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Some of Twitter's Top Execs Create a New Investment Group, '#Angels'

The group, which includes current and former Twitter execs, is completely separate from the company.

Marisa Allegra Williams (@marisa) for Twitter, Inc.

Some of Twitter’s top executives are looking to use their tech expertise outside of the nest.

A half-dozen current and former Twitter executives have banded together to form #Angels, an investment group looking to bet on interesting tech startups. The group then plans to use its tech and business acumen to help groom the startups it finds.

On the surface, it sounds like a fund, which Silicon Valley is full of. But the team behind #Angels says it’s not a fund; each member will make investments individually, according to a blog post. Guidance and advice from the team will be offered regardless of which #Angels member chooses to invest.

That guidance could be crucial coming from this group, which includes an impressive collection of Twitter’s top executives, both past and current.

One interesting note: All the members of the #Angels group are women, which is noticeable given the recent tension around gender discrimination in the tech community. (You can read more about this by following the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins lawsuit currently under way in court.)

“We’re focused on funding the best teams pursuing the best ideas just like any other investor,” Jana Messerschmidt, a group member and current VP of global business development for Twitter told Re/code in an email. “That said, we’re all personally very passionate about diversity in technology and we’ll share more when we have a broader story to tell on that front.”

Included on the #Angels team are current Twitter employees Messerschmidt, General Counsel Vijaya Gadde, Global Head of Media Katie Jacobs Stanton and Director of Corporate Development Jessica Verrilli.

The Twitter vets on the team are former VP of North American Media Chloe Sladden and former Director of Product April Underwood.

“Some of us are still focused on Twitter and will continue to be. Others are beginning the next chapter of their own entrepreneurial endeavors. But all of us love working with startups. And we love working together,” the group wrote on its blog.

Of course, having angel investors who still work in the upper echelons of a public consumer-facing company could create an opportunity for conflicts of interest. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the group is completely separate from Twitter and that the employees participating in the group will be held to Twitter’s existing conflict of interest policy.

The team claims this won’t be an issue, however. Put simply: “We will not be investing in companies that could create a conflict of interest from a competitive or potential acquisition point of view.” So there you go.

Twitter is far from the only tech company with sitting executives playing the angel investments game. Google, Apple, Facebook — these companies also have execs in the same boat, just not necessarily as a unified group.

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