This past September, we were pleased welcome Katherine Rice to our investment team. Katherine brings a wealth of experience in incubating and scaling consumer businesses, and building multi-channel lifestyle brands in the home furnishings, apparel, food & beverage, and health & wellness sectors. Read more.
GingerBread Capital Fall-Winter 2020 Newsletter
New to the GingerBread Team
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
As we say buh-bye to 2020, we’re thinking about those wise words from the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What enduring changes in the world, and in the lives of women, might come from this annus horibilis (with a nod to “The Crown”)? 2020 was a year that has shown us our enormous strengths as well as our weaknesses. A year in which great leaders emerged but also of leaders failing to lead. In 2020, women are still making firsts — America elected its first woman VP! Yet we’ve lost some ground, too. We know change happens one step at a time; it’s the direction of that step that is concerning.
The ongoing pandemic has exposed so much of the pervasive inequities in our society, women, and women of color especially, bearing the brunt of its impact on our health, families and livelihoods. Women entrepreneurs are no exception. A recent survey by Inc. of 229 women running businesses found their top three challenges during the pandemic are: managing childcare, mental health issues and acquiring outside capital.
The latter is certainly true for female founders seeking venture capital. They’ve seen “a disproportionate drop in capital invested relative to the country’s broader venture space” since the pandemic took hold in mid-March, states a new report from Pitchbook. In fact, in Q3 2020 venture funding for female founders hit its lowest quarterly total since 2017.
This finding comes at the same time that startups overall received $36.5 billion in venture funding in Q3 2020, the second strongest quarter ever for venture-backed US businesses, according to CB Insights. This final quarter will likely prove even stronger, with the unprecedented “deal frenzy” among investors and “hot” startups, as The New York Times reported in early December.
What can be done to reverse the downward trend in VC funding for women founders and get us back stepping in the right direction?
We can’t say it enough — and all evidence supports it:
The more women and people of color occupy decision-making positions and write the checks, the more women and diverse founders will get funded.
All Raise is moving the industry in the right direction. The nonprofit group, started in 2018 by Cowboy Ventures Founder Aileen Lee to advance more women into leadership roles in VC, just raised another $11 million to expand its wildly popular programs, events and advocacy. Its 2nd Annual Women in VC Summit, held virtually this past October, was attended by 700 active women investors who are changing the face of the VC industry (as an aside, one of our favorite moments during the Summit was Ita leading a live Q&A with keynote speaker, the best-selling author Glennon Doyle).
As All Raise’s CEO Pam Kostka observes:
“It’s not a pipeline issue, it’s a talent network issue.”
One of the goals of GingerBread Capital is to build that talent network of founders and investors. Our next step toward making change that endures is to continue seeking out and backing incredible founders leading incredible businesses.
Read on about how we’re growing our team, the new startups we’ve added to the GingerBread Capital portfolio in just the last few months, and the events we’ve participated in that, even as we’ve had to keep our distance, have kept us all together.
More than any year in memory, 2020 has strengthened our resolve to stay true to our mission. To hold ourselves accountable to support more founders of color, especially those in the Black and Latinx communities. To continue investing in businesses that are poised to change the world for the better — in healthcare, food production, the environment, and in people’s everyday lives at home and at work. And to keep following the wisdom of the woman who spent her life fighting for women’s equality, and who changed ours for the better. RBG’s words guide us every day:
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
For more Notorious wisdom, read GBC Senior Associate Olivia Kim‘s essay, “RBG Changed My Life–and Yours, Too.”
NEW IN THE GBC PORTFOLIO
Lola – Offering menstrual and sexual wellness products made from high-quality, toxin- and dye-free, natural ingredients. Launched in 2014 by co-founders Alex Friedman and Jordana Kier, the Lola brand is now sold in 4,600+ Walmart stores across the US and at walmart.com.
Spring Health – Co-founder April Koh launched her mental healthcare platform in 2016 to help people find more effective, affordable, evidence-based treatment strategies tailored to their specific needs. In November, the company closed on a $76 million Series B funding round. Read the Crunchbase article.
Twentyeight Health – Affordable birth control should be available to any woman who needs it. That’s why co-founders Amy Fan and Bruno Van Tuykom launched their platform in 2018 to provide high-quality reproductive services, including low- or no-cost contraception, online doctor evaluations and home delivery service, especially to women who are low-income and in underserved communities. Read the Forbes article.
OUT & ABOUT (VIRTUALLY)
We participated in lots of engaging and inspiring virtual events this fall. Here are some highlights:
– Linnea joined Ellevest Founder/CEO Sallie Krawcheck (right) as featured speakers in The University of Chicago Booth School of Business‘ Distinguished Speaker Series event (12/15) about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women as entrepreneurs and as investors.
– Linnea also joined Marcia Page of Värde Partners on 11/5 for a webinar discussion about backing women-led startups as an investment thesis. The convo, sponsored by Women’s PE Briefs, was moderated by Olga Kaplan, who heads Goldman Sachs’ Launch with GS diversity initiative.
– Ita did some pitch coaching during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (11/19), and was a panelist and moderator at The Wave Tour (11/12) for womxn founders and investors, joining Arlan Hamilton, Maha Ibrahim and other superstar investors and founders for a day of workshops, coaching and pitching.
– Ita also chatted with Founder Davida Herzl of Aclima about investing in climate change solutions (9/23), hosted by the Wharton Alumni Founders & Funders Association; and with Lola Co-founder Alex Friedman about the future of women’s reproductive healthcare (12/10), hosted by the Wharton Entrepreneurship Club.
We love this recent interview with Linnea, conducted by Blade Craft Barber Academy Founder-Owner Lilly Benitez. The two dished about thriving in a male-dominated industry, why women should invest their capital in other women, and how to stay in business during a global pandemic. Lilly’s Dallas-based barbershop and training school was one of 25 recipients of our Covid-19 $10K Relief Grants, which helped Lilly keep up with rent and employees’ salaries when the pandemic forced her to (temporarily) close her doors.
Read more about Lilly and all of GingerBread Capital’s grant recipients.