Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Spotlight on 14 Woman-Led Investment Firms

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting 14 Crunchbase Venture Program member firms that have at least one woman founder or leader, based on our growing Diversity Spotlight dataset. This list of Crunchbase partners only covers some of the thriving investment firms that represent the growing diversity of the industry, so be sure to also check out our fuller list of Investment Firms with Woman Founders or Leaders.

Alante capital logo

Alante Capital is backing innovative technologies that address climate change and enable a resilient, sustainable future for apparel production and retail. The Santa Barbara, California-based firm’s investments in woman-led companies include Mango Materials, Sway and Novoloop

Alante doesn’t specifically have quotas for investing in woman-led companies, but it aims to invest 50% in underrepresented founders. Co-founder Leslie Harwell told Crunchbase that much of the team has worked in male-dominant industries, so the firm strives to create a work environment in which women can be who they are, and be open and communicative.

Rethink impact logo

Rethink Impact is the largest, U.S.-based venture capital fund investing in female and nonbinary leaders using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems. The White Plains, New York-based fund (with locations in in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco) has made 42 diversity investments to date, including Incredible Health, Regrow Ag and Eleanor Health last year. 

For Women’s History Month, Founder and Managing Partner Jenny Abramson told Crunchbase the firm is shining a light on the amazing female founders it has invested in — 100% of Rethink’s portfolio companies have a woman on their executive team. Some of the stats they’ve shared on social media for Women’s History Month about the impact of their portfolio companies include: Incredible Health is used by 1 in 4 U.S. nurses, Ellevest has $1.6 billion in assets under management for women, and Aclima’s outdoor air sensors track billions of data points globally.

Underscore VC logo

Underscore VC, co-founded by C.A. Webb, is backing bold, early-stage entrepreneurs. The Boston-based company has made 30 diversity investments to date, including women-led LearnLux, Findmine and Wonderment last year.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are a particular areas of focus for Underscore VC, and it is proactive in ensuring equitable access to capital. The firm shared with Crunchbase that 50% of its employees identify as female. Of Underscore’s portfolio company founders, 47% identify with an overlooked gender, race or sexuality, 21% of portfolio company founders identify as female, and 14% identify as Black or Latine.

Augment ventures logo

Augment Ventures invests in exceptional teams with innovative products in enterprise software, smart hardware and physical innovation. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company has made 11 diversity investments to date, including women-led GeoTix and Iteros. For founder and Managing Partner Sonali Vijayavargiya, Women’s History Month is a time for a call to action to invest more in women, not only female founders but also female-led VC funds.

Irish angels logo

IrishAngels is an angel investing network affiliated with the University of Notre Dame that invests in B2B, consumer and medical companies. The Chicago-based company has made 34 diversity investments to date, including investments in women-led Genomenon, Stonehenge Tech Labs and Elevate K-12

Managing Director Caroline Gash told Crunchbase that since the company began focusing on and tracking their gender initiatives in 2017, IrishAngels’ female founders have outperformed their male founders by over 35%. As investors, that’s the “proof in the pudding” that tells them that beyond their moral stance on providing opportunity and inclusivity, gender diversity leads to more varying perspectives, more complete data sets, more informed decisions and better judgment — ultimately, resulting in better alpha. The firm takes a holistic approach to gender diversity and has set goals to reach gender parity across five areas: deal sourcing, initial check size, co-investors, their own investor base, and staff.

Fearless fund logo

Fearless Fund, founded by Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons, invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed or Series A financing. The Atlanta-based company has made 17 diversity investments to date, including women of color-led Communityx, Resilia and Partake Foods. For Women’s History Month, Fearless Fund is celebrating the monumental successes of the woman founders they have supported. The company told Crunchbase it wants to prove that diverse founding teams can and will generate outsized returns, which it hopes will ultimately bridge the gap in VC funding for all historically underrepresented founders.

Mendoza ventures logo

Mendoza Ventures, co-founded by Senofer Mendoza, is an early- and growth-stage fintech, AI and cybersecurity venture fund that provides an actively managed approach to VC. The Boston-based firm’s investments in women-led companies include Canvas GFX and Wabbi. According to the firm’s founders, Mendoza Ventures sees Women’s History Month as a reminder to take stock on how it allocates capital. They said they will continue to invest in women-led startups toward equal representation.

Basis set ventures logo

Basis Set Ventures, founded by Lan Xuezhao, is an early-stage investment firm focused on AI and its practical applications. The Menlo Park, California-based company has made 18 diversity investments to date, including last year’s investments in women-led Trendsi, Viavia and Ergeon

Basis Set Ventures runs Persistence, which brings together a group of 100-plus professional woman executives who want to continue to grow while contributing to empowering women in tech. The firm also has a 50/50 gender balance on its investment team.

Portland seed fund logo

Portland Seed Fund invests in pre-seed and seed-stage companies across the Pacific Northwest. The firm has made 56 diversity investments to date, including investments in women-led TrovaTrip, mpathic.ai and Enduring Planet last year. According to Angela Jackson, co-founder and co-managing director, the third fund of PSF included 73% of the companies having a woman or person of color on the founding team, and 64% were woman CEOs.

Chingona ventures logo

Chingona Ventures, founded by Samara Hernandez, focuses on industries that are massively changing and founders whose backgrounds uniquely position them to create businesses in growth markets that are often overlooked. The Chicago-based firm has made 24 diversity investments to date, including in Beni, Tiny Organics and Dame Products.

For Chingona Ventures, Women’s History Month is a time to highlight and honor the contributions of the women on its team and in its portfolio. It is also a reminder to take action in accordance with the firm’s values and encourage its ecosystem partners to do the same. Across Fund I and Fund II, the team is proud that woman CEOs make up 45% of their portfolio.

Boomtown accelerator logo

Boomtown Accelerators’ bespoke accelerator programs help startups turn ideas into profitable, scalable businesses. The Boulder, Colorado-based company, co-founded by COO Erin Stadler, has made 47 diversity investments to date, including women-led Milk The Moment, FinGoal and The Labz

Boomtown’s team told Crunchbase that they see Women’s History Month as a time to look at how far they have come and where they still have to go for gender diversity. Female founders are 40% of their startup accelerator program, and 70% represent a minority, but they say they’re not stopping there. They continue to design initiatives to increase diverse investments and the diversity within their startup accelerator program.

Scale venture partners logo

Scale Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on intelligent business software. The Foster City, California-based company has made 20 diversity investments to date, including women-led Dusty Robotics, Honeycomb and Papaya Global. Founded in 2016 and raising its 8th fund last year, Partner Stacey Bishop told Crunchbase that Scale is excited to see women continually being able to come into their own. Successfully exited, women-founded companies that Scale has invested in include Lever, Apteligent and Threat Stack.

Tola capital logo

Tola Capital invests globally in early-stage enterprise software companies. The Seattle-based firm’s most recent diversity investment was in Fetcher’s Series B round last year. According to COO Lisa Hillmann, Tola Capital believes that initiatives in the DEI space are drivers for business opportunities and innovation. It partners with its portfolio companies to help improve diversity within their executive teams and employees.

Ocean azul partners logo

Ocean Azul Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm that helps entrepreneurs bring innovative technology solutions to market. The Miami-based company has made 10 diversity investments to date, including women-led Fohlio, Aegle Therapeutics and 5×5 Technologies. Managing Director Lisette Tellez is also a board member and president at LatinxVC, which brings together experienced venture investors to connect, engage and foster the Latine VC ecosystem.

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  • Originally published March 24, 2023, updated April 3, 2023