Angel Academe makes its second investment in What’s in My Handbag

A syndicate of Angel Academe members have recently joining existing investors (including 360 Capital, William Reeve founder of Lovefilm and Alex Saint and Troy Collins founders of Secret Escapes) in a significant founding round in Whatsinmyhandbag.com (WIMH).

This latest investment will boost WIMH’s mission to disrupt and dominate the tech beauty market which is considerably behind that of fashion with only 1 on 5 people making a beauty purchase online. WIMH is already supporting leading beauty brands and last month worked in partnership with Net-A-Porter beauty to celebrate its first anniversary. Not only is WIMH committed to becoming the largest online beauty community by engaging and growing its 100,000+ members, but it also continues to develop new and innovative ways for members to try and buy new beauty products online.

With an all male board and all male investors, CEO Emma Flannery turned to Angel Academe (AA) for help in sourcing some women angels. Emma says that with her female angels she has “everything I need to run a business. It’s not just about the money with women. Men are more numbers focused while women want to add value, to be supportive to make more of success.”

According to the UK Business Angels Association only 5 per cent of angel investors in the UK are women. Sarah Turner founded Angel Academe last year to address this imbalance, “We control nearly half the net wealth in the UK and are represented at the top of all the professions and leading organisations, so setting up an angel investment group targeting these women seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring some new, smart capital into the market.” Of the 9 Angel Academe investors in WIMH, 8 of them are women and for many of them, it’s their first investment.

Sarah describes Angel Academe as a platform for professional women with extensive business experience who want to support tech entrepreneurs, particularly other women, as mentors, non-execs and angel investors. The group has grown rapidly and consists of men and women with a wide range of angel investing experience and professional skills. We are pro-women she says, not women only. There are several men in the group. They believe believe women make better CEOs and there’s a growing body of evidence to support this! The Angel Academe syndicate brings top level experience to WIMH including finance and investment, digital, business development, strategy, policy, marketing, PR and entrepreneurship.

Background on CEO Emma Flannery and WIMH

Emma Flannery joined WIMH in February 2013 as Commercial Director before taking over as CEO four months later. She is the majority shareholder. She was previously National Account Controller at Lancome and former buyer for The Perfume Shop. Her mission with WIMH is “to be at the forefront of Beauty Tech connecting beauty brands with consumers the intelligent way.” She champions intelligent beauty and has created a unique, engaged online beauty community to deliver powerful market research data and effective digital campaigns to beauty brands.

WIMH’s ambitions

Now with substantial new investment Emma Flannery is set to catapult WIMH into the beauty world. She says: “We know it is difficult to discover new beauty products as you can’t test and try them. So every week we upturn the handbags of celebrities, female entrepreneurs and other interesting women and provide our 100,000 and growing members with exclusive editorial, product reviews and recommendations and the opportunity to apply and try some of the products featured in the bags of their favourite creative insiders.”

Emma’s mission is to build the largest online beauty community and to continue to educate members about beauty. “Whether it is exclusive original content, how-to-videos or creating reader interaction, we want to know about everyone’s beauty needs so that we can inspire them with our expert knowledge while being a destination area for brands to go-to-learn more about consumer behaviour.”

WIHM and Angel Academe

To secure angel investment from women, Emma approached Founder of Angel Academe Sarah Turner, who gave Emma advice on her pitch before she presented it to the angel group.

Angel Academe

Talking about Angel Academe, Sarah Turner says: “Targeting professional women seemed like an opportunity to bring some new, smart capital into the angel market place. And a win-win if that smart capital could be used to support women-founded businesses. The conventional wisdom is that women are risk-averse. If this means more thorough in their due diligence, then I agree. Our experience at Angel Academe is that women are prepared to take calculated and well-informed risks. They also tend to work very collaboratively on due diligence and to help the businesses they invest in.

“Our real strength is the amazing range of talent around the table. Between us we can cover all the bases: investing expertise as well as broad sectoral and functional experience – from tech to marketing, sales to finance, startups to corporates. We have many new investors in the group but there are some very experienced angels and professional investors as well. Essentially, it’s a fun and collaborative place to learn about angel investing and give it a go if you haven’t before, or become a better investor if you have.”