Female Founders Fund’s Anu Duggal On Sourcing Discounts During And Purchasing Founders She Never Met IRL

Female Founders Fund’s Anu Duggal On Sourcing Discounts During And Purchasing Founders She Never Met IRL

Anu Duggal, founding partner of Female Founders Fund

The VC industry has had to adapt to a new reality since hit like every other sector. No longer friendly conferences at Blue Bottle Coffee or in-person networking at demo times — VCs now just just take their pitches (and coffees) more than a safely-distanced zoom call. Feminine founders, nonetheless, suffer from this new powerful. PitchBook recently published a questionnaire saying that VC funding for female founders has dropped up to a three-year low. Organizations spent a complete of $434 million in Q3, the figure that is lowest considering that the 2nd quarter of 2017, relating to PitchBook information. The third quarter total additionally amounts to a 48% fall in financing from Q2, whenever feminine founders received $841 million across 132 discounts.

Happily, you can find VC companies that concentrate solely on feminine founders, a typical example of that is Female Founders Fund (FFF). Launched in 2014, the NYC-based company has raised two funds up to now (Fund I: $6 million and Fund II: $25 million) and matters 40+ organizations in its profile, including Billie, Co-Star, Kama, Lex, Maven, Peanut, Real, lease The Runway and Zola.

Data through the FFF web site

Female Founders Fund

Although FFF is renowned for buying tech-enabled platforms that facilitate digital connections, the lovers choose to relate with prospective founders in true to life (IRL).

“once you meet someone in true to life, you are able to choose through to body gestures and there’s another variety of types of energy,” FFF partner that is founding Duggal explained in an interview. “At this very very early stage, we’re investing in people, so the biggest thing for all of us is spending some time because of the founder(s).”

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Since March nonetheless, the company has received adjust fully to a set-up that is new it comes to fulfilling and reaching founders.

“At the start of the 12 months, buying founders we hadn’t met yet wasn’t one thing we’d conceived,” Duggal added. “But you will find methods for getting comfortable. Whenever we can’t meet up with the individual IRL, then we’re doubling straight down on information and references.”

Virtual Investments

One deal Duggal shut throughout the lockdown is Lex, a text-based app that is social queer, non-binary and trans communities. Duggal says she ended up being linked to Lex through Ally Tam, who’s a partner at VMG Partners (which will not spend during the seed phase). Other investors that joined up with in alongside FFF include Peanut’s Michelle Kennedy plus the Bumble Fund.

“We’ve committed to a few social apps, including Peanut, Co-Star and Shine,” said Duggal, “so we now have a good knowledge of exactly what early successful metrics appear to be. But we didn’t necessarily understand the Lex that is demographic is, beyond the reality that 33% of Gen Z identifies as queer. So we relied on recommendations from Peanut, Bumble and another of our group mates that is LGBTQ. She shared a study with folks for the reason that community, that has been extremely valuable to comprehend just exactly exactly how users and users that are potential the working platform.”

Through her application, Lex founder Kell Rakowski is reframing the experience that is dating a visual-based to a text-based experience, bringing right back old-school individual adverts to social media marketing. The present form of Lex has zero pictures with no swiping, which can be a change that is refreshing the other dating apps nowadays.

“Lex is made for all of us, by us – the queer community,” Rakowski published if you ask me in a contact. “Because all of us is 100% queer (LGBTQIA+), we work closely because of the community to create the most important thing in their mind. At Lex, queer identities aren’t an afterthought therefore we do not build in a binary sex system (cis-man, cis-woman) that mainstream dating apps embrace. Lex is less about sex and much more about sex identification.”

The startup that is NYC-based shut its seed round of $1.5 million, that has been led by FFF.

“I started increasing in February and shut in belated June,” Rakowski penned. “ started simply I was in NYC in lockdown mode, so approximately 95% of the meetings were on the phone or over video as I started the process and. Our pitch is: Lex joined the marketplace as being a dating application, sufficient reason for capital, can be a queer social networking.”

Others in FFF’s portfolio which have additionally effectively raised through the lockdown include Maven, the clinic that is virtual ladies and families, which raised a $45 million Series C in March, and Peanut, the application that connects ladies across motherhood and fertility, which shut a $12 million Series the in might.

Though some of those startups have actually slowly added tools and features to adjust to the pandemic, other people, like Real, have experienced to pivot. The health that is mental for millennial ladies had been prepared to start its very very first real location for treatment in April into the Flatiron region of NYC. In light of this lockdown, nevertheless, the group made a decision to pivot up to a salon that is digital therapist-led talks around particular subjects, including terminated weddings, co-parenting and heightened stress amounts.