The Artemis Fund focuses on women founders in underserved communities – TechCrunch

The Artemis Fund is a Houston-based agency constructed by three ladies with the aim of encouraging extra women-led startups. The corporate launched in 2019 and has raised a $15 million preliminary fund, which closed earlier this 12 months.

Diana Murakhovskaya, who launched the agency with Stephanie Campbell and Leslie Goldman, says that the three ladies met over a mutual curiosity in investing in startups, one which didn’t simply write a verify and stroll away, however that was actually concerned in serving to these corporations develop and thrive.

“We launched the fund in 2019, and we had been trying to elevate a micro VC to spend money on about 15 corporations, and preserve a concentrated portfolio the place we are able to actually assist these corporations,” she mentioned. The LPs within the fund are break up 50/50 between women and men with an equal capital share amongst them, she mentioned.

The ladies acknowledged that feminine founders confronted an up-hill battle when it got here to getting funding. The truth is, in 2019 Crunchbase research found that simply 13% p.c of VC cash went to startups with no less than one feminine founder with all feminine founding groups accounting for simply three% of that.

On the similar time, as the ladies got here collectively within the Houston investing scene, they couldn’t assist however discover that it was principally dominated by older white males. Murakhovskaya, whose background is engineering, related with Campbell, who has an MBA and so they needed to know why extra ladies weren’t getting concerned.

“I mentioned, ‘The place are all the ladies?’ [ … ] And so we began doing these dinners to deliver collectively ladies and asking them why they’re not investing, what they’re doing and, and these had been all company ladies [who had the money to invest].”

What they discovered was that both ladies had by no means been invited to take a position, or like them they had been trying to do it, however discovered angel investing lower than satisfying. About this time, they met Goldman, who was a lawyer, and was on the board on the Houston Angel Community. “She’s an lively angel in about 50 corporations and 11 funds and equally had this thesis of shifting all of her investing to feminine founders on the time,” Murakhovskaya mentioned.

The three ladies with distinctly totally different skilled backgrounds determined to come back collectively and the thought for The Artemis Fund started to take form. “We thought it was the right [mix] — sort of what occurs when an engineer, an MBA and a lawyer get collectively. So, we discover that our backgrounds are distinctive, and that helps numerous our portfolio corporations in numerous other ways,” she mentioned.

That meant they needed to be concerned with the founders and assist them develop the companies. “And in order that was one factor we needed to be sure that differentiates us from the opposite female-focused VCs. We might make investments nationally, we’d lead or co-lead most of our rounds and actually assist the businesses alongside the capital stack. And that meant operating a way more concentrated portfolio.”

The fund focuses on startups with feminine founders, who’re in massive potential markets, however ones that typical male-dominated VCs won’t see the potential in. Among the many portfolio corporations is UNest, an organization that helps households benefit from tax-exempt faculty financial savings accounts to save cash for his or her children’ faculty schooling and Improve, a maker of customized wigs and extensions. These companies checked every of those containers of being run by a girl in a big market that had been principally ignored by the normal funding group.

Murakhovskaya says up to now the agency has invested in 11 corporations with plans to spend money on Four-5 extra after which elevate the subsequent fund. She says whereas it’s about serving to nurture and construct these corporations, it’s additionally about discovering corporations that proceed to develop into their Collection A, B and past, whereas delivering a very good return for the corporate’s companions.

“This isn’t a charity or philanthropy. We actually imagine that ladies and various groups particularly will outperform, on high of bringing collectively a unique set of corporations and services and products which might be simply not being met for the shoppers that they’re making an attempt to serve.”