Member Spotlight: Makda Fitsum, associate, Alpaca VC

Q: How long have you been a She’s Independent member? 
I am relatively new to the organization and have been involved for a few months now.

Q: Where are you/your family from originally and how has that impacted you as an investor?
My family is originally from the Tigray region in Ethiopia, and growing up in Denver, Colorado, as a first-generation American and student, technology became my go-to solution for any challenge. This upbringing instilled in me a love for learning and investing in groundbreaking technology that can truly transform industries for consumers and businesses alike.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your career path.
My career journey began in investment banking at Goldman Sachs within the Technology, Media, and Telecom group. At Goldman, I had the privilege to contribute to various significant transactions, ranging from IPOs to M&A and other debt and equity transactions. Working closely with incredibly talented founders and cutting-edge technology during my time at GS ignited my passion for venture capital. Programs like BLCK VC’s Breaking into Venture equipped me with the tools to navigate this industry, where clear paths are often elusive. She’s Independent has also been invaluable, providing education and support as I navigate this exciting transition.

Q: Where are you on your investing journey and how has She’s Independent played a role?
Currently, I am early in my investing journey and transitioning into VC. She’s Independent has been instrumental in providing exposure to the ecosystem and facilitating meaningful connections.

Q: What have you learned through She’s Independent? 
Through She’s Independent, I’ve come to appreciate the power of community and collaboration within the investment realm. Being part of a network that embraces diversity and inclusion has been enriching. Collaborating with individuals from various backgrounds, professions, and life journeys has provided me with invaluable insights and expanded my perspective. Their diverse experiences contribute significantly to the depth of understanding and consideration we apply to the investments we evaluate.

Q: Why is it important to have representation in the angel/investing community by Black women?
Representation in the angel/investing community by Black women is crucial for fostering diverse perspectives and ensuring equitable access to opportunities. By having a seat at the table, we can advocate for overlooked founders and drive positive change within the investment landscape. Investing in technology and businesses not only empowers underrepresented groups, but also contributes to solving societal challenges faced by our communities.

Q: What does it mean to you to invest in businesses owned by Black women and other underrepresented founders? Why is it important?
Investing in businesses owned by Black women and other underrepresented founders is not just about financial returns; it’s about leveling the playing field and creating a more inclusive economy. Supporting these entrepreneurs means amplifying their voices and addressing systemic barriers to success.

Q: What has been your biggest ah-ha moment or benefit from the She’s Independent experience so far?
One of the most significant revelations from my She’s Independent experience has been realizing the collective power of diverse investors coming together to drive change. The sense of community and shared purpose has reaffirmed my commitment to supporting underrepresented founders and advocating for diversity in the investment landscape.

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