Creating a catalyst for change by facilitating the emergence of women, minorities, and millennial investors for a more diverse investing landscape is exactly what Portfolia is seeking to achieve with its seventh fund, FirstStep. Designed for first-time investors with a tailored “learn-by-investing” experience, members are empowered to be as involved or hands-off as they prefer. The customized experience gives these investors the educational development they need, an engagement component similar to being an Angel investor, and the added protection of diversification in a venture fund.
As many of you know, Portfolia believes the best way to support female entrepreneurs is to get more women investing in them. We’ve designed a smart venture investing platform to do just that. We are not the only ones who think this.
Take a recent Globe & Mail article "Venture capital firms have a gender problem. Here’s how to fix it" by Michelle McBane, senior investment director at MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, managing director of StandUp Ventures and Portfolia partner and thought leader. Michelle says, "We have to invest in female entrepreneurs. When female founders exit, many of them will recycle their capital and expertise back into the startup ecosystem." She adds, "Investing in women entrepreneurs isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do." Much of what Michelle highlighted as a featured panelist at our recent "Market Makers" event in Toronto, Canada is covered in this article. Read more here.
Take action: As we opened our 6th venture fund, The Portfolia FemTech Fund, legislation changed allowing us to increase the number of investors in our funds from 99 to 249. This means more people investing in entrepreneurial companies, with the potential to make a much greater impact in our markets, while realizing uncommon returns. Join us!
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"'The chance of getting pregnant in a single month is only about 20 percent in a healthy couple,’ says Dr. Jennifer Conti, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine. ‘Even when they're doing everything right.’ ’Infertility is often seen as a woman's problem,’ says Dr. Michael Eisenberg, associate professor of urology at Stanford University. ‘But only about one- third of infertility cases are women, 30 percent are men and 30 percent of the time it's both.’”
Portfolia backed company Trak is directly addressing this problem through their male fertility test. To learn more about Trak’s fertility test check out this article and sign up for our next FemTech call to learn about innovative fertility technology: https://bit.ly/2Mt9d0x
As Kristin Nielsen shared in Broadsheet "Recent Bloomberg analysis of the latest stats about female founders makes it clear that, when it comes to women and VC money, not much has changed: Only 12 of the 250 largest venture capital deals in Q1 of this year went to female founders and all-women founder teams (up from nine in 2015)."
At Portfolia Funds, a small female-led venture investing firm, we passionately believe that one of the most potent ways to mitigate gender bias is to invest in gender-balanced entrepreneurial companies who are bringing products that women want and need to the marketplace. We also believe that underserved markets present the most significant opportunity for returns - FemTech allows us to both improve the quality of life for women by backing entrepreneurs in Women’s Health, and to provide a more robust opportunity for returns.
People often ask us how to evaluate the companies that we come across. Below are the categories we use to evaluate incoming companies, or opportunities, for potential investment. If you know of any early-stage companies that meet these qualities (or have friends that do), send them our way via our referral page. For a deeper dive, sign up to join us on our investment platform. Happy deal hunting!
One of our favorite questions to ask of our entrepreneurial start-ups is “Why Now?”
Portfolia-backed company, 4Degrees, which just secured additional funding (Congrats!), uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve your competitive advantage when managing professional relationships. Given that Steve Levine from Axios just reported that a recent McKinsey report shows early AI adopters may gain an “insurmountable advantage” and that “companies failing to quickly embrace AI to improve growth, risk falling further and further behind” we think that’s a good idea -- and a timely one at that.
If Trish Costello, CEO of Portfolia since 2014, has her way, there will be no financial cliff where founders of tech startups catering to women and girls can fall to their financial ruin.
Her goal is specific and clear: 100,000 women to invest in Portfolia funds in five years. The recently launched FemTech Fund will invest directly or indirectly in equity-related securities of early-stage companies in the U.S. FemTech marketplace. Costello’s latest push is healthcare-related companies.
The goal there is to raise a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $3 million to invest in institutional systems and services that enable or support the health of women and girls.
Collette Courtion, Founder and CEO of Portfolia-backed FemTech company JoyLux, shares how they're redefining women's sexual wellness in Fast Company's This Vaginal Device Pomises to Fix Women's Sex Lives. "Women are becoming far much more empowered to embrace their health in all parts of their life,” says Courtion. Joylux found that 50% of respondents reported bladder leakage issues, and when asked if they were interested in a home solution, a whopping 95% answered yes. “That tells me that it’s an underserved market,” says Courtion.
While Femtech is predicted to be a $50B industry by 2025, only 1.4% of venture capital is invested in it. Sign up to learn more about our open FemTech Fund.
When it comes to entrepreneurial investing, the incredibly talented women on this list are actively reshaping the landscape for the better. Throughout their domains — from angel to impact investing — they are innovating traditional approaches to backing early-stage companies, busting norms, and establishing new metrics for success. They not only represent the new face of investing, but they also have bold visions for its broader future.
Portfolia is pleased to announce its first return to investors with the acquisition of OtoSense, an artificial intelligence company for sound, by Analog Devices.
Portfolia launched the Rising Tide Fund in late 2015, in partnership with Next Wave Impact Ventures. The fund invested in the company's Series A round in Spring 2016. The company's acquisition will deliver a more than 2X return in two years for Rising Tide Fund investors, an impressive result under traditional venture capital and angel investing models.
I was asked to speak at Portfolia and the Angel Capital Association event in Boston this year. I have been asked for several years and this year I made the journey for the day. Truth is, I had no idea how large these organizations are and the impact that each of them has made. I left insanely impressed.
Trish Costello is recognized globally for her pioneering work in preparing general partners in venture capital, through the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program which she co-founded in 1995 at the Kauffman Foundation and led for over a decade. Now with 550+ Kauffman Fellows in 50 countries, Kauffman Fellows hold some of the most prestigious leadership positions in venture capital and collectively deploy over $200B. From its inception, over 25% of Kauffman Fellows have been women and represent many of the women leaders of the venture world, including such luminaries as Jennifer Fonstad, Adele Oliva, Rise Stack, Trae Vassalo, Karen Kerr, Jodie Jahic, Bedy Yang, Lisa Skeete Tatum and Susan Mason. Trish went on to lead CVE Capital Corp, the holding company of the first Venture Capital Fund of Funds ($1B under management) created to endow an educational institute, and to found Portfolia, an innovative national platform of Venture Capital Funds Focused in Women’s Markets.
Trish was on the start-up team of the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial efforts, leading the Foundation’s efforts in eco-system, venture capital and resources. She also led its programs for women entrepreneurs and investors. She was an advisor to the Clinton and Bush administrations and led the National Science Foundation’s SBIR Commercialization Task Force.