NasaClip Founder Elizabeth Clayborne Built Her Business with the Best Angel Investors: Other Black Women

To build NasaClip, a medical device that helps nosebleed patients find quick relief, Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne turned to the women she knew would invest in her ingenious idea: other Black women in her community who were willing to help finance her dream and see it come to fruition.

“I had heavy support from other physicians who knew me, understood my device and wanted to support me,” the emergency medicine physician from Maryland tells EBONY.

That includes fellow physician Dr. Charlotte Jones-Burton of WOCIP (Women of Color in Pharma) and Jill Johnson of IFEL (Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership), who were ready to invest their money in her startup. “I found that within the Black community, there was not a lot of awareness that you can invest as an angel investor.”

Reaching out to colleagues to raise capital actually helped Clayborne spread the word about the opportunity to invest, even with its risks.

NasaClip. Image: courtesy Dr. Liz Clayborne.
NasaClip. Image: courtesy Dr. Liz Clayborne.

“You’re investing in a company in its earliest stage, and many of them fail,” Clayborne admits. But making these types of investments helps to create a legacy of Black businesses for years to come. “If the company makes it, it can make it very big,” she concludes.

Getting traditional venture capitalist funding is a tough climb for Black women. “I was really struck about the dearth of funding that is directed towards women, especially women of color when it comes to venture capital or even angel investing,” Clayborne says. “Currently, only about 2% of venture capital goes to women in general, and only .75% goes to Black women.”

She adds, “Even if [Black women] don’t get as much capital, statistically, we actually outperform all of our white male counterparts. We’re faster to revenue and profitability … women, in general, represent only 2% of venture capital, but 13% of unicorn exits (private companies that are valued at one billion U.S. dollars or over).”

It’s made Dr. Liz—as she’s known to her patients—even more determined to make NasaClip as synonymous with nosebleeds as the Band-Aid is with bruises. She has set her sights on making the NasaClip an essential part of safety kits for quick care on the go in the airline and cruise industries.

“I want to knock it out of the park with NasaClip, so that I can inspire other women and people of color to pursue their entrepreneurial journey,” she says. “And for the investors to understand it’s not just charity to give me money; I’m here to make a turn on your investment.” The risk was worth it for early investors because NasaClip’s pre-money valuation is now over ten million.

It’s all part of Claiborne’s CEO mission. She’s especially pleased with how her new title affects her two daughters. “They are three and five, and they think it’s normal for me, as a woman, to be a CEO and a doctor and to be on TV all the time.”

Being a successful businesswoman also means knowing when to escape the constant grind. Clayborne takes Sabbath days for herself, silencing work calls and emails to get a much-needed rest. “I think that that has been essential to me giving myself the mental and physical space to pause and reset,” she says. She has blocked Mondays out on her calendar as a personal day. “I think it allows me to return with the refreshed attitude you need to hit the ground running and not burn out.” 

NasaClip. Image: courtesy Dr. Liz Clayborne.

At the heart of her business aspirations, the doctor recognizes that her company will improve the mental wellness of those who suffer from chronic nosebleeds, and her success will benefit her angel investors and other Black multi-million ideas.

“It has shown me that I think that women, and especially women of color, are primed to be our best leaders,” she declares. “I think we’re actually, by the very fabric of our culture, we’re innovative and make a way out of no way: make $1 out of 15 cents. We already have that hustle attitude and all of the characteristics needed to be successful, especially as a founder, because you constantly have to pivot and be creative and resilient. And I think that it’s brought out all those best characteristics in me. I want to be successful in this role because representation matters.”

Updated: May 28, 2024 — 3:03 pm