Impact Investing

Venture capital for women, women of color

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In 2018, just one percent of venture capital dollars went to Black start-up founders, according to a Silicon Valley Bank study. Founders of color have a harder time getting initial funding, and they get less of it. The ongoing health and economic crises –both of which are hitting communities of color the hardest— exacerbate the struggle to access capital. Rethink Impact is working to change that.

Founded by Jenny Abramson who also leads the organization as a managing partner along with Heidi Patel, Rethink Impact focuses on investing in underrepresented founders, particularly female-led businesses, with innovative business models in the areas of health, education, sustainability and economic empowerment. It is the nation’s largest venture equity fund dedicated to female entrepreneurs addressing critical social challenges through technology.

"Venture capital is ultimately about pattern recognition. Given that women make up less than 8% of partners at the top hundred venture firms, it’s not surprising that less than 3% of venture dollars go to female founders, and less than 1% go to women of color."

Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact

The Rethink approach aligns well with the mission driven investment strategy of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), designed to harness the power of the capital markets to address the root cause of racial inequity and bias and help to make all communities more vibrant, engaged and equitable. 

As the largest U.S.-based venture capital firm to support women and women of color, Rethink is proving that it’s not a pipeline problem. According to Abramson, Rethink Impact looks at over 1,000 deals a year and the majority have either a female or person of color on the executive team.

Rethink Impact Leverages Capital Markets to Address Social Inequities

100% of dollars are invested in companies with underrepresented entrepreneurs on their leadership teams

"We are investing in a set of entrepreneurs that are overlooked –underrepresented leaders building massive technology businesses primarily outside of the lifestyle sector, businesses that are accessible, affordable and offer tools to support working families and others. These are businesses with significant opportunities to scale up.”

Jenny Abramson

43 Million

lives touched by Rethink portfolio companies in critical sectors including health, education, environmental sustainability and financial inclusion

Sample Portfolio Companies

FutureFuel.io – By offering student loan repayment as a benefit to employees through their employers, FutureFuel.io is tackling a $1.4T crisis currently affecting 44 million Americans.

Aclima is creating the world’s first highly accurate, massively scalable air sensing network to provide environmental impact data for enterprises, utilities, property managers and government customers by tracking air that affects more than 10 million people in California and will affect 1 billion people globally in five years.

Promoting Underrepresented Founders

Companies with racial diversity of leadership are

35%

more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians

2.3%

of venture capital dollars invested in women-founded companies in the U.S. in 2018

1.0%

represents the number of black decision-makers in venture capital in 2018

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