just I would say impact add a touch more. It’s it’s it’s a it’s a journey. You have to try different things, see what’s working, identify your market, who you’re trying to serve and and certainly in building a building a company and doing it in partnership with someone else there. I’ve often found some analogies to marriage. You do have to try different people and see who’s a fit. And I had a few failed business marriages that just weren’t the right fit for whatever reason. And you actually learn a lot from those those that don’t work out. That makes much clearer when you do find a partner that is is the right fit to build a business with. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:19:30] I think that’s a fantastic metaphor. Right. The any type of job search is a lot like dating in that sense. Like sometimes it takes you dating a certain person or having a certain type of job to realize, oh, I don’t want that thing like I thought maybe I did, but I don’t want that. So maybe instead I want something over here. So I think it’s a fantastic analogy. But also recognizing that, you know, those are all learning opportunities. You know, my background is in computer science, but also started doing improv. And from improv, I learned that failure is just data. In many cases. It’s just like data to say, OK, that thing that you just tried didn’t work. So how can you iterate on it and improve? And so I’m curious, how did you have that resilience mindset? Right. Because you started you started an organization. You do it for about two years. Like you said, you didn’t have quite the right fit. And was was the thought process to be like, I’m just going to go back to comfort and security versus like, how did you then say, OK, that didn’t work. But if I try it and tweak this out now, I get to Plomley, it actually does work. Like, how did that that work for you? That that resilience to say it’s not that I can’t be an entrepreneur, it’s just I need to go into a different direction? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:20:41] Yeah, I think that you are. You have to. And this is why I think mindfulness time during the week and really being able to hear your thoughts is so important because you have to listen to the cues that are coming up, whether it’s from clients or customers or the market or investors or funders or your your team or business partners. And it became very clear to me that I was a very I was uniquely positioned to build a very different type of investment firm and my career’s of strength in venture, given my own experiences and my own personal interest. And so I and I was very I was very committed to breaking open access for a more underrepresented investor and venture to have access to invest in venture and to really change the ecosystem by getting more capital to women founders. And it was clear to me that the best way to do that was it was a, you know, building and scaling a venture firm that had a very specific investment thesis that family were focused on investing in women founders from the STEM fields. So we lead actually with tech and health care and we look to back women technologists and women scientists. But we also are very committed to engaging a much broader base of investors. So certainly women, but we have a lot of other men invest teachers and institutions and family offices that invest with us. But we do that with a first technology in health care taking us and with an intentionality so that that became clear to me. But it it took many, many different experiences for that to crystallize over or really a couple of years and and continuing to listen to your own unique differentiated advantage. And where do you want to wake up every day and spend your time doing. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:22:38] Yeah, which I think is a great reflection of how you actually want to spend that time going in and love, I love to set minds that they’re like, OK, how do we get more support to some of these groups? OK, what if I just create an organization that gives that support to those people? Let’s just create a venture firm. Let’s do it right. That’s a fantastic way to give back. And obviously Plomley Investments, like you said, investing in next generation technology, health care companies. One hundred percent of the portfolio companies have at least one woman. And the founding team, which I think is such an incredible thing. And this is maybe a dumb, obvious question, but I think it’s still valuable to to articulate is why is that value? Why is that important to you? Like, obviously we should be wanting to support that, but why are you saying, hey, rather than maybe an easier track, I’m going this way. This is what I want to do. I want to give that support. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:23:29] Yeah, well, there are no dumb questions, and that’s certainly a very important one. I see. Just incredible opportunity. A couple of things I’m sure you’re familiar, but just for the audience who may or may not be familiar, when you look at the amount of capital that goes into venture last year was to the tune of one hundred and fifty billion dollars. The majority of that capital group does go to all male founded teams and I don’t know the latest for twenty twenty. But on average, you’ve seen about two ish percent that’s gone to women only founded teams and something around 14, 15 percent has gone to companies that have had at least one woman in the founding team. So maybe three founders, two men and women, or one man and a woman as a founding team. But still, there is a massive disparity distribution and you layer in how much innovation is happening, how fast and and the opportunity that we’re seeing with incredible advancements in technology and medical breakthroughs and how it’s changing our lives and our businesses and how we operate every single day. And the and and that most that innovation is really happening in early stage companies. And there’s an opportunity to really usurp and change the complexion of the big corporates and the big companies that are public and driving much of capital markets in the course of a ten year period of time. And so when you see the lever of change venture is a very, very powerful space to play because is that can grow in scale in a pretty short period of time. I mean, it’s still ten years, but that’s not very long. And you can have incredible impact in what companies why why we’re building all these new innovative technologies. What are the medical breakthroughs of the future and how do we ensure that there is more diversity of thought in what we’re innovating, how kind of ingenuity is being brought to market, what markets were serving and what are some of the big problems that we’re solving that are, frankly, some of the biggest opportunities as we look at the next decade. And that really makes my heart beat fast and and gets me really excited because I see just tremendous opportunity on what’s happening for change and innovation and growth and economic growth and certainly returns, but also from a evolution of equality and impact standpoint. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:25:55] Wel,  and I think one, I can maybe see some of the writer or author and you coming out because you have such great phrases that you shared earlier, the idea of you had to be out of here, your own thoughts. What I think is great and then to be a lever of change I think is just fantastic articulations. I love the phrasing that you use in such an important kind of recognition. Night my wife was sharing how, at least from her perspective, like they had this challenge, I think on the Apple team, when they’re looking at the wellness app for Apple is like for the longest time the wellness app had heart rate and all this kind of other stuff, but it had nothing to do with menstruation. It had nothing to do with what a large portion of the population has to go through and what would want to track for health. And it’s because theoretically, it might be because underrepresentation of someone actually raising the hand of saying this is important because I go through it or I know people who who go through to that representation becomes really key. And so I’m curious. I’m sure the list is very, very long. But certainly as a straight white male, I sit in a ton of privilege, which I’m trying to better understand. In addition to lack of resources, what are other challenges that women investors are underrepresented founders have to go through that maybe we’re not fully aware of. