DEI series (Part 2 of 4)- Resources for female: managers + founders + aspiring VCs

Update Jan 11 ‘22: Added Screendoor.

Update Oct 26 ‘21: Added The Bridge Conference’s LP GP dinners.

Update Nov 18 ‘21: added FundWomen Week. Thanks to Marianne O.

Intro to the series:

The purpose of this series is to highlight programs/investors to improve diversity within the PE/VC space at all stages of a VC’s career ranging from support when starting their own fund to support at the start of their careers. This part is focused on resources for females. Part 1 was focused on resources for emerging managers, Part 3 will be focused on resources for managers based on race, disability, age, veteran status. Part 4 will be my commentary and observations on the state of diversity in the VC/PE space and where the community as a whole can improve.

Background:

Goal of this article is to highlight numerous resources for female entrepreneurs, female VCs and aspiring VCs.

Please note, this list of resources will not include any venture capitalists unless they have a grant/internship program specifically for women.

Please click on the name of the resource to see the page related to their emerging manager program/criteria, let me know if any information is inaccurate or outdated.

US-focused resources for female GPs:

Please do your homework before approaching any of these resources to make sure that you are a good fit, because: you are more likely to get a positive response, you are more likely to get productive meetings, and you are more likely to advance in your fundraising. Read SBAI’s SPARK and ILPA’s Emerging Manager Toolkit and their DD form to help get an understanding of what you need going into these meetings beforehand.

Limited Partners:

See Samir Kaji’s list of LP’s with defined DEI mandates: https://airtable.com/shrZ7Bh1Is8ElFGJn/tblb7F0VFdFkUIDbA

Accolade partners recently raised a $200M fund to invest into women and minority venture funds.

Knight Foundation has worked with numerous diverse managers and has also sponsored research by HBS into diversity.

The Bridge Conference holds dinners with top female GPs and LPs. More info can be found here: https://www.bridgingevents.com/dinner-series

FundWomen Week (source: Marianne O.):”Global FundWomen Week is the largest global cap intro conference connecting female fund managers with institutional allocators, providing the platform to explore business opportunities, develop new relationships, and hear allocator perspectives via targeting introductions and roundtable sessions”. Also of interest “Any female fund managers who lead an investment firm/an investment fund (like a CIO, senior decision-maker in an investment committee) can apply to the 100WF FundWomen Female Managers directory here and any female VC Partners (investing) and any FinTech company led by a female who is VC-backed or at least in its seed-stage can apply for the 100 Women in FinTech directory here.”

Screendoor: Focused on underrepresented emerging managers invests $500k-$5M of their $50M fund into emerging managers (targeting a 10% allocation in the fund).

US-focused resources for female aspiring VCs:

Note, never agree to an internship where you have to pay the VC fund to do work for them. Most all VC funds charge the investors into their fund a 2% management fee that should cover the costs of an intern.

Programmes/internships:

Insight Partners’ Sophmore Diversity Summit: two day virtual summit where you meet members of the Insight Partners community.

FutureVC: Paid internship into VC for both the US and EU.

PledgeLA: internship for LA-based students.

BVCC: $14K paid internship.

For all other VC internships, I strongly recommend John Gannon’s blog: https://johngannonblog.com/ or StartupandVC: https://startupandvc.com/.

US-focused resources for female Founders:

DO NOT AGREE TO ANY SORT OF FEE-BASED CONSULTATION WITH A VC. If you are looking for an alternative to a VC that charges founders then it is recommended you look at a database such as OpenVC for alternatives.

I am a big believer in diversity. If you want help practicing your pitch click the link: https://scheduler.hibox.co/muieen/meet-and-greet

NixonGwilt’s very thorough list of investors into women founders: https://nixongwiltlaw.com/invest-in-women

Grants:

Amber Grant: Foundation that gives grants to women-owned businesses starting at $10,000.

Visa She’s Next Grant Program: $10,000 grant and coaching for 60 Black women-owner businesses.

Jane Walker Grant (source: Ifundwomen): Grant for $10K

Comcast Rise: $10K grant for select cities.

IFundWomen Universal Grant Application: write your own grant and if IFW can make a match they will. Details here

Ms Foundation for Women offers numerous grants for female entrepreneurs.

SOGAL’S Black Founder Startup Grant: $5K-$10K in grants to select businesses

International focused resources for female GPs

Please do your homework before approaching any of these resources to make sure that you are a good fit, because: you are more likely to get a positive response, you are more likely to get productive meetings, and you are more likely to advance in your fundraising. Read SBAI’s SPARK and ILPA’s Emerging Manager Toolkit and their DD form to help get an understanding of what you need going into these meetings beforehand.

Limited Partners:

Stardust Equity (Source: Gender Smart): Invests as an LP into a number of different funds globally including Generation IM, Obvious Ventures and Maycomb Capital.

WoWE (Source: Gender Smart)- endowment focused on generating funding opportunities for women.

2x Challenge (Source: Gender Smart)- criteria. Has already committed US$7B.

Beyond The Billion (Source: Gender Smart) A global consortium of almost 100 venture funds pledged to invest more into women-founded companies as well as LP investors committed to invest into such VCs. After mobilising over one billion dollars in pledges to be invested into women-founded companies through The Billion Dollar Fund for Women (TBDF), founders Sarah Chen and Shelly Porges and their team launched Beyond the Billion. Beyond the Billion has surveyed the progress toward pledge fulfillment by the TBDF pledgers and will publish a report in 2021.

Illumen Capital (Source: Gender Smart) Leverages their power as investors to deliver capital combined with evidence-based bias-reduction training and coaching for a portfolio of fund managers. Illumen Capital works closely with managers over a 10-year year period to better identify, evaluate and invest in entrepreneurs who have historically been overlooked and underestimated.

