My final post in the women-focused venture capital firms series features venture capital investment firms in the Southern United States. I’ve covered women-led VC firms on the East Coast, West Coast and Midwest.
Venture capital investment for women: 5 firms to follow in the South
Here are five standout female-focused venture capital funds in the South.
- The JumpFund.
- True Wealth Ventures.
- Good Growth Capital.
- Valor Ventures.
- Bumble Fund.
There’s still lots of work to do done to close the VC gender gap, but as we begin to open the conversation through education the road ahead will get smoother for women wanting to become VCs, as well as those women in search of VC funding. Read on to learn more about how we begin to reframe the conversation from one of bias to one of inclusion.
1. The JumpFund
Leadership + Location: Led by Managing Partner Kristina Montague, The JumpFund is based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Who’s in their portfolio? Specialty roasting coffee company Fleetwood Coffee, natural dye business Stony Creek Colors, and 3D printed shoemaker Feetz all have a place in The JumpFund’s portfolio.
Every company in this portfolio has two common similarities. Each is led by aspirational women entrepreneurs and each business was founded in the Southeast.
What do they do? Where are the women? Since launching in 2013, this is the question The JumpFund has set out to answer. Their solutions include increased capital investments for women entrepreneurs within two categories: women investing in women and gender lens investing. The JumpFund recruits and works with women interested in investing capital into high-growth ventures created by other women. Their VC fund is also part of 58 other VC funds that invest through a gender lens. This means that the focus is on increasing women’s access to capital and women’s presence and value as entrepreneurs.
Leadership + Location: This Austin, Texas venture capital firm is led by Founding General Partner Sara T. Brand and General Partner Kerry Rupp.
Who’s in their portfolio? Smartwatch provider UnaliWear, mobile neurocognitive testing solutions company BrainCheck, and patented skin health treatment Dermala all have a place in the True Wealth Ventures portfolio.
What do they do? True Wealth Ventures follows a specific hashtag mission: #TrueWealthWomenDo.
This VC fund invests in high-growth markets where women are the primary customer. Moreover, True Wealth Ventures seeks out companies where women are interested in making a positive impact through environmental and human health.
Leadership + Location: Led by Managing Partners Maureen Stancik Boyce, Ph.D. and Amy Salzhauer, you’ll find Good Growth Capital’s office in Charleston, South Carolina.
Who’s in their portfolio? Good Growth Capital places a primary focus on investing in early stage tech companies, and their portfolio reads as a “who’s who” of movers and shakers in the space. There’s Republic and Questis in the fintech space, Pryon in artificial intelligence, and Aluna and Leuko rounding out healthcare technology.
What do they do? As mentioned above, Good Growth Capital’s VC firm helps fund early stage technology startups and fill in the investment gap.
The firm connects its portfolio companies to their partners in Charleston, Boston, and New York to continue supporting entrepreneurs behind tech startups. Further investment opportunities might also be found in GGC’s Infinite Corridor Fund. This fund targets industry sectors, like hard sciences and data sciences, that are poised for rapid growth. An in-network team of advisors with serious qualifications assist in the process. These advisors have either worked with or at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Some are even active angel investors with MIT angel groups, proving they know how to walk the walk and talk the tech talk.
Leadership + Location: Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Valor Ventures is led by Founding General Partner Lisa Calhoun and Founding Partner Sarah O’Brien.
Who’s in their portfolio? Businesses ranging from one click event photography services company Candidly to Rented.com for short-term vacation rentals.
What do they do? You only have to look to the fund’s name for why it’s worth it to partner with Valor. Valor knows what it means to be courageous. The VC fund offers a supportive shoulder for seed stage founder growth and understands how to meet the challenge of said growth through growth spurts and growing pains alike. Valor invests in seed stage companies on a national level, from software startups to businesses categorized as “undiscovered overachievers.” They even have a recruiting platform through Women Who Code. This allows Valor to assist companies in their portfolio in finding the talent they need for their technical roles.
5. Bumble Fund
Leadership + Location: Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Whitney Wolfe Herd’s dating app Bumble announced the launch of in-house VC fund Bumble Fund in 2018. Their investment strategy is led by Bumble COO Sarah Jones Simmer and Senior Advisor Sarah Kunst.
Who’s in their portfolio? For now, initial commitments include companies like Beautycon and Mahmee. Swimwear company Sofia Los Angeles is also included, which was founded by Anasofia Gomez. If Gomez’s name rings a bell with devoted Bumble fans, it’s because she was one of the first winners of the Bumble Bizz Pitch Competition.
What do they do? Swipe right for investors. App jokes aside, Bumble Fund is keenly aware that many women — particularly those in the Black and Latinx communities — tend to be the most entrepreneurial and ignored by venture capital. Bumble, which prides itself on having an 85 percent female workforce, has taken investing into their own hands.
Bumble Fund wants to help fund women in underrepresented groups with a focus on early stage investments.
Their VC fund is still quite new, so it is recommended that interested women entrepreneurs keep up with The Beehive, Bumble’s company blog, for more updates. Stay further in the loop by downloading the Bumble app and creating a Bizz profile — Bizz is the app’s handy, interactive answer to business networking.
What’s next for female-focused venture capital investment firms?
If you are looking for funding, these five examples of female-focused firms to follow in the South are worth researching further. Even though disparity still exists, these firms are navigating the shifting tides of change.
If you’re looking for other ways to fund your business, see if you can work with any of these firms to get your women-led startup off the ground.