Natalia Oberti Noguera ’05, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, spoke at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute on Tuesday, addressing members of the Yale community as part of the Women Innovators Breakfast series.
Pipeline Angels is a network of women investors with the goal of “changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women and nonbinary femme social entrepreneurs.” She spoke as part of the YEI’s Women Innovators Breakfast series, which hosts a female entrepreneur every Tuesday morning. Oberti Noguera’s talk was co-hosted by La Casa Cultural.
“The goal is to create an inclusive community for women innovators at Yale and to provide resources and support for them on their journey as entrepreneurs,” said Cassandra Walker Harvey, associate director of social entrepreneurship at the YEI.
Harvey added that each talk draws 15 to 25 female members of the Yale community every week.
During the talk, Oberti Noguera elaborated on her experience as a female entrepreneur and her motivation for beginning Pipeline Angels.
In 2008, she built a network of female social entrepreneurs, growing it from about six women to 200 in two years. Oberti Noguera said that she kept on hearing similar experiences about how difficult it was for female entrepreneurs to secure funding for their innovations and projects.
“Society has a gendered view on how we change the world,” Oberti Noguera said. “If a woman or a femme says they’re going to change the world, the assumption is that they’re going to launch a nonprofit. If it was a guy, people aren’t thinking he’s going to launch a nonprofit.”
Hearing these experiences motivated Oberti Noguera to launch Pipeline Angels, which engages high net-worth women angel investors “who have experience making a positive impact with money through philanthropy.”
Through bootcamps and pitch summits, Pipeline Angels introduces these women to women-led social ventures.
“Since launching April 2011, Pipeline Angels has held a signature bootcamp for new investors and a signature pitch summit for startups looking for funding,” Oberti Noguera said. “[More than 200] women have graduated from our angel investing bootcamp and have invested around $4 million in [over 40] companies, with two exits in under five years, via our pitch summit process.”
Pipeline Angels has also managed to support a diverse range of female entrepreneurs. Oberti Noguera noted that the spring 2017 class was 31 percent black, 23 percent Latina and 46 percent white. Over 21 percent of Pipeline Angels portfolio companies have a black woman founder.
During her talk, Oberti Noguera elaborated on one of her most beneficial jobs during her time at Yale, in which she solicited donations from alumni. She noted that finding a connection with alumni to open up conversations has been one of the most helpful skills she has learned as an entrepreneur.
Oberti Noguera also talked about her extracurricular life at Yale, highlighting her involvement with The Gaze, the student-run photography journal she ran, and Al Dente, a reality dating show on Yale TV.
“While I majored in economics and comparative literature, I feel like I majored in extracurriculars,” Oberti Noguera said. “These extracurriculars — which entailed coming up with an idea, assembling a team, executing, delivering and having a product — those were really great experiences as now an entrepreneur and founder. It’s where I learned as much, if not, more. It was real-world experience.”
Members of the Yale community who attended the talk spoke positively of Oberti Noguera’s advice.
Renee Wasko GRD ’21 said she came away from the Women Entrepreneur’s Breakfast with a heightened awareness of both the challenges she may face in her career as well as the resources and opportunities open to her. She added that hearing about Oberti Noguera’s journey made her realize that there was not one single path into entrepreneurship.
Wasko described Oberti Noguera as an “engaging and empowering” speaker, noting that she took a genuine interest in her listeners, addressing them by name and making recommendations for their specific ventures or fields of work.
“I think Natalia brings an incredibly important perspective to the table and the work she’s doing in New York is phenomenal,” Harvey said. “She’s a really interesting example of someone who took an advantage of a lot of different resources during her time at Yale.”
Maclovia Quintana ’11 FES ’14, assistant director of La Casa, said Oberti Noguera had a “really interesting story and was a very engaging presenter.”
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