Launch with GS (Source: Gender Smart) Goldman Sachs’ $1 billion investment strategy grounded in the belief that diverse teams drive strong returns. Through Launch With GS, Goldman Sachs aims to increase access to capital and facilitate connections for women, Black, Latinx and other diverse entrepreneurs and investors.

Project Pinklight (Source: Gender Smart) Launched in 2017, Project Pinklight is an initiative within Private Equity Women Investor Network (PEWIN) to support and accelerate new, high- potential women-led PE firms by providing confidential, closed-door feedback on pitch presentations by senior-level institutional limited partners and successful female GP founders. As of May 2021, Project Pinklight has counseled 26 managers that have proceeded to raise $1.8 billion in aggregate capital commitments across 16 funds. Pinklight managers have funded 127 women-led companies to date.

Equality Fund (source: Gender Smart) Backing from Government of Canada, expected to bring $1.4 billion CAD to the field of gender equality. They are now focusing on the initial allocation of capital to public markets investments and starting to advance their thinking regarding private markets and investing in fund and private capital managers.

USAID CATALYZE (source Gender Smart) Implemented by Palladium, the grant is designed to urge investors into supporting women-owned and women-led funds and SMEs, including first-time women fund managers and women investors.

USAID INVEST (Source: Gender Smart) “INVEST has partnered with six gender-smart investment funds, including four first- time fund managers. Through the provision of catalytic funding from USAID, INVEST has supported these funds in a cumulative capital raise of approximately $370 million.”

VC Include (Source: Gender Smart) “Founded in 2018, VC Include is an exclusive ecosystem and fund platform designed for LPs to expand investment opportunities for women and diverse led early and mid-stage funds. It provides training and education and advisory services for LPs looking for diverse emerging managers in the public and private markets, and designs emerging manager programs around the themes of gender lens, climate, ESG/Impact, and first-time managers in Africa, Europe, and the U.S. The Include Ventures Fund of Funds was launched in 2021 to invest in exciting market opportunities, with a focus on inclusion and innovation.”

FundWomen Week (source: Marianne O.):”Global FundWomen Week is the largest global cap intro conference connecting female fund managers with institutional allocators, providing the platform to explore business opportunities, develop new relationships, and hear allocator perspectives via targeting introductions and roundtable sessions”. Also of interest “Any female fund managers who lead an investment firm/an investment fund (like a CIO, senior decision-maker in an investment committee) can apply to the 100WF FundWomen Female Managers directory here and any female VC Partners (investing) and any FinTech company led by a female who is VC-backed or at least in its seed-stage can apply for the 100 Women in FinTech directory here.”

Africa:

African Women Impact Fund (AWIF) (Source: Gender Smart)- From the Standard Bank Group, meant to invest into established female fund managers. Please note their website last accepted applications June 30, 2020.

Women in African Investments (Source: Gender Smart) “Started in 2017, WAI is an influential collective of women investment professionals focused on investing in Africa. Beyond advocacy on a wide range of issues, WAI members support each other through networking, knowledge-sharing, and awareness-building to catalyse gender-equitable economic growth in Africa. Members include senior executives at DFIs, PE/VC funds, Philanthropic funds, FinTech intermediaries, Family Offices, and market development organizations. The WAI Group makes women fund managers visible, holds the industry accountable, and combats inequalities in access to capital.”

International focused resources for aspiring female VCs

Note, never agree to an internship where you have to pay the VC fund to do work for them. Most all VC funds charge the investors into their fund a 2% management fee that should cover the costs of an intern.

European Union:

FutureVC: Paid internship into VC for both the US and EU

I strongly recommend John Gannon’s blog: https://johngannonblog.com/ or StartupandVC: https://startupandvc.com/ for broader VC internships.

International focused resources for female Founders

DO NOT AGREE TO ANY SORT OF FEE-BASED CONSULTATION WITH A VC. If you are looking for an alternative to a VC that charges founders then it is recommended you look at a database such as OpenVC for alternatives.

I am a big believer in diversity. If you want help practicing your pitch click the link: https://scheduler.hibox.co/muieen/meet-and-greet

NixonGwilt has compiled a very thorough list of investors into women founders: https://nixongwiltlaw.com/invest-in-women

Grants:

Cartier Women’s Initiative: numerous awards ranging from regional awards STEM focused awards, sponsored by luxury brand Cartier.

Eileen-Fisher Environmental Justice Grant: $200,000 in total of grants disbursed in $10k-$40K per grant recipient. Full details of criteria can be found here

Collaborative for Frontier Finance (Source Gender Smart) “A multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to increase access to capital for small and growing business (“SGBs”) in emerging markets — a deficit estimated at $930 billion. CFF works with diverse stakeholders — including local capital providers, institutional investors, development agencies, philanthropic funders, and field builder organizations — to accelerate financing solutions that target SGBs. CFF works in three ways: by building and empowering networks of these stakeholders, performing “actionable research,” and undertaking market- based initiatives to address systemic barriers, with a view to fostering a peer-to-peer learning environment and providing a platform for collective action.”

Moonshot Ventures (Source: Gender Smart) “A VC firm that addresses development challenges faced by emerging economies in Southeast Asia. They invest in disruptive innovations and mission-driven entrepreneurs in order to achieve large-scale impact. They also manage and incubate impact funds, and each fund focuses on a specific development problem. With every fund, they work alongside domain experts and partners across all sectors, who share a commitment to tackle the same distinct issue. Moonshot Ventures combine the collaborative power of many, with the focus of one.”

Ireland:

Visa’s She’s Next Irish Grant Programme (source: Ifundwomen.com) EUR 5K + mentorship

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Muieen Cader

I write about Venture Capital. Previous VC experience with Betatron. Advisor to startups (across the globe) and sailor.