ImpactAlpha, July 13 – Jenny Abramson and Heidi Patel launched Rethink Impact in 2016 to invest in female entrepreneurs tackling tough problems. Interest from female investors, who make up 65% of the investors in their latest fund, helped make it the largest U.S. gender lens fund.
Backers in Fund II include Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, UBS, and university endowments, as well as many high net worth women. The firm’s first fund, in 2016, raised half of its $110 million from high net worth individuals and family office clients of UBS Wealth Management Americas.
Rethink Impact has backed more than two-dozen ventures to date. In June, it joined a $9.5 million round for CareAcademy, a caregiver-training platform founded by Helen Adeosun and Madhuri Reddy.
Other investments include Sally Krawcheck’s Ellevest female-focused finance site and Rachel Carlson’s Guild Education, a worker upskilling company that became the first female-led impact ‘unicorn.’
Funding for women-led ventures, already scant, plummeted by 40% in the first quarter of 2020. “Female founders are being left out at a time when their ideas are needed most,” Rethink Impact’s Abramson said in a statement. “Now is the time to address these market blind spots and double down, not lean out.”