Company Profile

Cleo Capital

Company Information

How the 2019 The Fundery Companies Were Selected

The Fundery includes venture capital funds that take equity stakes in women entrepreneurs or women-led companies as the execution of all or part of their investment theses. It does not include angel networks (unless they also run a venture capital fund) nor does it include special purpose vehicles.

Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Location
Santa Monica, California
Year Founded
2018
Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Company Description

In late 2018, entrepreneur Sarah Kunst set out to raise $10 million for her firm, Cleo Capital. The Santa Monica, California-based fund employs the increasingly popular "scout" model, in which established entrepreneurs use their networks to help funnel deal flow to a fund. So far, Kunst -- the founder of fitness app Proday and a former scout for Sequoia Capital -- hasn't revealed any details about her investments or strategies, except to say that the fund will be targeted to women. In August 201, she closed on $3.5 million.

Color

Company Information

How the 2019 The Fundery Companies Were Selected

The Fundery includes venture capital funds that take equity stakes in women entrepreneurs or women-led companies as the execution of all or part of their investment theses. It does not include angel networks (unless they also run a venture capital fund) nor does it include special purpose vehicles.

Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Location
Portland, Oregon
Year Founded
2018
Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Company Description

After selling personal care brand Schmidt's Naturals to Unilever in 2017, Jaime Schmidt and Chris Cantino were barraged with questions. Some came from entrepreneurs. "I'll get inquiries as broad as, 'How do I start a business and sell it to Unilever like you did,'" says Schmidt, the company's founder. "And I'll also get specific questions about sales or hiring." Then, from their financial advisor: Were they going to start a foundation?

But philanthropy wasn't where they saw the most immediate opportunity to make an impact. "Our priority was, let's be with the communities and the people we can help," says Schmidt. In 2018, that led to the formation of Color, a venture fund that invests in the Series A and B rounds of consumer companies started by under-represented founders. 'To me, it was clear, I wanted to invest in women," says Schmidt. "That's where my heart was, and I saw an opportunity to make a change."

Cantino, who is her husband and also was deeply involved in Schmidt's, also saw the need to do things differently. When it first came to financing Schmidt's, he said, "We had no concept of anything beyond going to the bank and asking for $100,000, and we didn't even do that. It was so intimidating for us, and we have a relative amount of privilege. If you are queer or black, where is that money going to come from?"

So far, Color's investments include Wild Friends, a maker of flavored nut butters; online marketplace Bubble; and ice cream makers Salt and Straw. They've also made an investment in Backstage Capital's operations arm, called the Studio. "I love that they don't back away from their voice," says Schmidt of Backstage. Says Cantino: "They show that even if your fund is not the biggest in the world, you can have an idea and change the world."

Constellation Brands Focus on Female Founders

Company Information

How the 2019 The Fundery Companies Were Selected

The Fundery includes venture capital funds that take equity stakes in women entrepreneurs or women-led companies as the execution of all or part of their investment theses. It does not include angel networks (unless they also run a venture capital fund) nor does it include special purpose vehicles.

Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Location
Victor, New York
Year Founded
2018
Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Company Description

Constellation Brands, owner of more than 100 brands including Corona, Robert Mondavi, and Svedka, announced in December 2018 that it would seek to invest $100 million in women-led companies in the next 10 years. The liquor behemoth is looking for companies in the beverage alcohol and adjacent spaces. The Victor, New York-based corporation's announcement came with two investments under its belt: Austin Cocktails, bottled mixed drinks founded by two sisters, and Vivify Beverages, which makes "better-for-you" alcoholic drinks sold in the beer aisle. The fund is primarily looking for companies in North America, but will consider investments in other regions that have the potential to make a dent in the U.S. market.

Disruption Ventures

Company Information

How the 2019 The Fundery Companies Were Selected

The Fundery includes venture capital funds that take equity stakes in women entrepreneurs or women-led companies as the execution of all or part of their investment theses. It does not include angel networks (unless they also run a venture capital fund) nor does it include special purpose vehicles.

Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Year Founded
2019
Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Company Description

It wasn't until after she'd raised about $15 million for two startups and had successful exits that Elaine Kunda realized how hard it was for women to raise venture capital. "I'd always had the backing of Relay [Ventures]," she says. "They brought me in to be CEO of two of their companies, so I guess that gave me credibility." After both those companies were sold, Kunda's friends and colleagues would send her pitch decks from women entrepreneurs whose companies, says Kunda, were "much better qualified and much further along than some of the male-owned companies I'd seen get funded." But the women never seemed to get equity funding, and in 2018, Kunda set out to do something about it. Her new fund, Disruption Ventures, is being incubated within the offices of Relay, which is based in both Silicon Valley and Toronto. Kunda has closed on $13 million of a proposed $30 million to $50 million fund, from which she hopes to make about a dozen investments of $500,000 to $1 million each (and to reserve the rest for follow-on funding). Kunda specifically sought out a bank as an anchor investor—in this case Scotiabank--because she also wants to be able to help her portfolio companies get business loans when appropriate. Disruption is looking for women-founded (or co-founded) companies across North America that are raising for seed or Series A funding. Disruption's first investment, announced in May 2019: Hostfully, a B2B software company for the short-term rental market.

Elevate Capital

Elevate Capital founder Nitin Rai (third from left.) Credit: Elevate Capital
Company Information

How the 2019 The Fundery Companies Were Selected

The Fundery includes venture capital funds that take equity stakes in women entrepreneurs or women-led companies as the execution of all or part of their investment theses. It does not include angel networks (unless they also run a venture capital fund) nor does it include special purpose vehicles.

Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Location
Portland, Oregon
Year Founded
2016
Data as of Publication on May 13, 2019
Company Description

In 2014, the University of Oregon came out with a report called "Capital Scan," revealing which regions of the state were least likely to get venture capital. At the time, Nitin Rai was the founder of an Oregon angel group that grew out of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), an entrepreneurship group whose founders have ties to the Indus region. The angel group had had three notably successful exits from unconventional founders -- two were women, and one was African-American. Word got out, says Rai, and he was approached by the director of a large trust who asked if he would be interested in setting up a fund. That fund became the Elevate Capital Fund.

At about the same time, the city of Portland was looking for a manager for its inclusive startup fund, and Rai eventually got the job. Both funds launched in 2016. The Elevate Inclusive Fund invests in entrepreneurs who are women, African American, Latinx, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans, and those who have immigrated to the United States within the past 10 years. A $3 million fund, it combines public and private money to invest in the greater Portland metro area.

The inclusive fund typically writes checks of $25,000 to $75,000. The Elevate Capital Fund, at $10 million, takes the Capital Scan report as inspiration. It invests in all the founders who would qualify for the Inclusive Fund, but also will invest in those who live in geographic areas where venture capitalists typically don't venture. It writes checks of $50,000 to $500,000. The funds invest across sectors, and have backed Blendoor, a job matching app designed to eliminate bias; Hemex Health, which makes a malaria testing device; and restaurant company Garden Bar.