I’m a serial entrepreneur and startup executive who has personally experienced the challenges associated with fundraising, and yet I was still shocked when I learned that only 2 percent of venture capital funds go to female-founded businesses, even though, according to a 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express, women-owned businesses account for 40 percent of all firms.
The gravity of the statistic compelled me, and a few of my friends, to “be the change we want to see” and take action. In response, we pulled together a vast network of professional, collaborative, and community-driven women leaders to disrupt the antiquated and unequal-landscape women find themselves in when trying to fundraise.
Working with Julie Castro Abrams, a longtime friend, and Erika Cramer, plus a team of brilliant women who collectively possess a staggering depth of knowledge about building and growing businesses, we launched How Women Invest, a $10M venture fund subscribed predominantly by female investors, over half women of color and 70 percent who are first-time investors.
They told us we couldn’t pull it off, but we knew that when these women came together, they could accomplish anything. Not only did we launch the $10 million fund (strategically sized so we could allow for up to 249 limited partners), but we achieved the first close of $5 million in a record-breaking 4 months (the first close typically takes 12 to 18 months) and we did it during a global pandemic.
We built How Women Invest to shift the venture capital landscape by supporting women-led companies, with a particular focus on women of color. We expect that by the end of 2020 we will have educated a community of 1,000 first-time female investors and will have created an infrastructure to enable women to support and fund women of all backgrounds.
If you are a female founder wondering if you are a good fit for How Women Invest, see our investment criteria and click the “start here” button to let us know who you are.
Heather Jerrehian, is a Founding LP and Fund Advisor for How Women Invest. She is an award-winning Startup Executive with 20+ years of experience inspiring and motivating teams to make the “impossible possible.” She builds diverse, cohesive teams anchored in integrity, loyalty, and respect. Her vast experience spans enterprise software, consumer, and internet businesses with repeated success in developing innovative brands from initial concept to selling millions in revenue, typically scaling within a year or two with lean resources while driving bottom line profits.