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Victress Capital closes $21.7 million fund to back female founders

ImpactAlpha, July 8 – Lori Cashman and Suzanne Norris started Victress Capital in 2015 to help close the gender gap for venture capital funding, making 14 seed investments from a “launch” fund into companies including Daily Harvest, a direct-to-consumer seller of smoothies and chia bowls, and Mented, which makes cosmetics for dark-skinned women.

With Fund II, raised mostly from family offices, Victress is targeting women-led consumer brands, services and marketplaces. The Boston-based firm will invest between $250,000 and $750,000 in seed rounds and $1 million or more in Series A rounds, using a variety of structures.

Its first four investees: eco-friendly swimsuit maker Summersalt, nutritional supplements company Rae Wellness, Alyce, a personalized marketing tool, and WaitWhat, a content producer founded by former TED execs. 

Persistent gap

Despite growing awareness of the gender funding gap, venture funding for female founders is still stuck in the low-single digits – not far from where it was five years ago when Victress launched.

Of more than 1,300 venture capital firms in the U.S. with a total $444 billion under management, less than 20 funds with combined assets less than $500 million are focused on women-led companies, note Cashman and Norris. Change, they write, “often starts by putting capital in the hands of others knowing that there will be a multiplier effect with that seed investment.”

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