baMa has the objective of changing the colors of investment by activating diverse capital in order to achieve a more inclusive innovation ecosystem. To spread baMa’s mission we have hosted a hybrid event to present the summer pitch and different panels with multitude of speakers.
The event started if off with the summer pitch for members-only. During the pitch event: Freeman Capital; Hera Biotech; Change: water labs & Interstellar Labs have presented their future-driven companies. Our members have decided to do group diligence with Hera Biotech, a medical technology company coming out of San Antonio. Interstellar Labs also garnered a lot of interest from our members, and our senior investor members have decided to pursue individual due diligence with it.
After the pitch event the panels, powered by DiA, began with Driving forces for a diverse and inclusive ecosystem. President & CEO of Nation Waste, Inc, Maria Rios and CEO at baMa Maria Maso have discussed the current state of events embracing diversity and inclusivity in the ecosystem. Maso stressed how important is innovation for her and her family, as for health reasons they moved to Houston. Therefore, activating more capital to support innovation is her main passion. Additionally, she explained that “diversity is not only bringing different colours to the table is to achieve better decisions by taking into account different backgrounds and ideas.”
Maria Rios has been optimistic about women in the innovation ecosystem and has encouraged anyone to take on the opportunities and to help each other. “Women investors can grow when they get the tools and skills so educating and mentoring is crucial to encourage them” stressed Rios. She ended the talk by giving some advice for the entrepreneurs to get into the innovation ecosystem. “You have to find yourself and love your business while learning from others and to how to do financials and surround yourself with people passionate like you” she passionately told the audience.
After this talk, founder of Watchherwork, Denise Hamilton; founder of Ossy International, Shecky Ray; CEO of Salman Solutions, Samira Salman & CEO of SheSpace, Stephanie Tsuru began with the panel: She believed she could so she did. This panel named by our sponsor, SheSpace, has focused on the challenges of women entrepreneurs and investors but also how to overcome them while encourage any female that want to take part in the innovation ecosystem.
The speakers stressed how important is to build strong relationships and a network full of die-harts. “You should purge the idea of having millions of associates, you need friendships and those who will advocate for you” described Hamilton. Women need to be in the room where things happen while building relationships. At the end of the day, as Salman expressed, “you do business with people that you trust so you need to connect to the people.” Connecting with the people is made by being authentic and talking to them from your heart.
The next panel was Portfolio diversification done right, risk, reward & social impact. Phillip Yates, General Counsel at baMa and managing Partner at Diversity Fund was the moderator of the panel and the speakers has been managing Director at GOOSE Capital, Chris E. Staffel; Founder and CEO at Fluent, Beth McKeon and Managing Partner at Continental Venture, Ahmed AlTammar.
The speakers have given a series of recommendations when it comes to diversifying any company portfolio. For McKeon it is vital to check the riskiness of the business model before diversifying. You should not diversify “when a business model is dreamier than reality because you want to invest and have success in the long term” McKeon has further explained. AlTammar has encouraged “to join other pears if you don’t know how to begin diversifying and investing while learning as you go.” Staffel has highlighted how Goose Capital has a diverse portfolio and strongly support joining forces with baMa in order to increase its diversity.
The next panel was Activating investors of colors with principal at Shell Ventures and Advisory Board member at baMa, Andrea Course as the moderator and Director at McNair Center of Entrepreneur, Patrick Woock; Nonprofit Leader & Fundraiser, Jessica Graham and co-founder and managing director at Urban Capital network, Lenny Saizan as the speakers. The panel has stated that there is not enough diversity and that investors tend to invest in other people like them. Additionally, Course stated that “2% of VC founding went to women and .02% to women of colour so there is a clear problem.”
All the panelists have expressed that diversity is fundamental to get better returns. Specifically, Woock advised to the audience that they should know the people in the industry while also understand the industries that you get into. “Timing is also crucial; you need to see where the trend is going and the demographics” he further explained. Saizan added that there are huge opportunities in tech, and that “joining an investment group or going to baMa or Urban Capital network to get around more people to help you with the decision to invest.” Graham closed the panel by also encouraging the attendees and anyone to surround themselves like baMa and to “not underestimate the value that you bring to the ecosystem.”
The last panel was Leading innovation industries. Product Designer at Schlumberger and DiA Manager at baMa, Mafe Tafur was the moderator, and the speakers were Chief Strategist at Women and Drones, Kimberly Penn; Vice President at Hamilton Health Box, Adrian Trömel and CEO at SOTAOG Sarah Tamilarasan.
The speakers all described what traits innovators they admire have. For Trömel there are two types of innovators: ones give the space to the team to develop, and lead the team, others intervene in the solution side with the approaches to the problem. Tamilarasan added that is fundamental “the ability to not give up because solutions are hard to find so persistence and endurance are necessary.” Penn expressed that “innovators have to create a company culture that fosters the grow and to take risks.”
The event was closed by Arnobio Morelix and Gary Bolles talk on How to navigate economic changes. Bolles has expressed that entrepreneur to navigate the systemic change that we are currently seeing it is crucial to have the right mindset, skillset, and toolset. “Mindset is how to approach problem; skillset is the way we try to solve problems and toolset enable us to be effective to solve problems” he further explained. Digital proficiency and being a problem solver are crucial.
Morelix closed the event by thanking the sponsors: V&E; Boral Agency; SheSpace and The Cannon. We would like to thank once more to our incredible sponsors and supporters. Without them changing the colors of investment would not be possible. We will keep all of you informed of the upcoming updates regarding Due Diligence with some of the pitch companies. LET’S KEEP CHANGING THE COLORS OF INVESTMENT TOGETHER!
Catherine Carey, Communications Manager at baMa