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:27:16] Yeah, I think and I would just echo I, I have the woman dimension of diversity, but I too am mindful and conscious of my own white privilege and and what that means and other other other underrepresented founders, which were also equally focused and committed to. But I think that when you look at underrepresented founders at large, that the some of the biggest challenges from a founder perspective certainly is getting access to capital. But a lot of that is connected to networking relationships. And there are certainly bias. There’s been bias in the system as there is bias in every system. And I think we can all work harder to alleviate that as much as we can. I think there will always be some bias. But I think one of the areas and certainly something that we’ve been very focused on and family is, is how do we really strengthen networks and strengthen relationships and founders, a really helping more underrepresented funders, getting access to capital and getting funded. But beyond the capital, the other, I like to call it the other forms of capital, particularly the social capital, the relationships, the networks, the door opening. There are equally, if not more important, be and you’ve seen some of these stories and the big successes of companies that have gone public or gotten acquired. They certainly had the funding, but they’ve also had the championing and door opening. And so one of the unique aspects of family where we’re actually closing now a venture fund, but to date we’ve invested thirty two million in twenty three companies and all of that has been invested through US pooled syndicates and is underpinned by hundreds of investors, many of whom are women who are operators or executives or public company board members across industries. Menta but it’s about about seventy five percent women and about twenty five percent men. And so the power of that network and I don’t know guys excited. So we certainly invest our base there. But others outside that and that enable us to open doors and value to those founders in a in a very meaningful way beyond just writing a check, which is is clearly important, but it’s more than that. And so I think that is one of the biggest areas where for founders, the the ability to to have those resources, those networks and relationships, in addition to to having a more straight path to to finding the right partners to capitalize their business. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:29:44] Well, I think that a great a great service to be able to provide is those, as you mentioned, the other forms of capital, right. Is not just the monetary investment, but like you said, that the network or the support or the like, hey, we we can help to scale that or escalate or we can help. Have you thought about this or this worked in the past or didn’t like those types of relationships just can help to accelerate so much. And so clearly this is something that you are passionate about. As you mentioned, you are the author of the book Harness the Power of the Purse Winning Women Investors. Why write a book? Because like this was in addition to other work that you’re doing, it’s not like you’re like, I’m going to take a two year sabbatical and do nothing. It’s like, no, you are still very busy at that time. What was it that drew you to either the book writing process or wanting to get out there that you said, hey, this is this is a valuable thing that I need to to work on. 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:30:34] Yeah, well, I wrote the book, it’s been a few years, I wrote the book before I founded Plomley with a coupon of public funds, and I was fascinated by what was happening in the wealth management industry at large and in the investing markets with regards to really very limited participation from in a significant fashion or certainly my industry was really ignoring women as investors. And that’s true for women and institutional investing rules like me as a as a GP of family, but also for women, as individual investors. And I was particularly interested in those that are accredited investors had the ability to invest in private markets and in early stage companies or in other areas of of alternative investments, because I saw that there was just so much wealth creation happening and there’s so much elfa in terms of return that’s being made beyond just what you can get in buying the market a public equity market. And why was it that there weren’t more access points for very smart, successful women to be investing in that space? And I saw it as not just really important to close the gap, the wealth gap, which is a huge wealth gap from a gender standpoint and other underrepresented investors. But there’s also in terms of that relationship capital and the ability to invest with this a bit of how you want to invest for the future. So a lot has happened in terms of women’s influence on philanthropy, but there had not historically and there still has not historically been as much around women’s influence as investors. And certainly that is changing. I think there’s much more focus on it in the last couple of years. And that’s one of the reasons why I mentioned Melinda Gates as someone I admire. I mean, when I wrote the book, which is now almost five years ago, I did it because I personally felt, wow, I want to be able, even in my small way, to have a voice as an investor to invest in the future. I want to see to back more diverse founders and to invest in technologies and medical breakthroughs that are going to shape our future. And how do I have the opportunity to do that? And so the book allowed me the chance to hear, particularly from women, what they were looking for. And interestingly, I would say it is it was ruined, too. And it’s it’s unfolding even more rapidly. Many men want that as well. I mean, I think we’re well, we’ve all been talking there’s been a lot of noise around impact investing. I like to think of it as intentional investing, because I think as a society where we’re increasingly looking at how are we deploying capital so that it’s really a better future for all and how are we building a healthier planet and a healthier world that we’re all living in. And and I don’t think of it as just impact, because I think there’s different ways people measure impact. And something that you care about for impact is maybe different from me. And so I think about it is intentionality. I think that investors are looking to be more intentional in how they invest. And sometimes it is about solving climate or education or health or diversity. And sometimes it’s just about a curiosity of learning and people wanting to invest in things they want to learn about. Maybe it’s robotics or it’s where I is going or CRISPR and editing. And sometimes it’s about investing in spaces where you may have a personal area of expertize and you want to invest and because you have relationships or network were big ideas that that came out of writing that book. And the research, which I just see is my my business case for a founding family, because we’ve woven that into the way in which we built Plomley as a venture investment firm. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:34:26] Wow, and I think it’s such a great base, like you said, it became that business case to say, OK, this is because this is the world that exists. You’ve clearly then done your market research, talking to entrepreneurs and stuff it. It sets the stage for you to be able to create something that does have intention and have impact. And I love that articulation between the two. If you’re right, my impact is different than yours, like in others. But to have that intention is is such a powerful thing. So I’m curious, as an author myself, I spent maybe way too much time looking at the reviews. Did you read the reviews and things like that on the books? You see that when they come in. Are you kind of influenced by that? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:35:06] Yeah, I mean, it’s so funny. It’s been a little while, so it’s not top of mind right now. But yes, I mean, certainly what people have to say and it’s really fun now because I’ll meet people and actually I’ll be out talking to investors who are interested in investing in our Plomley venture fund and they’ll say, oh, wait, you wrote that book and they won’t even have put it together. So so that’s really fun because you get to hear in fact, there’s a really phenomenal story of a woman who saw me speak and had read the book and was so was so motivated and by the message that she convinced an organization that she’s part of to really make a really big investment to back diverse, diverse founders and diverse and more diverse groups in the venture world. So that is incredibly rewarding. So maybe less about the reviews and more about beginning to see the fruits of that labor really blossom and the various ways in which I think that I might have been a little early to push in that conversation. But I’m seeing, you know, not just us as a firm really grow and expand, but many others out there and so much we need to back certainly more diverse founders in early stage companies. But we also really need to back more diverse investors across all asset classes. And I’m proud to see so much action happening on that front. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:36:31] Yeah, well, and I think it’s a great testament to the book, looking at some of the reviews on it, there’s a lot that say it’s a must read, must read for all financial advisors to call for action. And again, this was, like you said, 20, 15. So this was still early as part of that stage. So for people who are interested, definitely check out the the book, harness the power of the purse. And as we start to wrap up, Andrea, if people are interested in learning a little bit more either about Plumm Ali or about some of the work that you’re doing, clearly a thought leader in this space was speaking and writing as well. Where can they either connect or learn a little bit more? 

