👩🏽💻 Female-led Manara Trains Diverse Talent for Engineering Careers at Global Tech Companies
FemWealth Issue #60
Happy Sunday, FemWealth Friends!
This week has been pretty exciting for women-led startups. Across the funding cycle, female-founded businesses have secured significant amounts of funding - from seven-figures pre-seed rounds to Habi’s $200M Series C! 🙌
One of my favorites is Manara, a social impact EdTech startup that provides cohort-based training for software engineers, with a particular focus on women, geared toward growing the tech-talent pool in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The San-Francisco-based startup founded by Iliana Montauk (CEO) and Laila Abudahi (CTO), has raised $3M in pre-seed funding led by Stripe, with participation from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, among others.
“I grew up in Palestine and realized quickly that to become a world-class engineer I needed to work on highly scaled products with experienced teams. After I reached my dream through lots of trial and error, I wanted to make it easier for people back home to do the same. Ultimately, these engineers will become the CTOs and senior developers that the region needs in order to accelerate the growing success of its own tech ecosystem.” - Laila Abudahi
Manara’s alumni work for global tech companies aross the US and Europe, including Meta, Google, Amazon, and Zalando.
The startup plans to use the fresh funding to scale from training 60 to 6,000 engineers per year and to launch a self-service product for interview practice, networking and mentorship, targeting software engineers from across the globe.
Read more: Manara gets $3M to grow tech talent pool in the Middle East and North Africa (TechCrunch)
Edtech Startup Manara Raises $3M In Preseed Funding Round (Forbes Middle East)
FemWealth Favorites ❤️
Startups: 🦄 Colombian proptech Habi reaches unicorn status with $200M raise co-led by SoftBank and Homebrew - Habi, a Bogota-based proptech, co-founded and led by Brynne McNulty Rojas, has closed on $200M in a Series C funding round co-led by Homebrew and SoftBank Latin America Fund. It is the only LatAm unicorn with a female founder and CEO. Habi’s mission is to empower low- and middle-income consumers in the housing sector by providing access to liquidity and information “in a market where data is limited and the majority of homes are not listed online.”
💸 Osmind scores $40M investment to aid in mental health research and treatment - Osmind, a San Francisco, CA-based public benefit corporation, founded and led by Lucia Huang, aims to use the fresh Series B funding to expand its platform for mental health research and treatment.
💸 Ditch The Chalk: Tessa Lau’s Dusty Robotics Raises $45 Million To Automate Construction Plans - Dusty Robotics built an autonomous printer on wheels for construction sites. The company co-founded and led by roboticist Tessa Lau is valued at $250M.
💸 Meet the three university friends that want to give voting rights to BlackRock shareholders - Shareholder voting platform Tumelo, co-founded and led by Georgia Stewart, has raised a $19M Series A to take on America and the world’s biggest fund managers.
“If you own shares in a company, however intermediated you are, you should have some influence over the issues that are important to you.” - Georgia Stewart
💸 PocketLaw, a contract automation SaaS for SMEs, secures Atomico’s support - Co-founded by Kira Unger (CEO) and Olga Beck-Friis (COO) the Swedish startup Pocket Law, a contract automation SaaS legal tech platform that is mainly focused on SMEs, has raised €10M (~$11M) in Series A funding led by European VC firm, Atomico, to fuel expansion in Europe.
💸 Mahmee Raises $9.2M Series A Funding - The California-based maternal healthcare startup led by CEO Melissa Hanna provides expectant mothers with live support 7 days a week and unlimited expert-led support groups and classes.
💸 SimpliFed Raises $6 Million In Latest Seed Round - The virtual care platform founded by Andrea Ippolito provides expecting mothers with non-judgemental resources to help them with breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
💸 AboveBoard’s $6 million seed will help place underrepresented folks in executive roles - AboveBoard, founded and led by Lucinda Duncalfe, is developing a two-sided marketplace focused on executive roles in which employers can post job listings on a platform that they know has a diverse set of candidates.
💸 New social shopping platform Prismpop has raised $5M total seed funding to help consumers discover what to buy - Founded and led by Peggie Li, a Bytedance (Tik Tok’s parent company) alumni, the female-oriented social shopping Prismpop aims to amplify the creation and sharing of female lifestyle content.
“We want to empower female consumers with trustworthy information to make online purchasing decisions they can feel confident in. From the world of cosmetics to fashion to fitness, our goal is to deliver personalized content and community interaction that inspires consumers into an evolved way of shopping. It's shopping and sharing with friends re-invented.” - Peggy Li
💸 Anja Health Raises $4.5M Seed Funding Round to Make Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking Accessible and Affordable For All - Founder Kathryn Cross launched Anja Health after her own personal experience where cord blood banking could have saved her brother after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a very young age. Investors include Seven Seven Six and Crista Galli Ventures.
