She’s dressed to invest. Arian Simone is the president and CEO of Fearless Fund, a WOC-led firm funding other WOC-led businesses. We love to see it, just as much as we love to hear that Arian was also appointed to Steve Madden’s board of directors.

We chatted with the finance pro about how she’s flipping the script on who deserves venture capital dollars.

How did you get into the VC world?
While I was in college, I was raising capital for a retail business. I raised a couple hundred thousand dollars, and that’s when I learned that a lot of the people who cut checks do not look like me. I remember sitting on the floor amongst the hangers, prepping for an opening, and I made a promise to myself that one day, I was going to be the business investor I had been looking for.

That was about 20 years ago. Between then, I ran a PR and marketing business that I completely bootstrapped, and as my career started to develop, I started meeting people in the venture capital industry. From there I thought, “Wait, this is how I can make good on that promise.” So I set out to start a micro fund that ended up being much larger than what we anticipated.

Why focus your efforts on women of color?
The reason we placed an emphasis on women of color is because we are the most entrepreneurial demographic, but the least financially supported. The statistics probably wouldn’t be as alarming if we weren’t starting more businesses than anybody else. You could say, “Oh, well, the reason why they [only get] 1% or 2% of funding is because they only make up such and such percent of the market.” But we have a high percentage of founders in our demographic, so we chose to hone in and be very intentional with our focus.

What are you always looking for as an investor?
There are 2 things I think any investor—whether it’s our friend or a stranger—is going to hone in on: Traction in the marketplace and a great brand story. Those are the things that are going to get an investor’s attention. At our fund, we also look at products and your team. From those 4 indicators, we’re able to assess if we want to set up a meeting.

Apart from a business idea, what else helps sell a pitch?
Confidence is everything. It will land you more than you probably ever expected. Of course, your presentation and your eye contact are important, too. But do you believe in yourself enough to be successful in this business?