Rebecca Danta | Director of Miami Angels
Success leaves clues.
Finance Strategists sat down with Rebecca Danta, director of Miami Angels. She shared her thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight she gained from running the business.
Who is Rebecca Danta?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I am a proud Cuban-American. Both of my parents immigrated from Cuba and built a life in Miami. I was raised in Miami, and then went to college in central Florida at University of Florida. After a brief stint in retail management I got lured into the world of high growth tech when I worked at General Assembly in New York. I worked with some of the smartest and kindest people and had an incredible experience there. But I quickly realized all I left behind at home in Miami and decided I wanted to move back and make an impact in my community. Now I am helping build the venture capital and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Miami as the Managing Director of Miami Angels, an angel network that brings together accredited investors to invest in early stage startups.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
My mother. I was raised by a single mother and I saw the way she sacrificed and did the hard things for us, and I think that was the single biggest factor that makes me the person I am today. Although we had a lot of economic uncertainty my mother always put a premium on education. Something that drives me now is providing access and opportunity for other underrepresented minorities in tech.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
You don’t need to have your career perfectly mapped out. In fact, the beauty lies in the unexpected – the unforeseen opportunities that pop up and the calculated risks you take.
I never knew (still don’t!) how to respond to the typical hiring interview question: “Where do you want to be in five years?” I used to rack my brain about it, but now I am perfectly comfortable with not knowing.
Q: What is Miami Angels?
Miami Angels is Florida’s largest angel syndicate, with 100 accredited investors who invest in early stage startups throughout the US and Latin America. We were founded in 2014, have invested in over 30 companies, and have deployed $14.2M to date. 61% of our portfolio companies are led by underrepresented minorities in tech, a number I am particularly proud of.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
Angel groups are known for being slow and for being out of touch with the founder experience. I.e., they ask for things that today’s founders do not use, such as a business plan. Or they take six months to make an investment decision. I am acutely aware of these pitfalls and have designed our process and the group to operate differently. First, we ensure we have members in our group who understand the founder experience. Then, we make it easy for founders to reach us: instead of a complicated application, we share our email on our website and we tell founders to send us a well-written email with their deck. Finally, we adapt our process to the founder’s fundraising timeline. We move quickly; we’ve invested in as quickly as three weeks before.
Q: What led you to lead Miami Angels?
I am not the founder of Miami Angels, but I am the leader of the organization today. Like I said earlier, I saw the thriving tech ecosystem New York had to offer and I knew there was so much room for Miami to grow. So I chose this role because I thought it was a great way to have an impact on the ecosystem as a whole.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
The importance of hiring well. A business is only its people. And the importance of always having a runway – this has proven to be especially key during today’s current climate.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
Like I said before, this is the million dollar question I never have a proper answer for! There is still a lot to do at Miami Angels. The behavioral changes we’ve all had to face in 2020 are leading to innovation and I believe the world will not look the same way it looks today. And I look forward to investing in some of the best ideas and people leading that change.