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Entrepreneur Angel Rich Shares Advice with Women in Venture Investment Group

By Jon Cawley

Angel Rich, the Prudential global research analyst turned entrepreneurial powerhouse, visited the Old Dominion University Strome Entrepreneurial Center recently to discuss gender inequality challenges in finance with the Women in Venture investment group.

Rich is the founder and CEO of the Washington D.C.-based Wealth Factory Inc., which develops financial literacy games. Prior to founding her company, Rich, a graduate of Hampton University, was a global market research analyst for Prudential. While there, she led President Barack Obama's Veterans Initiative Research that was used as a basis to build a consortium to educate and hire vets. She also led the first African American Financial Experience Study, which still serves as the benchmark study across the national financial services industry for marketing to African Americans. Her research saved Prudential $6 billion in one year.

Through her Wealth Factory company, Rich created the world's first financial literacy gamification app "Credit Stacker," which is available in 10 languages, 40 countries and logs over 25,000 downloads each year. Rich is also the author of "The Black Dollar," which reveals the significant economic moments in history and key figures that have helped shaped the United States.

Despite her successes at Prudential, being named "the next Steve Jobs" by Forbes Magazine, and successfully completing several business accelerator programs, Rich still ran into trouble finding startup financing.

"When people talk about difficulties in receiving money that is the journey they are referring to," she said.

Rich said she eventually realized how she was consistently being underestimated and decided to use that to her advantage.

"I'm like a Trojan Horse. I'm going to enter Troy because you thought this was just a horse and then once I get in position, I'm going to take down your walls," she said. "I want women to realize that because they underestimate us. You are in position. Don't miss your opportunities. Figure out how to utilize your position to help someone and help change the world. Everyone has a certain way they are able to do it. You just have to figure out what your strength is."

Following Rich's keynote address, the group heard from additional speakers on investment-related topics. They included:

  • Liz Doerr, director of engagement for NRV, a Richmond-based investment firm;
  • Monique Sury Adams, executive director of 757 Angels, one of the larger "angel groups" in the country with more than 100 members/investors and $15 million of capital injected into startup and early stage companies;
  • David Levin, M.D., the chief medical officer for Sansoro Health, who has founded several healthcare IT startups and served as an advisor to many more; and
  • Nancy Grden, executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

The Old Dominion University Strome College of Business sponsored the event along with CBRE Hampton Roads, Wall Einhorn and Chernitzer CPA's and advisors, Williams Mullen, 757 Angels and NRV.

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