Bringing groups of women together to introduce them to angel investing and funding female-led startups with Lynn-Ann Gries
Who is Lynn-Ann Gries?
Lynn-Ann Gries has spent her career in the financial arena. From investment banking to venture capital she has experience working with a wide range of companies, from start-ups to those in the Fortune 1000.
She began her career in the mid-80s working for two investment banking firms in New York, Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley. When marriage brought her to the Midwest she began working for the regional firm McDonald and Company, now part of KeyBank. At McDonald she was primarily responsible for helping companies access capital through the public equity markets, but also assisted
companies in the processes of raising growth capital or transitioning ownership through sales or mergers.
In 2001 she began working in venture capital, managing a small venture development fund with a mission to invest in tech-based start-ups. Over the course of 12 years she and her team invested $30M in 80 companies, all located in Northeast Ohio, including CoverMyMeds (sold to McKesson for $1.1 billion), CardioInsight (sold to Medtronic for $90 million), Wireless Environment (recently sold to Ring for an undisclosed amount) and OnShift, one of the Northeast Ohio region’s premier software companies.
As of July 2018, she is the newly hired Managing Partner of the First Check Fund, the newest in a family of 15+ funds managed by Alumni Ventures Group. She also runs her own consulting firm providing a variety of business services including management of a women’s angel network, financial analysis, market research, and advisory services to entrepreneurs seeking capital. She currently serves on the boards of the Smith College Club of Cleveland, Summer on the Cuyahoga and In Counsel with Women.
Lynn-Ann received her MBA from New York University (Stern School of Business) and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College where she majored in Economics. She is mom to two grown children and resides in Shaker Heights with her husband, a sixth generation Clevelander, high school lacrosse coach and devoted Cleveland sports fan who has successfully managed to turn a Jersey into a Cleveland Indians superfan.
Lynn-Ann shared her background starting in New Jersey and ultimately in Cleveland, OH including her time investment banking and early stage investing in the Midwest. Lynn-Ann goes into detail on economic redevelopment in Ohio and her work with Jumpstart and the Ohio Third Frontier Program.
Lynn-Ann talks about how she used to think that women didn’t need any preferential treatment to get funding until she saw the data. This prompted her to share a female founder deal with her successful female friends that led to syndicating her first deal. Her goal was to get the women she knew in her community with big jobs, at big corporations, where there is no intersection with an entrepreneur, to bring them together with the female led startups looking for capital.
Terri and Lynn-Ann talk about the importance of getting more women to invest and the difference in risk tolerance between men and women and how this affects investing by women.
Terri and Lynn-Ann discuss doing the work for free to support the female founder and female investor ecosystem and investigating options to monetize the time spent building it.
Lynn-Ann talks about the women starting very small funds to build track record to be able to raise bigger funds at a later date.
If Lynn-Ann could wave a magic wand, she would make universal healthcare coverage a reality.
Terri’s Key Takeaway
We need to continue to build the connections between investors interested in female-led startups to make it easier for them to get access to capital.
References in the Podcast
Ohio Third Frontier Program: https://development.ohio.gov/bs_thirdfrontier/
Sallie Krawcheck: https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/team/sallie-krawcheck
Feminist Fight Club: https://www.feministfightclub.com/
Jane VC: https://www.janevc.com/
First Check Fund: https://www.avgfunds.com/first-check/
Alumni Ventures Group (AVG): https://www.avgfunds.com/
Lynn-Ann can be reached through LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-ann-gries-44440/
You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium: https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead.
Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com.
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