Angel investor LauRyn Williams is a certified financial planner, financial adviser and the president of the National Black MBA Association’s Detroit chapter. Throughout her career, Williams has helped businesses scale and prepared clients to raise capital for their businesses. This includes documenting their business efforts to attract investors.
TechTown Detroit’s tech-based programming intern Bella Hernandez interviewed Williams on her angel journey. Williams shares how she’s benefitted from participating in our Catalyst Angel Program and her recruitment efforts to support the program.
TechTown Detroit: Tell us a bit about yourself and your investment journey.
LauRyn Williams: I am an investment advisor, a certified financial planner with Prudential Advisors, and Detroit’s chapter president of the National Black MBA Association. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked with startups within industries ranging from construction to real estate, bringing the intellectual capital they need to scale. I was initially very interested in angel investing due to my background in advising; it’s an asset class that is often overlooked due to its risks and uncertainties. The Catalyst Angel Program was an opportunity to create a stronger educational foundation for angel investment.
How did you hear about the Catalyst Angel Program?
TechTown reached out to the National Black MBA Association’s national office in Atlanta to discuss recruiting a cohort of our Detroit chapter members. I found myself really synergizing with Dr. Dawn Batts, director of growth capital at TechTown, on where our community in metropolitan Detroit needs to be. I have since taken on the task of recruiting other [NBMBAA] presidents and other chapters who are eligible to participate in the Catalyst Angel Program based on the region specificity of the program.
What was the most impactful part of the program?
In my professional career, I have many clients who are business owners that come to me to [help them] be attractive to angel investors. I often had conversations with these clients about how to raise capital and document their business activities in a way that is amenable to obtaining financial resources. Going through the Catalyst Angel Program felt like the integration of being both an MBA and a financial advisor. Not only was I able to build a strong body of knowledge about angel investing, but I was also better able to inform and prepare my clients for attracting investment.
Why is angel investing so important?
Personally, angel investing helps me tap into creative expression. A startup is like a ball of undefined potential, and helping a founder realize that potential and make their vision a reality is a great feeling. Quantifiably though, the creation of business entities and the creation of wealth are most important. That first wave of capital can be life-changing for someone that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. As a financial adviser, I’ve seen clients with businesses who didn’t make it, sometimes because they didn’t do enough market due diligence on their idea before launching. So, I’m very aware of how investment, whether used to focus on promotion or the structuring of a business to more effectively penetrate the network of its potential customers, can significantly impact these outcomes.
TechTown Detroit’s Catalyst Angel Program helps emerging angel investors in the Great Lakes region who identify as Black, Latinx and/or women gain knowledge about investing, engage in curated courses through partner organizations and connect with other investors in local and national angel communities. If you’re interested in learning more, complete this interest form.