As part of our yearlong gender lens working group, Impact Capital Forum is excited to invite you to our next series of conversations, featuring VCs investing capital with a gender lens.
Now is an exciting time for venture capital opportunities in female-led companies. Investments can range from early-stage angel funds to later-stage venture capital rounds. There are more opportunities than ever for new investors, especially female and BIPOC investors, to learn about and invest in these funds at more accessible entry levels. Impact Capital Forum has gathered an impressive group of six female fund managers across two panels to share their various investment approaches, their journey to matching more investment dollars with female entrepreneurs, their work to engage and mentor more female investors, and their efforts to ensure both a social and financial return.
Dr. Alicia Robbis the Founder and CEO of Next Wave Impact and the Managing Partner of two early-stage venture funds. She is also the Research Director at Cruelty Free Investing and a Research Fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She was previously a Senior Fellow with the Kauffman Foundation for more than a decade. Alicia received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She previously worked as an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Office of Economic Research in the SBA. She is a prolific author on the topics of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of A Rising Tide: Financing Strategies for Women-Owned Businesses and The Next Wave: Financing and Investing Strategies for Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs published by Stanford University Press, as well as Race and Entrepreneurial Success published by MIT Press. She teaches workshops on angel investing and investor readiness around the globe. She is an active angel investor, a limited partner in three early-stage venture funds, a mentor to various young firms, and a board member for several groups, including the Deming Center Venture Fund, the Kachuwa Impact Fund, Good Food Institute, Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary, and Vegan Investors. Alicia was awarded the prestigious Hans Severiens Award in 2020, ACA’s annual award recognizing one individual’s work in advancing the field of angel investing.
Gayle Jennings-O'Byrne is a venture capitalist who co-founded the WOCstar Fund, an early-stage investment fund that invests in the future of consumption and innovation using a female arbitrage strategy -- women of color tech entrepreneurs (“WOCstars”) and diverse/inclusive competitive advantages. Gayle (pronounced: Gay-lä) takes a unique builder capital approach to help entrepreneurs scale and grow to success while working with investors and allies to participate in the innovation, wealth, and success being built. Named "10 Women Changing the Landscape of Leadership" by the New York Times, March 2021. Recently named one of 500+ LinkedIn Influencers, a list that includes Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, and Mary Barra. She hosts "VCs off the Record", a podcast for both entrepreneurs and investors that provides real talk by real investors. She is a former mergers and acquisitions banker at JPMorgan, including working on media deals such as Lions Gate Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment. Previously served as an advisory board member of the Ghetto Film School and led the capital/planning effort for the Cinema High School, 1st public high school of its kind. With over 30+ years of wall street, technology, philanthropy, training, and professional speaking experience, she is unique in her global experience and knowledge and one among few AfricanAmerican women to start a venture capital firm. Gayle is a highly sought-after thought leader in matters of innovation, tech trends, finance, investing, and entrepreneurship. She is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, the University of Michigan, and an attendee of the National University of Singapore and City of London Polytechnic. She has traveled, studied, or worked in over 75 countries. Gayle is President of The Nantucket Project Academy and a board member of Women.NYC and BE NYC (Black Entrepreneurs), both based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. She is a proud Nazarian Social Innovator-in-Residence at Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and a Tribeca Disruptor Fellow.
Shila Nieves Burney is the founder and managing partner of Zane Venture Fund, where she leads with the experience, empathy and energy to inspire both first time founders and seasoned investors alike. With decades of experience at the forefront of organizations championing the human rights of people of color, Shila has seen firsthand the cracks in our system where underrepresented founders often get overlooked. To fill those cracks, Shila independently built an ecosystem of education, access, mentorship and investment in human capital. Zane Access is an entrepreneurial support organization that exists to break down systemic barriers for underrepresented founders which, in tandem, provides Zane Venture Fund with opportunities to invest in the best and the brightest founders of the future.
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