Angel Investor Gary Flowers

A CIO Who Walks the Talk by Empowering the Underrepresented

Gary Flowers is an angel investor in the Florida Funders angel network. As a CIO with over 28 years of experience in technology, the Tampa Bay area holds a special place in his heart. Born and raised in Florida, with an MBA from Tulane and a bachelor of science degree in Management Information Systems from Florida State University, he has spent almost his entire career in Tampa.

Throughout that career, he has worked in management consulting, education, workforce management, and most recently, equity-based nonprofits. Currently, he is the CIO for Year Up, a nonprofit with a mission to close the opportunity divide by providing learning and development opportunities and internships to young adults from underserved communities. 

In addition to his career, Gary is also passionate about investing in minority-owned technology startups. “I believe that representation matters,” Gary explains when discussing his investment philosophies. He continues, “Not just as it relates to the executive room or the board room, but also I believe that representation matters as to where I put my dollars.” Walking the talk, Gary exclusively invests in companies with minority leadership.

Given his busy career, however, he admits that he doesn't always have the time to fully vet the investment opportunities. This is why he values the due diligence process that Florida Funders has in place. He also likes the option to invest smaller amounts, starting at $5,000, in order to diversify his investments across multiple companies.

Two individuals he cites as having had an impact on his investment decisions are Tom Wallace, Managing Partner at Florida Funders and Tony DiBenedetto, his mentor, previous boss, and also a Florida Funders investor.

Overall, whether it be in the work that he does today with Year Up, his board roles or his investments, Gary truly walks the talk and is incredibly passionate about using his skills and resources to give back to his community.

Our Investor Spotlight series features some of our most active fund and angel investors. Learn more about them and their thoughts on investing.

To keep up to date, you can follow our blog here or sign up for our newsletter which goes direct to your mailbox monthly.  Head over to the Florida Funders angel investor page to learn more about the opportunities for investing in early stage tech startups. 

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