 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:37:10] Lots of information on come out on our website, Parmalee, that C0, and that really highlights certainly our investment thesis, which, as you mentioned, just focused on investing in technology and health care specifically. But companies who have at least one woman founder from the STEM fields and really exciting because we see so much interesting stuff happening, whether it’s an alternative protein or in CRISPR and gene editing and diagnostics, many of our companies have relevant solutions to kind of the world post covid. And and frankly, it’s so. I think refreshing and rewarding to just see the incredible the incredible credentials of many of our women founders from from, as I said before, technologists and scientists. But Pamela Decco and reachable through their hair as well. And Upton. 

 

Andrew Tarvin [00:38:04] Now, Andrea, thank you so much for joining us today for sharing kind of insights on your background and also the the inspiration, I love that focus on intentional investing and whether that for the listeners is actual investing dollars or maybe it’s for as an entrepreneur or even just a kind of an employee somewhere, is how you’re investing your time and how you’re creating kind of that that world we want to to live in. So, Andrea, thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast. And thank you all for listening to us today. As I mentioned, this has been another episode of the podcast. This is brought to you by First The Ascent Conference, which puts on some fantastic events. You can learn more about them at Ascent Camp Dotcom as well as by humor. I worked my organization where we focus on teaching organizations and individuals how to use humor to get more effective results in the workplace. You can learn more about us at humor that works dotcom. We’ve got a whole lineup of other fantastic thought leaders and tech leaders that we’re going to get to know the human behind as well, just like we did with Andrea today. So be sure to subscribe and rate on your favorite podcast services. And with that, thank you all so much for watching. 

Andrea Turner Moffitt [00:39:12] Thank you.

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