PEOPLE: Xandra Laskowski Takes Lead for Women Angel Investors in SoCal: As CEO of a Women-Run Angel Investment Group, Laskowski Has Made it her Mission to Incorporate More Women into the Angel Investment World….
This article is reprinted with permission from UCI Beall Applied Innovation. Written by Jackie Connor. Photo by Daniel Xu.
Becoming an investor requires curiosity, passion and a lot of due diligence – and that is what Xandra Laskowski has acquired throughout her career working in otherwise male-dominated industries of tech, money management and now, angel investing.
As the founder and CEO of OSEA Angel Investors, Laskowski is driven by many purposes, but a few form the basis of OSEA: providing a platform and meaningful education about the angel investing world that is driven by women and, though not exclusively, for women to invest in very diverse and successful emerging companies.
In 1988, Laskowski started in the purchasing department of Toshiba in Irvine, worked her way into worldwide commodity management and, later on, the disk drive division based in San Jose throughout her years at the company.
“I was thrust into a man’s world, but I was so new and naïve, it worked in my defense,” said Laskowski. “I didn’t look at politics, I wasn’t intimidated because I was open-minded.”
During her time at Toshiba, Laskowski developed connections, received top tier mentorship and embraced Toshiba’s hardworking culture. From there she moved into major account sales positions at tech companies based in the Bay Area, and then finally, Ingram Micro, a global technology and supply chain services company based in Irvine.
“I was fortunate to have been treated with respect during my career and given the tools to do my job,” said Laskowski. “I was taught to view challenges as opportunities and worked with really, really great people.”
A Learning Curve
After retiring from Ingram Micro in 1998, Laskowski spent the next decade raising her children. She then became interested in the family’s money management and wanted to learn how to continue to grow their assets. She interviewed the family’s money manager and several of her affluent friends’ husbands, but she still had no clear idea of an investment strategy and after a year of research, she began managing the family assets. In 2013, Laskowski began attending local angel group meetings and brought along a few interested friends to learn about angel investing. This prompted her to try and join a women’s angel group in Orange County, but learned one did not exist.
“There are so many women I know who want to learn about angel investing, and they want to be in a
women’s group. Where is it?” said Laskowski. “And to this date, there are no other women angel groups
in Orange County or Los Angeles that connect, educate and inspire women about angel investing.”
OSEA Angel Investors
Since 2017, OSEA has been the go-to angel investment group for women in Southern California. The
group is part of the Angels Syndication Network and utilizes UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s event space
to hold meetings and pitch events. If you’re a startup, you must meet OSEA’s presenting company
criteria –all seven points – before you’re invited to pitch. The group is industry agnostic and past
investments have been in Software as a Service and consumer-facing industries.
“Writing a check is not why most of our members join,” said Laskowski. “I say, ‘I don’t care if you write a
check. That’s not why you’re in this room. You’re here to be inspired about what’s going, to be educated
on the angel world, to learn how to invest and to stay connected to those deals.’”
Laskowski’s main credo is education – her goal is to teach women to invest thoughtfully and learn from
“You don’t know what you don’t know – and with angel investing, that can be dangerous,” said
Laskowski. “So why do we do it? Because we want to be a part of something that might succeed, that
will give back to the community in the form of jobs and revenue and hopefully create more women