We are aware that women own nearly 50% of all privately held US businesses. However, when it comes to high potential startups and their chances with VC capital, the gender gap makes the funding gap persist. The VC space begs for more gender balance in the investment committees, appointing women leaders with different life experiences and perspectives. This is the only path to funding opportunities where women bring gender-influenced innovative solutions to the market. Women bring representation to investing and the involvement of more female investment decision-makers will bring to the surface more women-owned startups. As per the report by All Raise:
“ Female funders are 2X more likely to invest in startups with one female founder, and more than 3X likely to invest in a female CEO.”
Now let us talk about the success rate of women vs men-led startups. As per a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research that covered five years of investment and revenue data, it was found that, for every dollar of funding, women-founded startups generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated only 31 cents. To remain a bit scientific, it is worth noting that the study included 258 men-led startups and only 92 women-led ones. Again, the scarcity of women-led startups in studies too is due in part to funding!
At Fujn, we care about what women care about. The funding gap is a problem that we, all women, should care about. Therefore, in an effort to guide women entrepreneurs towards more capital, we have done research about women-run VCs, which invest in women-led startups. Here is our list:
1. Female Founders Fund:
Founded by Anu Duggal in 2014, Female Founders Fund (FFF) is a seed-stage venture fund that invests exclusively in female-founded startups. In 2018, Anu was included in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list. She has also earned other credentials including “Ultimate List of Female Startup Investors,” and “Top 4 Venture Firms Investing in Women”, for her contribution and accomplishments in bringing diversity to venture capital. Since its inception, FFF has invested in more than 50 women-led startups and is now the largest fund of seed capital geared specifically toward female entrepreneurs. In July 2021, it closed its third round of funding for $57 million (Total Funding: $89 million), backed by Goldman Sachs, Cambridge Associates, Twitter, and Melinda French Gates. To date, Female Founders Fund has made 68 investments.
Headquartered: New York
Investment Approach: The firm invests in e-commerce, media, platforms, advertising, and web-enabled services.
2. BBG Ventures:
Founded by Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua in 2014, BBG Ventures makes investments in startups with at least one female founder, typically investing between $100,000 and $250,000. In March 2021, BBG Ventures closed its third fund, for $50 million (Total Funding: $70 million). To date, BBG Ventures has made 108 investments. Among BBG Venture’s portfolio companies, 58% have non-white founders and 33% have Black or Latinx founders.
Headquartered: New York
Investment Approach: BBG invests in Health and Wellbeing, the Future of Education and the Future of Work, Climate Friendly Products and Platforms and Overlooked and Emerging Consumers. Its investment focus areas are consumer internet & consumer tech, marketplaces, commerce, media, and consumer products sectors.
3. Golden Seeds:
Founded in 2005, Golden Seeds is an early-stage investment firm that funds high-potential, women-led businesses across all sectors. It is managed by three Co-CEOs and Managing Partners: Jo Ann Corkran, Loretta McCarthy, and Peggy Wallace. They invest in startups with at least one woman in the C-suite with appropriate equity. Moreover, the company should have an addressable market exceeding $500 million. GS invested over $148 million in over 200 women-led startups.
Headquartered: New York with chapters in Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, New York, and Silicon Valley.
Investment Approach: Focus on B2B Technology & Services, healthcare, life sciences, and consumer products.
4. Women’s Venture Capital Fund:
Founded in 2011 by Edith Dorsen and Monica Dodi, Women’s Venture Capital Fund makes investments in early-stage, revenue-generating, led by management teams inclusive of women. It has raised capital across 2 funds, their latest being Women’s VC Fund II, launched in late 2017. The company has made 26 investments and has a portfolio of 12 companies.
Headquartered: Portland, Oregon
Investment Approach: Focus on 3 high-growth sectors — Enterprise SaaS, Consumer Internet, and Educational Technology. Also, they prefer investing in Pacific Northwest and California.
5. Halogen Ventures
Founded by Jesse Draper in 2016, Halogen Ventures is an early-stage VC fund that focuses on female-founded consumer technology startups. She has around 55 companies in her portfolio.
Headquartered: Los Angeles, California
Investment Approach: The company invests in pre-seed, seed, and Series A companies that create groundbreaking technologies and products in the consumer space.
6. BELLE Capital USA
Founded in 2013, an early-stage angel fund that targets startups with at least one female founder, C-level executive, or board member. BELLE has a portfolio of 7 startups.
Headquartered: Douglas, Michigan, United States
Investment Approach: Focuses on digital/mobile/internet (IT), technology-enabled products and services, life sciences/medical devices/health IT (Digital Health), and CleanTech market sectors. Besides, the target company should have the potential to reach $20+ million in revenues within 5 years.
7. True Wealth Ventures
Founded in 2015 by Sara Brand, True Wealth Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on investing in companies that have at least one full-time female founder or C-suite executive, with significant decision-making authority and significant equity ownership. The company prefers to be the first institutional investor with first checks up to $1 million. The company has made 12 investments and raised a total of $19.1 million in a single venture fund in 2018.
Headquartered: Austin, Texas
Investment Approach: invests in human health and environmental health sectors. This includes sustainably produced building materials and energy systems, home goods, green packaging, clean manufacturing & supply chain technology, sustainable agricultural tech, health tech, food-as-medicine, wellness products and solutions, femtech, silver tech, clinical decision support, public/community health.
Founded in 2015 by Sue Heilbronner, it invests in startups with at least one female leader. Since its inception, the company has invested in 48 startups and recruited a network of 300 mentors and 600 investors. MergeLane raised a total of $20 million in a single venture fund, in 2018.
Headquartered: Greater Denver Area, Colorado
Investment Approach: While open to all sectors, they are mostly focused on technology-enabled products, services, and software.
9. XFactor ventures
Founded in 2017, XFactor Ventures is a micro fund focused on making pre-seed and seed-stage investments in companies with billion-dollar market opportunities that have at least one female founder. It has raised a total of $11.6 million across 2 funds and made 59 investments.
Headquartered: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Investment Approach: The Company makes $150K one-time investment. Besides, it offers advice and connections from founders who have raised capital and built companies to scale that want to help other female founders win in their markets.
10. GingerBread Capital
Founded by Linnea Conrad Roberts in 2016. The company makes early-stage through later-stage growth capital investments in women founders and women-led businesses. Besides, it provides a network for women investors, encouraging women to invest in women. GingerBread Capital has made 41 investments.
Headquartered: California, United States
Investment Approach: Invest in technology sectors with automation, AI, and data analytics.