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“The Billion Dollar Fund For Women” Launches To Tackle The Gender Funding Gap

In a monumental time for women, The Billion Dollar Fund For Women campaign is mobilizing $1 bn investment in female founders in the next decade – with over $460Mn already pledged to date by venture investors from across the globe. 

While the gender pay gap is well documented, what is not, is the gender funding gap as reflected in the fact that only 2 % of venture capital goes to women-founded companies (“WFC”s). To address this, The Billion Dollar Fund for Women (“TBDF”) was established to mobilize a global consortium of venture funds to pledge to increase their investments in women-founded companies. TBDF has gathered over $460 million in pledges to date toward a 1 billion dollar goal.

The fund was inspired by a desire to mobilize and connect these venture funds with institutional and other investors to create larger pools of capital for venture investments into WFCs. Managing Partners Shelly Porges and Sarah Chen along with Co-Founders Anousheh Ansari, Nadereh Chamlou and Anu Jain are eager to expand their global reach of venture funds. As importantly, they hope to inspire larger investors to see these funds as a key opportunity to gender diversify their portfolios and to meet the growing push for ESG (environment/social/governance) requirements. 

With three founding partners present at the Tri Hita Karana (“THK”) Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 in Bali, the launch of TBDF was announced during the session “The Next Billion: Funding the Female Economy” led by Shelly Porges, Sarah Chen and Anousheh Ansari who walked the audience through an engaging presentation covering the gender investment gap, the opportunity for investors and highlights of some of their partner venture firms.

In the U.S., all-women teams have received just $1.9 bn or 2 % of the total of $85 billion invested by venture capitalists last year. Beyond this, venture funds committed to investing in women-founded companies often struggle to expand their capital base and to increase their capacity to invest. Yet, research shows that companies with women founders bring in 20 % more revenue with 50 % less invested.

“Having ourselves experienced the challenges faced by other female founders and seeing latest research showing that women-founded businesses deliver higher returns, we are thrilled to be able to bring together our combined knowledge, experience and, most of all, networks in finance, technology, and entrepreneurship to mobilize capital for female founders and innovators. We’re overwhelmed and thankful by the response we have gotten so far and are thrilled to continue with our journey because we know that when you invest in women, you’re in good company,” says Shelly Porges, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, The Billion Dollar Fund for Women.

“As a female technopreneur I know how the funding challenge curbs the growth of female founded enterprises. The current institutions have failed to properly recognize the success rate of female-led companies and to understand their needs. TBDF’s campaign is the first phase of our ambitious plans to disrupt the current models,” says Anousheh Ansari, Co-Founder, The Billion Dollar Fund for Women.

For venture funds that make a pledge, TBDF provides greater exposure to institutional funders, sovereign funds, wealth managers, family offices and high net worth investors. Supporters of TBDF as of today include Backstage Capital, Different Funds, Gobi Partners, Rethink Impact, Golden Gate Ventures, and Springboard Growth Capital among others who are pledging a total amount of over US$ 460 million so far (for the full list, see below).

On behalf of Rethink Impact, a U.S.-based venture capital fund focusing on social impact investments, Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner, says, “Investing in women not only helps us achieve gender parity, but is good business and good for the economy”. “The future of venture isn’t monolithic, billion-dollar funds investing in concierge products for the 1 %,” says Different CEO and Founder, Leslie Jump. “The future of venture is being built in cities around the globe, in a vast array of industries, by a diverse group of innovative managers. We’re excited to make a pledge to TBDF. We know that diverse teams outperform, and we’re committed to helping women-led venture firms reach their capital goals.”

“Gobi has seen real empirical data and real financial performance that come from women-led companies to date, as one third of our total portfolio are women-founded companies. With this pledge Gobi is reiterating our ever-growing commitment to women entrepreneurs and the importance of diverse leadership. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this initiative by TBDF and will do our part to help bolster and address this vastly underserved market”, says Shannon Kalayanamitr, Venture Partner at Gobi Partners.

More information about The Billion Dollar Fund for Women can be found here.

The Billion Dollar Fund List of Venture Fund Partners as of October 10, 2018:
$100+ Million Funds (this refers to size of fund NOT pledge to TBDF)
• Different Funds
• Gobi Partners
• Golden Gate Ventures
• Rethink Impact
• Springboard Growth Capital

<$100 Million Funds (this refers to size of fund NOT pledge to TBDF)
• The Arcview Venture Fund
• Backstage Capital
• Blue Ventures
• Elevate Ventures
• Golden Seeds Fund
• Green Cow Venture Capital
• Mindshift Capital
• Minerva Capital
• Patamar Capital
• Portfolia
• SoGal Ventures
• TEJA Ventures
• True Wealth Ventures  

The photo shows three of the founders with a donor from Gobi Ventures: Shannon Kalayanamitr from Gobi Ventures; Anousheh Ansari, Shelly Porges and Sarah Chen, three of the five founders of the TBDF (from left to Right)

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