Women 2.0 PITCH competition judge Christine Tsai recently announced that 500 Women will invest $1M in 10 companies with women founders this year.
By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)
We already know female entrepreneurs generally receive a pitiful amount of funding compared to men. We could site study after study and publish real-world example after real-world example to prove how unlevel the playing field is.
But enough with the VC boys club doom and gloom. Because the world of funding is changing. Seed fund and startup accelerator program 500 Startups — which has one of the most diverse leadership and investment teams around — recently announced their own AngelList syndicates.
One of the first syndicates they’re launching is 500 Women. Over the next year, 500 Women will invest $1 million into ten female-founded companies in the 500 portfolio. 500 Startups managing partner and 500 Women Co-founder Christine Tsai announced the syndicate at the recent Women 2.0 conference, where she was a PITCH competition judge.
This syndicate is not far out of left field for 500 Startups. Over the past four years, 500 Startups has backed more than 100 women-led companies including Wildfire, TaskRabbit, SlideShare, Viki, Moonfruit, TheRealReal, and ipsy. Founded by a group of female partners and investors who between them have done stints at Google, the U.S. Peace Corps, Merrill Lynch and Brazil Innovators, 500 Women is poised to continue the momentum and champion women in technology as leaders, founders and investors.
“Female founders have proven that they know how to build great businesses that make money, especially in markets that male founders (and male investors) tend to ignore,” said Christine Tsai in a blog post announcing the syndicate.
In addition to funding female-founded startups, 500 Women also wants to bring on more women investors. TechCrunch reported that backers who have already signed up include SlideShare founder Rashmi Sinha, Khush founder Prerna Gupta, DCM general partner Ruby Lu, and Wei Hopeman, who is the Asia head of Citi Ventures, co-founder of Angelvest and co-chair of Women in Leadership.
Besides providing early-stage companies with up to $250,000 in funding, the 500 Startup accelerator program provides startups with mentors, designers in residence, creative workspace and more.
Pictured above: Christine Tsai sits second to the left next to Mike Rothenberg of Rothenberg Ventures (far left), Jenny Fielding of BBC Worldwide, Millie Tadewaldt of AngelList and Rob Hayes of First Round Capital at the Women 2.0 PITCH Competition stage. Photo by Ayesha Rizvi.
What early stage female-founded startup would you like to see get funded?
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.