19 June 2019, Paris, France - The Billion Dollar Fund for Women (TBDF), a global consortium of venture funds tackling the gender funding gap, has reached its goal of mobilizing US$1bn in pledges, only eight months after its launch on October 11th, 2018.
The news was announced at The Billion Dollar Breakfast™ at the Financial Alliance for Women Annual Summit in Paris by TBDF Co-Founders and Managing Partners, Shelly Porges and Sarah Chen, today.
“Today marks a great milestone on our journey to ensuring parity for undervalued founders. We are extremely proud of the meaningful commitments made by our partner venture funds dedicated to fostering equitable access to funding for women-founded companies. Fund partners from all around the world have pledged their support to a common purpose: backing and scaling innovative companies with female founders. The over one billion dollars pledged to be invested through the end of 2020 will have a decisive impact on not only the female economy but the economy at large, even as it delivers outsize returns for investors”, says Ms. Porges.
Studies have shown, that businesses founded by women deliver more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested . Though women-founded companies received only 2.2% of venture 1 funding in the US in 2018, such companies deliver up to 63% higher returns than companies founded by male-only founding teams . Globally, teams with at least one female founder receive 2 only 17 cents to the dollar, and this amount has plateaued in the last few years. 3
“Women are a powerful force in the global economy and more and more diverse financial services organizations are recognizing the value of the female economy. Our recent transformation from Global Banking Alliance for Women to the Financial Alliance for Women reflects the growing need to diversify beyond banks to support women’s economic empowerment,” says Inez Murray, CEO of the Financial Alliance for Women.
“The Financial Alliance for Women is now positioned to catalyze real transformation – both in the industry and for women everywhere. We are excited to partner with The Billion Dollar Fund for Women and its partner funds to accelerate growth in venture funding for female founders,” she adds.
Together with TBDF, the Financial Alliance for Women aims to connect venture fund managers with institutional investors, asset managers, and commercial banks. The goal is to create more avenues and discuss concrete commitments to leverage the power of women as investors and innovators.
“This is an important milestone in our journey – the fact that we were able to mobilize $1 billion well ahead of what we intended speaks to a single message: that venture funds realize the true arbitrage opportunity presented by investing in women. This is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Investing in women, is just good business. Phase two of our work starts now – in building deeper relationships with both general partners and limited partners to ensure the continued capacity to invest in women; and we are excited for what lies ahead and how our concerted efforts will catalyze the larger change we need”, says Sarah Chen.
A total of over seventy funds from six continents and over 25 countries (see below for full list) have so far pledged to deploy capital towards women-founded companies by 2020, equating to a total of US1$bn. From early supporters such as Different Funds, Endeavor Catalyst, Gobi Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Golden Seeds Fund, Mindshift Capital, Rethink Impact and Teja Ventures to government backed entities like Singapore’s SG Innovate and newer additions like Astia Fund and Motley Fool Ventures in the U.S., Aster, RED Capital and Espira in Europe, to Cycle Capital, Loyal VC, Marigold Capital, MaRS Catalyst and Quantius in Canada; TBDF has brought together funds that are now committed to a common agenda. While many funds have in the past invested in women-founded companies, with TBDF, for the first time, a concrete mandate and initiative to focus on including and elevating female founders into their deal flow and finally investing in them is made reality.
"The remarkably low levels of funding of companies with female CEOs demonstrates that the traditional VC process must be fundamentally flawed. We redesigned our process to remove bias, targeting better financial returns, and also ended up allocating over 40% of our capital to companies with women CEOs. We welcome TBDF’s support in sharing success stories like ours, and in pushing all participants in our ecosystem to change their practices," adds Kamal Hassan, Partner, Loyal VC, one of the funds pledged to TBDF. Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact, adds, “Investing in women not only helps us achieve gender parity, but is good business and good for the economy”. TBDF acts as a consortium of venture funds with each venture fund retaining its independence and managing and sourcing its own deal flows to fulfill the pledges made to invest in WFCs. “We have taken the first step, but our journey is far from over. We will continue to convince venture funds of the business potential female-led companies hold. With many ideas and plans on how to take this initiative to the next level, we’re thrilled to see more and more investors connecting with us and joining forces to create a truly diverse entrepreneur landscape”, says Shelly Porges. “As we like to say, when you invest in women, you’re in good company.”
Interested individuals can learn more about the work and opportunities of TBDF on: www.thebilliondollarfund.org