By Riley Kaminer
In her more than two decades in the finance industry, Gerry Poirier was frequently the only woman in the room.
“There were 25 of us in my analyst class at Credit Suisse, and 22 were men,” she told Refresh Miami. “The other two women ended up having to drop out because it was so difficult to pass the exams.”
Poirier tried to make the most of it, with her career taking her from New York to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. As she traveled extensively during this time, she noticed one thing she had in common with locals: “What struck me is how disadvantaged women were across all economies and across all markets.”
Fast forward roughly 20 years, and Poirier is now leveraging technology to help female entrepreneurs on a global scale. Poirier founded AngeLink, a social crowdfunding platform built for women. The vast majority of AngeLink’s 15 full-time equivalent employees are also women. Through AngeLink, users create campaigns to raise capital for everything from starting a business to supporting their families through tough times.
“70% of crowdfunding donors are women, and nearly 80% of crowdfunding campaign organizers are women,” said Poirier of the decision to build a platform focused on women.
“I had no idea how difficult building this platform would be,” admitted Poirier, noting the very high barriers of entry to the space. “It’s especially complex because of the payment flow,” she explained. Ultimately it took AngeLink two years to build the platform, and then the company came out of stealth mode in June of last year.
Since then, AngeLink has scaled to 50,000 active users and raised $5.75 million as part of a seed round that Poirier plans to close at $10 million. The company has also filed eight patents and integrated an artificial intelligence-powered system to protect users from fraudulent activity. Gamification is another central part of the platform, with AngeLink rewarding both donors and organizers for their participation in campaigns.
Now AngeLink, which was founded in Naples, has opened an office in Miami. Poirier underscored the excitement about Miami’s tech scene and our rapidly-growing talent base as the motivating factors for expanding the company’s presence in the Magic City. She cited recent conferences such as eMerge Americas and the Florida Venture Forum as events that are putting Miami on the map as a global tech hub.
Looking forward, Poirier expressed excitement about the positive effects AngeLink can have on communities at scale. “Crowdfunding was an entry point to building the world’s first social fintech platform where women can come together and support each other,” she said.
But Poirier is even more bullish on the positive business opportunities AngeLink unlocks for its users. “Everybody talks about the fact that women get 3% of VC funding, but what about the other 97% of them that don’t? That’s who we’re helping,” said Poirier. “We’re doubling down on helping women across all of the economic spectrum – helping them help their families and friends, first and foremost. And helping women open their own businesses and find success.”
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- The power of women helping women entrepreneurs succeed
- Web3 Equity’s Tuttle Tribe turns 1: Breaking barriers for women in tech education and building a more inclusive future
- What’s the lowdown on funding for female-founded startups? Pitchbook report and local data shed light
- Make your voices heard as crypto regulations are crafted, Women in FinTech speakers urge
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