Source: http://blogs.wsj.com posted under Venture Capital Dispatch by Russ Garland on 7/29/11
An Inside look from VentureWIre at high-tech start-ups and their investors
In an industry dominated by men, at least three venture-capital firms are trying to raise funds that would go out of their way to help female entrepreneurs.
The latest is Women’s Venture Capital Fund, which is seeking $25 million for its first fund, Women’s Venture Capital Fund LP, VentureWire reports.
The firm is making early-stage investments in female entrepreneurs starting West Coast-based companies that have “a unique proprietary value proposition” in digital media and sustainability, according to its website. Management teams, however, must be “gender diverse.”
Co-founder and Managing Director Helen MacKenzie was a managing director at Softbank Technology Ventures and an adviser at Gabriel Venture Partners, according to her LinkedIn profile, which says she’s been working at the women’s venture fund since June 2010. Other members of the Women’s Venture Capital Fund include Monica Dodi, a media entrepreneur in Los Angeles, and Edith Dorsen, a management consultant in Portland, Ore.
Earlier this year, VentureWire reported that new venture firm ValenciaVentures was raising a $50 million fund aimed at women and minority entrepreneurs.
And then there’s Illuminate Ventures founded in 2009 to support female entrepreneurs and raising a $35 million fund called Illuminate Ventures I.
These firms have their work cut out for them. Women-owned ventures accounted for 21% of the entrepreneurs seeking angel capital in 2010, according to the Center for Venture Research. Of that group, 13% received angel investment–some 5% less than the overall market.
And African Americans make up 1% of Internet company founders nationally, according to a 2010 CB Insights Human Capital Venture Capital report. All-black teams also raise less: a median venture amount of $1.3 million, compared to $2.3 million for all-white teams and $4 million for Asian teams.
Deborah Farrington, co-founder of StarVest Partners and the highest ranking woman on the this year’s Forbes Midas List of top venture capitalists, shared some thoughts in this interview with Forbes on how to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs and venture investors.
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