You never really know who is a potential investor. That’s what Jessica Kim discovered after telling an acquaintance at her church about her efforts to launch BabbaCo ― a company specializing in children’s activity kits.
“One of my largest angel investors was one of the people in my church group,” says Kim. “He ended up investing $150 thousand.”
Kim was the featured speaker at an inaugural luncheon, at Maggiano’s in downtown Chicago, where members of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) ― a nationwide organization of professionals focused on nurturing leadership, business skills, and professional development ― had gathered to attend the first event of a monthly women’s speaker series.
In her friendly, down-to-earth manner, Kim gave tips to the roomful of corporate professionals with a budding interest in entrepreneurship, about the best methods to formulate an idea for a business, confirm the validity of their idea, and how to determine which funding source, if any, is appropriate.
“The passion that she has for her business, hopefully [Jessica] can serve as a role model for other Asian American women who are thinking of pursuing [entrepreneurship],” says Rose Olea, organizer of the event and a NAAAP national board member.
Another one of Kim’s earliest personal and professional angel investors is Paul Lee, partner at Lightbank ― an early-stage investment firm in Chicago. Since that initial round of funding, Kim has raised over $5 million from other investors.
An energetic mom of three small children, Kim has created products and successfully launched several companies prior to founding BabbaCo ― including a bread company while she was an undergraduate student at Brown University, and a line of baby accessories which were sold in boutiques and distributed at big box stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond. ❒