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Looking for Startup Dollars? These Female-Friendly Firms Might Be Able to Help

Looking for Startup Dollars? These Female-Friendly Firms Might Be Able to Help

Many female entrepreneurs are looking for the best sources to help fund their startups. As studies show that VCs with female partners are far more likely to invest in companies with female executives and CEOs, we will help you find the financial resources for your startup endeavor by exploring the VC firms that are led by women in the top two regions ripe with startup funding: southern California and New York City. To do it, we referred to a map of some of the hottest VC spots in the U.S. in 2015, created by MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program.

Southern California

This region is known as the home of Silicon Valley, as well as the growing tech hub in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the Bay Area, the tech ecosystem is quite dynamic, with a hunger for more gender diversity in the VC sector. Perhaps that’s why firms in this region—like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB)—are increasing the number of women they have on board, like Partner Beth Seidenberg. In addition to KPCB, the following firms in this region either have women VCs in their ranks, or are led by female founders.

  • Aspect Ventures—founded by Jennifer Scott Fonstad and Theresia Gouw. This firm closed its first $150 million fund in May of 2015, which will largely be focused on “security, health and millennial services.”
  • Google Ventures (GV)—Shanna Tellerman is a partner on the investing team at GV, which focuses on companies in technology and life sciences.
  • Forerunner Ventures—a “female VC firm” founded by Kirsten Green. The company focuses on early stage investments in “innovative, vertically integrated brands that might be launching online or on mobile, and marketplaces that are offering buyers and sellers a new way to transact.”
  • Cowboy Ventures—co-founded by Aileen Lee. Cowboy Ventures helps seed-stage tech startups focused on “Life 2.0” products that help users “reimagine work and personal life.”
  • SoftTech VC—where Stephanie Palmeri is a principal. Considered one of the most active firms in the Bay Area, the firm invests in startups that specialize in e-commerce, mobile services and SaaS (software as a service).
  • Scale Venture Partners—where Stacy Bishop is a partner. The company invests in “early-in-revenue” tech companies in the SaaS, cloud, mobile and Internet sectors.
  • Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)—where Jennifer Ratay is the Executive Director. This nonprofit organization attracts donors and families who support nonprofit organizations in education, environment, at-risk youth and international development, and connects them with “cutting-edge organizations and initiatives that receive 3-year grants and access to SV2’s skilled donor network.”
  • Charles River Ventures—where Annie Kadavy is a venture capitalist. One of the nation’s oldest early-stage VC firms, it focuses on consumer and enterprise technologies.
  • Battery Ventures—where Chelsey Sonter is a venture capitalist. The firm provides seed to later stage funding in companies which focus on “Internet and digital media, financial and information, clean tech, software, and communication services.”

New York City

New York City was another hot spot on MBA@UNC’s map, with a number of VC firms located there. In addition to those listed, there are a number of firms which are investing more actively in companies that have at least one female founder. Here are five companies at the top of the Business Insider list:

  • Brooklyn Bridge Ventures—invests in a wide variety of sectors and 61.5 percent of its portfolio is made up of female-founded startups.
  • Lerer Ventures—invests in early-stage technology companies and 19.5 percent of its portfolio is made up of female-founded startups.
  • BoxGroup—an early stage investment fund that focuses on disruptive technology in business that has 19 percent of its portfolio made up of female-founded startups.
  • ff Venture Capital—focuses on the technology sector and 17 percent of its portfolio is made up of female-founded startups.
  • Greycroft Partners—invests in early stage internet and technology companies and 16.9 percent of its portfolio is made up of female-founded startups.

With the growing number of female entrepreneurs, it’s essential to have a complementary trend of female VCs and investment firms who will come alongside and provide the financial support that’s need to lead to startup success. Perhaps that will include you and your new endeavor.  


Molly Greenberg is the community content manager for MBA@UNC. Molly has a background in journalism, specializing in education technology, education policy, business, and higher education lifestyle coverage. In her free time, Molly enjoys cooking, running, playing soccer, traveling, identifying grammar mistakes, and reading in-depth profiles of fascinating start-up founders.

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