Ita Ekpoudom - The Journey From Seed to Series A

Ita’s mission is to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of successful women business leaders and investors. As the Founder & CEO of Tigress Ventures, an advisory and consulting firm she started in 2014, Ita tapped her considerable network to bring together visionary entrepreneurs with seasoned pro’s to help women scale their businesses and hone their leadership skills. Tigress Ventures hosted a monthly speakers series featuring thought leaders and industry experts, and provided private consultations with individual clients.

Ita also served as Venture Partner at Plum Alley Investments, where she oversaw investment opportunities and pipeline for high-growth female-founded and gender-diverse startups.

Previously, Ita held product management roles at TravelClick and American Express. She began her career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst in Credit Capital Markets and then as an institutional trader of preferred stock. Ita holds an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a certificate in Finance, from Princeton University.

What is GingerBread Capital? Our mission at GingerBread - we are a venture firm carved out of their family office, the Roberts family office, and our mission is to invest in that next generation of women entrepreneurs that are building high growth, venture-backable businesses. And one of the things that we do is that we are making sure that you need the capital, and then you need access to those networks and the other people that help you advance your business along. From our standpoint, we're not leading rounds, right? So we are not going to be leading a round. But we are going to be the one where we get a lot of calls where people are like, "we'd like to collaborate with your team," because we bring that to the table of access to networks, and access to our cells as well.

We're all former bankers and operators on the team and we're happy to give that without having to necessarily have a board seat to the companies that we invest in. That's what we're bringing to the table. And we're also wanting other women to be investing in women. So this asset class of the private equity world in general, venture capital in particular, has been dominated by men, as we all know, both from the sides of who's deploying the capital and who's receiving it. And that's one of the things, as capital is moving over from men to women and the transition over these next few years, we want women to know that they should also be having access. And thinking about when they get disposable income that gives them that optionality, to consider investing in female founders, whether directly in companies or if they don't have the time to do that all the time, through funds as well.

So that's the team Linnea started. Katherine, another fellow Partner, Olivia, Principal, we are the four investing members of the Investment Committee, and then we've got our Executive in Residence, Cary, and the woman that makes us all sound wonderful, Jeanie Barnett. So that is Team GBC. One of the interesting notes about GBC, we were always a virtual company. I'm based in New York. Olivia is now temporarily sort of here in New York as well. But mostly everybody else was in the Bay Area, and even pre-COVID, we were a remote team. So it's kind of like the rest of the world works the way we do.