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How to Develop Your Investment Thesis with Joanne Wilson, CEO of Gotham Gal Ventures

the confident investor Mar 02, 2021

My guest is the formidable Joanne Wilson, also known as the Gotham Gal. She's a New York City-based angel investor and one of the earliest angel investors to have a female entrepreneur-driven investment thesis. She's also a co-founder of the Women's Entrepreneur Festival, blogger, and podcaster. 

We dive into her over a decade-long career as a trend spotter and successful angel investor. Her very first angel investment was in 2007 and she invested in a New York media company Curbed, a position she is still holding today. Her investment portfolio includes over 130 startup companies in everything from food to consumer goods, to software to cannabis, and now real estate. 

We discuss why it's so important to create an investment thesis (especially as a new investor), how to go about creating your specific investment thesis, and why having a female and minority-driven investment thesis is an advantage in selecting companies. Joanne also shares how to think about creating a successful portfolio: everything from expected returns to finding home runs to cultivating the traits of a good long-term investor.

Key Points Discussed:

  • Introducing Joanne and her investment thesis (00:00)
  • Joanne’s path to becoming an angel investor and her first investment (04:59)
  • Joanne’s view on the future of investing in media companies (10:46)
  • How to make first investments and develop a relationship with founders (13:44)
  • The importance of a female-driven investment thesis (16:52)
  • How to evaluate companies based on the founder (21:35)
  • Successful investments and how to manage your portfolio (27:32)
  • Why it’s so important to listen to your gut and learn from mistakes (33:24)
  • What traits to develop to become a great new investor (36:52)
  • Future plans and why she thinks brick and mortar is making a comeback (40:29)

The Importance of a Female-Driven Investment Thesis

Joanne is a big believer in an investment thesis. In her view, when you stick to an established thought process, you considerably mitigate your risks.

From the very beginning of her career, Joanne was clear on her thesis: she wanted to help women get funding. She made this commitment because she understood that women were growing and changing with the market. There were holes only female-led businesses could fill. 

In Joanne’s view, investing in women is not (just) a philanthropic thing. It's a practical, financial-driven opportunity.


We Need Diversity Representation Now More than Ever

Diversity around the table is key to the success of any business today. Even with male-led businesses, unless there is representation in the room, they tend to do worse compared to minority-led startups. 

There simply needs to be diversity: we're a diverse world, with diverse businesses. And to understand the diversity of the customer that you are working with has immeasurable value for any business. Today more than ever, with all the events of the past year, the importance of equity among everyone is underlined once again. According to Joanne, we absolutely need to continue down that path. 

Additional resources

Do you have a question about investing that you'd like me to answer on the podcast? 

All you need to do is head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a rating and a review. In the review, ask anything you want related to startup investing and leave your Instagram handle for a shout out. 

And if you haven't yet, be sure to head over to and get your Confident Investor Playbook. This ebook will tell you exactly how you can make your first startup investments, no matter your age, income, or experience. 


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