Five Notable Female-led Venture Firms

It’s no secret that the financial industry has historically been male-dominated, and the venture capital and startup world is no exception. However, this trend is beginning to change, as firms now seek to invest in diverse startup teams. In 2009, only 9.5% of startups had at least one female founder, but by 2014, this number had shot up to 18%[1]. Now, making room for female decision makers in the VC world to support these founders is becoming even more urgent.

Here are 5 female-led venture firms that are changing the game:


1. Forerunner Ventures

·         Founder: Kirsten Green

·         Founded: 2007

·         Who they are: An early-stage firm based in New York that is dedicated to partnering with post-launch companies in order to disrupt the commerce landscape.

·         Past investments include: Birchbox, Jet, Dollar Shave Club, Glossier


2. Female Founders Fund

·         Founder: Anu Duggal

·         Founded: 2013

·         Who they are: A NYC-based seed fund that invests only in startups with female founders.

·         Past investments include: Rent the Runway, Ringly, Eloquii, WayUp 


3. Illuminate Ventures

·         Founder: Cindy Padnos

·         Founded: 2009

·         Who they are: An early-stage firm that is committed to investing in innovative high-tech companies in the B2B/Enterprise cloud and mobile computing space.

·         Past investments include: BrightEdge, Xactly Corp, Bedrock Analytics, Yozio


4. Cowboy Ventures

·         Founder: Aileen Lee

·         Founded: 2012

·         Who they are: A Palo Alto-based seed stage fund that invests in digital solutions and technology companies.

·         Past investments include: DocSend, StyleSeat, Tenor, Pantry


5. Aspect Ventures

·         Founder: Jennifer Fonstad, Theresia Gouw

·         Founded: 2014

·         Who they are: An early and seed stage fund that invests in solutions for the emerging mobile marketplace.

·         Past investments include: Hotel Tonight, BaubleBar, The Muse, Exabeam


[1] Teare, Gené, and Ned Desmond. "The First Comprehensive Study on Women in Venture Capital and Their Impact

                on Female Founders." TechCrunch. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.