Anu Duggal’s Female Founders Fund closes a new fund while Susann Aulbach helps DN Capital raise a new fund that Maryna Omelchenko will help deploy

From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 12, 2021

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Anu Duggal’s Female Founders Fund closes a new $57M fund

Female Founders Fund, whose founding partner is Anu Duggal, closes what it says is the largest fund for seed capital specifically for female founders, with Anu telling Women’s PE Briefs that the growing interest in women-led companies has “been incredible to see.” The New York firm raised $57 million, a sizable step up from its $25 million second fund and its $13 million debut fund. Investors in the fund include Goldman Sachs, Cambridge Associates, Pivotal Ventures, Twitter, Plexo Capital, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and such strategic female tech leaders as 23&Me’s Anne Wojcicki, her sister, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Houseparty’s Sima Sistani.

“There has been an increased recognition of the importance of backing a more diverse set of founders amongst the LP community and we are incredibly fortunate to work with some of the early leaders in the LP ecosystem who are driving change like Goldman Sachs, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Plexo Capital, Pivotal Ventures, amongst others,” said Anu.

In a statement, Melinda French Gates said her Pivotal Ventures invested in Female Founders Fund “because we need women founders and funders at the table if we want to build a more prosperous and inclusive economy for everyone. New and innovative ideas come from everywhere; we can’t keep looking in the same old packages.” With the new fund, Female Founders will look to write checks of between $750,000 and $1 million, Anu said. Founded in 2014, Female Founders has now raised more than $95 million and invested in more than 50 female led companies, including Thrive Global, a behavior change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington; Wagmo, a pet wellness and insurance company co-founded by Christie Horvath and Alison Foxworth; Co-Star, an astrology app co-founded by Banu Guler and Anna Kopp; Real, a therapy start-up founded and led by Ariela Safira; BentoBox, which helps restaurant owners quickly build websites and whose co-founder and CEO is Krystle Mobayeni; and Maven Clinic, the women-focused health care clinic founded by Kate Ryder.

Female Founders’ team includes investors Adrianna Samaniego and Emily Powers. Female Founders has backed seven companies with the new fund and expects to invest in a total of 25, Anu said. Of those seven, 70 percent have a founder who can be classified as Black, Indigenous or a person of color. The firm’s disclosed deals in 2021 include Kindra, A modern wellness brand for menopause essentials led by Catherine Balsam-Schwaber; Fave, which was founded by Jacquelle Amankonah Horton to connect fans and creators; Rising Team, which was founded by Jennifer Dulski to help managers motivate, organize and effectively lead their team; Base, an at-home lab testing and smart app company founded by Lola Priego; and Oula Health, which was founded by Adrianne Nickerson and Elaine Purcell to create a modern maternity center.

“It has been incredible to see how much the ecosystem has grown since raising Fund I. There is so much more awareness around the issue of moving towards a more equitable ecosystem. It has been great to see that now almost all VC funds have at least one female partner, we've also seen a growing trend of more and more women starting their own funds. We've also seen increased momentum with both female-led exits and IPOs. This year alone we’ve seen Bumble, 23andMe, and FIGS. All of this I believe bodes incredibly well for this movement.”

Susann Aulbach helps DN Capital raise a new fund that Maryna Omelchenko will help deploy

DN Capital, whose fundraising and investor relations activities are overseen by Susann Aulbach, raises a new fund – a fund that Maryna Omelchenko will be involved in deploying. The London venture firm closed its fifth fund at $350 million.

DN will use the new fund to back early-stage founders developing technology to boost global recovery. DN focuses on software, fintech, marketplaces and the consumer Internet. It also has offices in Berlin and Menlo Park. Founded in 2000, DN now manages $950 million across five funds. The firm’s investments include Shazam, which was acquired by Apple, and two companies that went public this year: Auto1 and Mister Spex.

Maryna covers the United Kingdom and French markets and focuses on consumer, marketplaces and digital health investments.

Camilla Dolan’s Eka Ventures raises a 68M pound fund

Eka Ventures, which Camilla Dolan co-founded, raises what it says is the largest impact-driven early-stage venture capital fund focused on the United Kingdom. The London firm closed on 68 million pounds. It will invest between 500,000 pounds and 3 million pounds in consumer technology companies focused on redefining business systems to be more sustainable, healthy and inclusive. Eka has three investment themes: sustainable consumption, consumer health care and the inclusive economy. Camilla founded the firm with Jon Coker and Andrew Richardson.

In a statement, Camilla said, “when it comes to working with companies, we are clear in our desire for scale, and we will do everything in our power to help the founders we work with achieve ambitious goals. We are looking for entrepreneurs who set the bar for impact driven innovation high and who are focused on fundamentally changing or creating a category, in the same way Tesla has single-handedly propelled the electric vehicle industry forward. We set Eka up to back companies with that level of ambition.” Camilla’s background includes serving as a partner at MMC Ventures and working at Bain & Company.

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