“Far too many parents lack knowledge or access to quality health care. At Anja, we're working to ensure that all parents have an equitable experience and that their umbilical cords and placentas don't go to waste - as most do today. (…) Anja Health is on a mission to democratize access to not only stem cells, but information on birth in general.” - Kathryn Cross, Founder of Anja Health
💸 OURS Reinvents Relationship Health - The mental health and wellness platform co-founded by Elizabeth Earnshaw and Jessica Holton launches platform with ~$5M in funding to modernize couples counseling.
“In a capitalist society, money is not just money. Money is power. Money is the power to leave relationships that don’t work for you, to leave jobs that you hate, to buy a home, to start a business. Women don’t just have less money than men, they have a lot less money. And Black women have even less, and it’s been moving in the wrong direction for quite some time.” - Sallie Krawcheck
VC: 💸 Educapital aims to raise a $160 million fund focused on edtech and future of work - The French VC firm Educapital, co-founded by Marie-Christine Levet and Litzie Maarek, has reached the first close of its second fund securing $105M (€100M).
“We created the firm four years ago. We were the first European edtech fund. In four years, we invested in 20 companies, mostly in Europe. We have a wide investment spectrum from early childhood to vocational training.”- Marie-Christine Levet
💸 New Zealand’s Icehouse Ventures is raising a $20 million to back female founders - The Auckland-based VC Icehouse Ventures has raised its first NZ$5 million towards a $20M target to invest in women-led startups.
💸 How To Raise A VC Fund: 15 Tips From Women Who Have Done It - Maren Thomas Bannon, Founding Partner of January Ventures rounds up the best advice from leading female venture capitalists about how to raise a fund.
“The good news for women starting VC funds: We’re in good company. More and more women are raising their own funds, and helping other women founders do the same. Your people are out there, and when you find them, they’ll share their insights and support—just like all the women I’ve quoted have done with me. Like I said, venture capital isn’t just a boys club anymore. Women aren’t just excelling in VC. We’re transforming it from the outside in.” - Maren Thomas Bannon
🙌 Women-Led Venture Funds Have Already Raised More Money Than Last Year - In the US, 16 new funds where at least 60% of the decision-makers are women have raised $4.5 billion through mid-April, already exceeding lasting year’s total. The jump is largely due to huge funds raised by Forerunner Ventures, founded by Kirsten Green, and crypto-specialist Haun Ventures, founded by former a16z partner Katie Haun.
Women’s Health: 👏 Spain to reportedly offer three days of menstrual leave every month - Spain is set to approve a law next week, offering three days of menstrual leave a month for workers who experience severe period pain. If the law passes, Spain will become the first western country to offer national paid menstrual leave.
Sports: 🎾 Naomi Osaka leaves IMG to form her own sports agency - Tennis star Naomi Osaka’s newly created management agency EVOLVE, will primarily focus on expanding Osaka’s business investments and will only add a few clients.
“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional. Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”
“I strongly believe in the power athletes have to use our platforms to drive meaningful business.” - Naomi Osaka
What I’m Reflecting On
Lack of research on heart disease in women is risking lives, say experts - In a presidential advisory issued by the American Heart Association, leading cardiologists argued that women continued to be underrepresented in research for cardiovascular disease (the number one killer of women in the US and UK) and that greater emphasis needed to be placed on prevention and education.
“We are losing ground on key indicators of cardiovascular health among women, including blood pressure control, weight management and diabetes.” - Dr. Véronique Roger, the advisory committee’s corresponding author and a senior investigator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
“There are subtleties that we’re missing; subtle signals of the female body that often get overlooked in medicine.” - Dr. Liz Letchfor
I INVENTED GILEAD. THE SUPREME COURT IS MAKING IT REAL. - Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, reflects on Justice Alito’s draft opinion restricting abortion rights in the US.
“The Alito opinion purports to be based on America’s Constitution. But it relies on English jurisprudence from the 17th century, a time when a belief in witchcraft caused the death of many innocent people. The Salem witchcraft trials were trials—they had judges and juries—but they accepted “spectral evidence,” in the belief that a witch could send her double, or specter, out into the world to do mischief. (…)
Similarly, it will be very difficult to disprove a false accusation of abortion. The mere fact of a miscarriage, or a claim by a disgruntled former partner, will easily brand you a murderer. Revenge and spite charges will proliferate, as did arraignments for witchcraft 500 years ago.” - Margaret Atwood
Female CEO told she’s ‘not the man for the job’ at ’flabbergastingly’ sexist shareholder meeting - Amanda Blanc, the CEO of the British insurance giant Aviva was the subject of sexist remarks after delivering a speech at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
Chore apps were meant to make mothers’ lives easier. They often don’t. - Rather than reducing the burden of housework, chore apps reenforce some of the traditional gender roles and tend to become yet another thing for women to worry about.
Thank you for reading FemWealth! 🥰 Wish you a lovely Sunday and an exciting week ahead!
Founder and Writer of FemWealth
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