• Funds That Are Changing the Game for Women

    Countless studies and articles have shown that investors show the door to women entrepreneurs a lot more often than to their male counterparts. [Feature Image Credit: Ashay Panshikar]

    SheThePeople.TV recently conducted a survey and found that most women entrepreneurs feel funding and access to credit is their biggest pain point.

    Investors’ questions to women business owners are often coated in sexist assumptions. ‘How will you manage your time’ is a question that women have to routinely answer.

    In addition, men far outnumber women who work at VCs. A recent study by TechCrunch showed that women comprise only 7 per cent of the top management at the 100 biggest venture firms globally.

    In response, a few savvy female investors have recently started funds that specialize in giving opportunities to businesses run by women and to women investors.

    Here are a few:

    1.    SAHA Fund

    It was started by Ankita Vashistha and Usha Amin in 2015 with a corpus of around $15 million. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Mohandas Pai are among the few who have invested in the fund.

    The firm’s objective is to fund companies which are founded by women, or whose workforce comprises at least 50 per cent women. It has already invested in Karyaah, a popular e-commerce company whose USP is that it has 18 sizes to fit. It has also invested in Fitternity, a fitness discovery and accessory buying platform.

    “We fund companies that have women founders, companies that have women in senior leadership and companies focusing on the woman consumer. It’s important to bring about a focus so that there can be a balance. Women contribute a great deal to the workplace, community and family. Having more financial independence and monetary control allows money to be reinvested back into these workplaces, communities and families,” Ankita Vashistha told SheThePeople.Tv

    SheThePeople StartUpIndia Survey from SHE THE PEOPLE on Vimeo.

    2.    SheEO

    This is a Toronto-based fund, looking to enter India. The fund is run by Vicki Saunders who is in Empowering a Billion Women’s top 100 most influential women’s list, and seeks to ‘democratize’ venture capital funding. A thousand women from each city commit $1000 annually, and the money will be loaned out to women entrepreneurs at low interest rates.

    “I often find myself saying that the #1 thing we have noticed with female entrepreneurs and women, in general, is that they don’t ask for help,” Saunders said in a Facebook post, while commenting on why she wants to create a community for women.

    Saunders aims to raise a billion dollars by 2020, according to the company’s website.  SheThePeople.TV partnered with SheEO’s recent effort in India called EMPOWER.

    3.    Female Founders Fund or F Cubed

    Indian-American Anu Duggal has raised $5 million for the first round of her women’s only fund. According to VCCircle, major Indian investors include Gautam Adani, Google India’s Rajan Anandan, DSG Consumer Partners’ founder and Deepak Shahdadpuri.

    In an interview with Inc.com, Duggal says that male investors often look at what has worked before and try and replicate it.

    “I’m not criticizing them for it. I’m saying that the pattern has changed, we recognize that, and we want to make money on it,” Anu Duggal  said to Inc.com

    Duggal is an entrepreneur herself, and has founded Exclusively.in, an e-commerce fashion jewellery and home décor company.

    4. Kalaari Capital

    Run by a woman, Vani Kola, this venture capital fund’s two most notable investments–PopXo and CashKaro– are also run by women.

    Vani Kola calls herself an idea lover and trend spotter on the company’s website. She also runs Kstart, a seed program for aspiring entrepreneurs. As part of its #Startup Girls initiative, Kstart has teamed up with Facebook to support women founded startups and to empower more women to serve on boards.

    She is very vocal about promoting women entrepreneurship on her blog, and on Twitter.

    5. Ankur Capital

    Two power women, Rema Subramanian and Ritu Verma, started this angel fund, with a view to invest in startups that operate in low income communities. “In an interview with DNA, Subramanian said that rural India has a better gender ratio, compared to urban India and women there are early adopters of technology.”

    Skillveri, a virtual skills training website which sees a lot of participation from women, Cropin, a cloud-based platform which analyses and collects farm data and a telemedicine company, Karma Healthcare, are among some startups that the company has invested in.