💸 Female-led Octopus Ventures Aims to Back Diverse Founders Across Europe
FemWealth Issue #66
Dear FemWealth Friends,
This week, women’s rights in the US received a heavy blow when the US Supreme Court voted to overturn the constitutional right to choose abortion. Following this decision, individual states can ban or legalize the procedure. In many US states, wome(x)n’s rights to bodily autonomy and reproductive health and justice are already severely threatened.
Reminder: Defend and fight for your human rights!
Read more: We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse - ‘We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy.’
In the Spotlight ✨
Founded and led by Kirsten Connell and Maria Rotilu, London-based Octopus Ventures has secured its first-ever pre-seed fund of £10 million to back founders building at their earliest stages across Europe, with a focus on B2B software, fintech health, deep tech and consumer.
“The best founders can come from anywhere and look like anyone, and building that into how we evaluate startups comes naturally for us with this fund.” - Maria Rotilu
Octopus aims to back diverse founders across Europe from the first cheque in. So far, 40% of the firm’s first investments have a female founder, and 30% have at least one ethnic minority founder. The firm’s portfolio pre-fund-launch included wealthtech Bloom Money and fertility startup Béa Fertility.
Apply for funding here.
Read more: Octopus Ventures launches its first-ever pre-seed fund of £10m
FemWealth Favorites ❤️
Startups: 💸 AiVF Raises $25M in Series A Funding - Co-founded and led by clinical embryologist Daniella Gilboa, AiVF develops an operational AI-based software platform, which provides an optimized end-to-end IVF journey.
💸 Vibrant Planet raises $17M seed round to grow forest restoration SaaS - Founded and led by Allison Wolff, Vibrant Planet is a public-benefit startup that is developing Land Tender, an “operating system for forest restoration.”
💸 WeeCare Raised $12 Million In Series A Funding Led By M13 To Help Employers Offer Childcare As An Incentive - Jessica Chang is the co-founder and CEO of WeeCare. Anna Barber, a Partner at M13 led the round.
“The childcare industry is run by 97% females. A lot of times, they are the owner, the director, the administrator and the teacher. That’s a lot of stuff that they need to do, and they need a lot of help on the operations piece. Also, it’s one of the industries that gets paid the least amount of money. They do one of the most important jobs out there. We, as a society, have not recognized that. (…) What I realized is that in order for us to really solve this, we had to make it our mission to make childcare accessible for everyone. Not just for families, but also for providers, so that they would stay in the industry.” - Jessica Chang
💸 Aidaly makes sure family caregivers get financial compensation - Founded and led by Maggie Norris, Aidaly has raised $8.5 million in funding led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Operator Partners, Precursor Ventures, Primetime Partners, Scribble, Shrug, Polymath and TVC.
💸 Cozy houseplants and self-care: How one startup is reimagining mobile gameplay as a healing activity - Co-founded by Lauren Clinnick and Christina Chen, Lumi Interactive has officially announced their $6.75 million seed round led by a16z.
💸 Afropolitan raises millions from Balaji Srinivasan and others to build a digital nation - Co-founded by Chika Uwazie, Afropolitan is a community-as-a-service company for the African diaspora. It has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed from investors including Srinivasan, Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund, Ian Lee of SyndicateDAO, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji of Future Africa, and Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave.
💸 Kibo School gets $2M to offer online STEM degrees to students in Africa - Kibo is co-founded and led by Ope Bukola.
“The future of global talent is African. We’re the youngest and the fastest-growing continent. So, if you want to solve the world’s future problems, literally the young people are going to be in Africa. This is not just a charitable thing; it’s just a practical thing because Africa is where the opportunity for growth is.”
💸 Nigerian at-home lab testing platform Healthtracka gets $1.5M, backed by female VCs - Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson is the founder and CEO of the Lagos-based startup.
👶 Child care startup Winnie launches job marketplace to help carers find better paying positions - Sara Mauskopf is the co-founder and CEO of Winnie.
VC: 💸 Paris-based Breega closes €250M fund, opens Barcelona office to back Iberian startups - The firm’s new Barcelona office is headed up by partner and head of European Venture, Isabelle Gallo.
🎧 Why and How Traditional Venture Firms Need to Innovate with Ruchi Sanghvi, Founder and Partner at South Park Commons
Business: 💸 California Couple Gets Mega Rich Off Clif Bars - Kit Crawford and her husband Gary Erickson, the majority owners of Clif Bar, have agreed to sell the energy bar company to snack giant Mondelez for $2.9 billion.
Activism: ✊🏽Opal Lee, Grandmother Of Juneteenth, Shares The Importance Of Using Your Voice To Activate Change - At 95 years old, Opal Lee still advocates for social justice and equality within Black communities. She is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
“I don’t know if I’ve gotten over the fact that each one of us needs to be responsible for making our country the country it needs to be. We can’t leave it to the government and to other people to do it. Make ourselves a committee of one to address the things that are happening that we know can be erased. That’s all I need to see. I hope people will listen that we can do this.” - Opal Lee
Music & Media: 🎶 B Ready: Beyoncé Is Poised For Her Next Evolution - Beyoncé has released her latest song Break My Soul, ahead of her upcoming album “Renaissance.”
🎬 Naomi Osaka Starts a Media Company, With Help From LeBron James (NYTimes $) - Hana Kuma, Japanese for “flower bear,” will produce television series, documentaries, anime, and branded content.
Fashion: 👗 Marine Serre’s radical reset: All-female leadership to push deadstock as luxury - Paris-based fashion designer Marine Serre is celebrating six years as an independent brand.
“We are constantly questioning ourselves. Asking if things make sense and not just doing things without thinking, without questioning the system. It can be exhausting to do that because the world itself wants you to produce more, publish more. Sometimes doing less is better.” - Marine Serre
What I’m Reflecting On 💭
The Necessity of Hope. Things are bad. They will get worse. But despair has never been an option.
“So today is surely a day to weep and mourn and rage and be very, very afraid, and to understand that many of us will not live to see today’s calamity reversed. And in so acknowledging, we go forward with the will of those who came before, and those who have never stopped putting one foot in front of another, to some finer tomorrow, distant but always possible.” - Rebecca Traister
Women Are Less Likely Than Men To Receive Credit For Their Scientific Contributions, Study Suggests - A new Nature study, which analyzed data on more than 128,000 people, has shown that women are nearly 60% less likely than men to be named on patents linked to their projects.
How Breastfeeding Mothers Are Being Sexualized On Social Media
“Women sharing nursing images on the internet are seeing their intimate moments with children taken out of context or used without consent as pornography.”
Why Haven’t We Figured Out How to Make IUDs Less Excruciating?
Thank you for reading FemWealth! 🥰 Stay hopeful and take action!
Founder & Writer of FemWealth
Thanks for reading FemWealth! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.