Carol Curley is a leading woman in the angel investing world. She is currently an investor and managing director at Golden Seeds, one of the largest angel investment groups in the U.S., with over 300 angels located in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Golden Seeds is an “investment firm that pursues above-market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them,” says their LinkedIn profile. In order to share expertise and best practices, the company houses a Knowledge Institute for investor training activities, which Curley directs in addition to her other duties at Golden Seeds.
On top of that, Curley is currently the acting president of The Charian Group, LLC, a company she formed to provide consulting services to financial intermediaries, non-profit organizations and early-stage companies, with an emphasis on women-led and women-focused organizations.
Previously, Curley was the executive vice president, chief operating officer and a member of the Board of Westwood Management Corporation, a registered investment advisor. She has also held senior investment banking positions with Berkshire Capital Corporation, Prudential-Bache Capital Funding and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. Inc.
Curley has worked as an adjunct professor of finance at the Graduate School of Management at the University of Dallas and at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University.
Curley serves as a mentor to Pipeline Fellowship, a woman-founded and woman-led organization that trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring and practice, as well as the Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator, the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology.
Over the years, Curley has served on numerous boards, such as Astia’s NYC Advisory Board, a global, a non-profit organization that propels women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses. She has also served on the boards of Investors’ Circle, a network of socially-responsible private investors; Dallas Women’s Foundation, an organization established to promote economic self-sufficiency for women and girls in the greater Dallas area; and Women’s Opportunity Fund, a non-profit micro-lending enterprise.
Curley holds a B.A. in economics from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification.
Astia NYC Advisory Board
The Dallas Opera
Dallas Women’s Foundation
Women’s Opportunity Fund
Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator
Memorable Quotes (courtesy of Wellesley College):
On her years as a student at Wellesley: “When I began as a first-year at Wellesley in the fall of 1972, I was convinced I would become an attorney. In addition to the political science class I thought I would need to prepare me for law school, I took introductory economics courses with the legendary Wellesley professors Marshall Goldman and Carolyn Shaw Bell. I was fascinated with the study of economics and decided to focus my studies and my major in that discipline.”
On how her undergraduate studies contributed to her career: “There is much debate about the value of a liberal arts education. In my case, what Wellesley really taught me to do, through the exposure to so many disciplines, was how to think and how to be a problem-solver. In addition to the strong academic background, which prepared me for both my professional life and graduate studies, Wellesley provides access to an incredible group of alumnae.”
On a typical workday/workweek: “I wear two hats in my work at Golden Seeds. The first is as an active angel investor in early-stage businesses. In this role, I spend a lot of time meeting with entrepreneurs and evaluating business proposals. I attend industry events and will frequently participate as a panelist on topics involving angel investing. In addition to being an active angel, I run the investor training programs at Golden Seeds—helping new members understand the nuances of angel investing.”
In regard to students interested in the financial services industry: “If you are interested in pursuing a career in financial services, it is important to have a strong analytical background. As an undergrad, take courses in economics and math to prepare you to understand financial statements and economic trends. In many of the financial services tracks, an M.B.A. or advanced degree is a requirement.”
On what she wishes she had known as a student: “There is a quote from Warren Buffett—‘In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.’ This is very appropriate for those of us looking back and offering advice to current students. I wish I had known that careers, like life, do not follow linear paths and that it is okay to takes some risks and choose a path that may lead to a very different career experience. It is really important to love what you do, as you spend a great deal of time with…your chosen profession.”