The Power of Women Investing in Women

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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Trak: Fertility Challenges Impact Everyone


"'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:

Forbes: You, Too, Can Invest Like Melinda Gates


"Melinda Gates has been making headlines by investing in female-founded venture capital firms. She’s addressing the lack of money for female founders by putting her money where her mouth isIf you’re an accredited investor, you can, too.

Venture funds with women as decision-making partners are far more likely to invest in women-led companies, and businesses founded by women delivered higher revenue — more than twice as much per dollar invested — than those founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backersPortfolia funds provide diversification and have six noteworthy features...." 

Read on to find out what our secret sauce is and how you too can invest smartly (like Melinda Gates). 

Minding the Gap


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.

Forbes: How Women Angels Are Good For Innovation And The Economy

The reality is that men all too often invest in entrepreneurs that look just like them. And why is that important? Because women see market opportunities that men pass by. To open up new markets, bring out new products and get strong companies off the ground, we need more women...

Silicon Valley Business Journal: Silicon Valley's Portfolia Launches Nation's First FemTech Fund

Portfolia Funds, innovative venture investing platform, just announced the launch of its sixth fund. The Portfolia FemTech Fund will invest exclusively in emerging technologies, products and services focused on improving women's health and wellness.

Frost and Sullivan recently published a report stating that FemTech will be a $50 billion market by 2025. Spurred on by rapid innovation in the health space, a positive regulatory environment and the fact that women now control 80% of healthcare decisions in the U.S. household, FemTech is predicted to be the next big disruptor in the global healthcare market. While the benefits of FemTech are widely recognized, the market is still at an early stage.

Inc.: 7 Signs That the Investment Landscape for Women Is Finally Changing

Portfolia, which was founded to help women learn to become angel investors, announced its first exit, OtoSense, in May. It returned more than 2x to investors, but the investment is just two years old. OtoSense applies artificial intelligence to the analysis of sound. It has applications in home health care -- is that a baby crying or just someone yelling? -- but also in manufacturing, where it can help determine if a machine needs some type of repair or upkeep.

Each of Portfolia's funds concentrates on a specific sector, and can accommodate a maximum of 99 investors. They invest in "areas where we know women are the buyers, even within corporate," says Trish Costello, the founder of Portfolia, which she says "almost always" backs gender-balanced teams.

Portfolia Investing 101: How We Evaluate Companies

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!

How 4Degrees Embraces Artificial Intelligence for Relationship Management

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.

Take the Lead: Feeling Good About Funding Women’s Health: CEO’s FemTech Goals

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.

Fast Company: Portfolia-Backed JoyLux and the $50B FemTech Space

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

Women PE Briefs: In the Spotlight...

Portfolia, Inc., an investment organization largely comprised of women, received important news at its investor summit in Boston last month: its first exit. OtoSense, which Portfolia invested in two years ago, was acquired by Analog Devices.

“We popped open some champagne,” Portfolia Founder and CEO Trish Costello tells Women’s PE Briefs. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Trish said Portfolia generated nearly 2.5-times its money on the exit. Based in Palo Alto, OtoSense is a developer of sound recognition software that turns sounds and vibrations into actionable meaning.

The Entrepreneurial Investors to Watch in 2018

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.

Announcing Portfolia's First Exit: OTOSENSE

Announcing Portfolia's First Exit: OTOSENSE

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.

Gotham Gal: Portfolia and Angel Capital Association

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.

Thrive Global: Today, Women Get Only 2% of VC Dollars. These 16 VCs Explain Why, And How This Can Be Solved

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.

Silicon Valley Business Journal: A decade of influential women: Silicon Valley's 2018 Women of Influence announced

For the past 10 years, the Silicon Valley Business Journal has honored a class of influential businesswomen in our area.

We culled through almost 300 nominations to finalize this list of 100 influential women. Nonprofits, startups, manufacturing, aviation, legal, finance and even plastic surgery are represented this year. All of the women have made an impact at work and in their communities.

Barron's: The View From Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley may consider itself at the forefront of innovation and social causes, but it can be an insular place.

A general absence of women in positions of power at tech companies and venture-capital firms reflect the young-boy network that has reigned for decades. The cabal just doesn’t just look alike but thinks similarly – down to their left-of-center views and taste in music.

“The venture world needs to be disrupted,” says Trish Costello, Chief Executive Officer of Portfolia, an equity crowdfunding platform that focuses on building a community of women-led companies and investors.

Forbes: How More Women Are Stepping Up To Fund Women Entrepreneurs In 2018

The total number of women VCs precipitously dropped by 40% between 1999 and 2013, according to Diana Report Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capitalby Babson. No surprise that the percentage of women getting venture capital didn’t improve much in the years that followed. Women-led companies received 13% of capital in 2013 and 14% in 2017*. They accounted for 16% of deals in 2013 and 17% in 2017*, according to Pitchbook. Women CEOs received 9% of capital in 2013 and 7% in 2017*, as well as 9% of deals in 2013 and 9% in 2017.During the past few years, women started taking things into their own hands by starting their own funds. Some specifically invest with a gender lens.