Equity Angels Launches To Diversify Proptech Innovation

Key Takeaways:

– Kenya Burrell-VanWormer and Katherine Winston have co-founded an accelerator called Equity Angels.
– The accelerator aims to provide professional mentorship, fractional executives, and fundraising preparation for companies started by entrepreneurs from diverse demographics.
– The real estate industry is facing challenges such as low sales volume, high interest rates, and the proliferation of AI.
– McKinsey’s report shows that companies started by white males typically receive more venture capital funding than those launched by underrepresented founders.
– Equity Angels aims to encourage minority entrepreneurs to take action on their ideas and achieve parity in funding.
– The program will include a six-month “fundraise-ready program” and access to fractional C-Suite leadership.
– Fundraising in proptech is down, making access to capital more challenging.
– Equity Angels’ mission is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the technology startup ecosystem.

inman:

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, chief growth officer at NEO, and Katherine Winston, founding member and head of marketing at Plunk, have teamed up to build a program that will provide professional mentorship for minority entrepreneurs in proptech.

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Two women in proptech leadership positions are aiming to extend their impact across the space with the launch of their co-founded accelerator, Equity Angels, according to a Jan. 16 press release shared with Inman.

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, chief growth officer at NEO, and Katherine Winston, founding member and head of marketing at Plunk, have teamed up to build a program that will provide professional mentorship, fractional executives and fundraising preparation for companies started by entrepreneurs from diverse demographics. Both women will serve as managing partners of Equity Angels.

“The real estate industry is going through one of the most challenging times in history and is caught up in a perfect storm of low sales volume, high interest rates, the proliferation of AI and industry-wide paradigm shifts,” Burrell-VanWormer, who was Inman’s 2018 Person of the Year, said in the release.

Burrell-VanWormer was recognized by Inman for standing up to powerful forces, showing leadership, fortitude and thoughtfulness in engaging with a controversial and important subject for the real estate industry, which at the time was a proposed dues increase from the National Association of Realtors.

Citing a McKinsey report on diverse startup leaders that shows companies started by white males typically out-fund those launched by underrepresented founders, the pair hope to encourage minority entrepreneurs to take action on their ideas.

McKinsey found that “in 2022, Black and Latino founders received only 1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively of total U.S. venture capital (VC) funding. Women-founded teams received 1.9 percent of VC funds, and only 0.1 percent of VC funds went to Black and Latino women founders.”

However, as Equity Angels points out, “Achieving parity for women and minority founders could yield trillions more dollars in revenue, creating jobs and stimulating the economy.”

Burrell-VanWormer and Winston will seek out a team of experienced industry professionals in a range of specialties to guide its program members, who will participate in a six-month “fundraise-ready program” beginning in April 2024.

The Equity Angels program will also provide participants with access to fractional C-Suite leadership through high-level executives to “develop and scale their businesses at sustainable rates.”

Fundraising in proptech is down for both new and existing companies. The ​​Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation (CRETI) reported a drop of more than 42 percent in 2023, which suggests that access to capital will get even more challenging for those already neglected by the venture capital market.

A number of efforts inside the real estate industry have emerged in recent years, such as California Regional MLS’s venture fund and the National Association of Realtors’ REACH program. Neither is specific to assisting minority demographics but both offer a more direct understanding of how backed solutions can benefit the industry.

In summary, Equity Angels states its mission is to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within the technology startup ecosystem through accelerator programs, executive placement and resources for growth. Its website has more information for aspiring proptech founders.

Email Craig Rowe


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Property Chomp's Take:

In the world of proptech, two women are making waves with the launch of their co-founded accelerator, Equity Angels. Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, the Chief Growth Officer at NEO, and Katherine Winston, the Founding Member and Head of Marketing at Plunk, have teamed up to create a program that aims to provide professional mentorship for minority entrepreneurs in the proptech industry.

The real estate industry is currently undergoing significant challenges, including low sales volume, high interest rates, the rise of artificial intelligence, and paradigm shifts within the industry. Burrell-VanWormer, who was named Inman's 2018 Person of the Year, understands the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in this industry and believes that providing mentorship and support to minority founders is crucial for their success.

According to a McKinsey report, companies started by white males typically receive more funding compared to those launched by underrepresented founders. In 2022, Black and Latino founders received only 1% and 1.5% respectively of total U.S. venture capital funding. Women-founded teams received 1.9% of VC funds, and only 0.1% of VC funds went to Black and Latino women founders. Equity Angels aims to address this disparity by encouraging minority entrepreneurs to take action on their ideas and providing them with the necessary resources to succeed.

The Equity Angels program will offer professional mentorship, fractional executives, and fundraising preparation for companies started by entrepreneurs from diverse demographics. Burrell-VanWormer and Winston will assemble a team of experienced industry professionals to guide program members. The program will include a six-month "fundraise-ready program" starting in April 2024.

Access to capital in the proptech industry has become increasingly challenging, with a drop of more than 42% in proptech fundraising in 2023, according to the Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation (CRETI). This makes it even more crucial to provide support and resources to entrepreneurs who have been neglected by the venture capital market.

While there have been efforts within the real estate industry to support startups, such as venture funds and tech accelerators, Equity Angels stands out for its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program aims to advance diversity within the technology startup ecosystem and believes that achieving parity for women and minority founders could yield trillions more dollars in revenue, creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

For aspiring proptech founders, Equity Angels offers a valuable opportunity to receive mentorship, access fractional C-Suite leadership, and gain the necessary resources for growth. By providing support to minority entrepreneurs, Equity Angels hopes to drive innovation and inclusivity within the proptech industry.

In conclusion, Equity Angels, co-founded by Kenya Burrell-VanWormer and Katherine Winston, aims to address the funding disparity faced by minority entrepreneurs in the proptech industry. By providing professional mentorship and resources, Equity Angels hopes to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion within the technology startup ecosystem. With their program set to launch in April 2024, aspiring proptech founders have an exciting opportunity to receive support and guidance from experienced industry professionals.

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