💸 January Ventures Wants to Replace the Friends & Family Round
FemWealth Issue #58
Happy Sunday, FemWealth Friends!
Today’s edition spotlights January Ventures, a US & UK-based VC firm on a mission to replace the friends and family round and rewrite the networks in VC.
Founded in 2018 by Maren Bannon and Jennifer Neundorfer - previously entrepreneurs and Stanford business school classmates, the venture capital firm just closed a $21M new fund, its second investment vehicle to date and largest so far. The firm writes $250,000 to $750,000 checks into early-stage B2B software startups in the US & Europe, in sectors ranging from fintech to digital health.
“We’re in a Darwinian moment. In general, our founders are more capital efficient and they know how to stretch dollars, build in an ambitious a way. We are bullish on our thesis in this market, a market that feels very different than it did six or 12 months ago.” - Jennifer Neundorfer via TechCrunch
January Ventures has already backed 50 startups — 90% of which have a female founder, 54% have a founder of color, 42% have an immigrant founder, 32% have a Black or Latinx founder, and 30% have a technical female co-founder or CTO. The portfolio includes Elektra Health, Sano Genetics, Planet FWD, and The Stack World.
To support its portfolio, the firm has established a 100-person operator network a majority of which are women. Ann Bordetsky (NEA), Sarah Noeckel (Femstreet and Nortzone), and Deepali Nangia (Alma Angels and Speedinvest) are part of the network.
If you are an early-stage founder looking for your first investment, the pitch process is simple: a two-minute survey. No revenue, pitch deck or warm intro required.
FemWealth Favorites ❤️
Startups: 💸 Meet Helios, the sustainable neobank from Paris which has roped in €9 million to limit global warming - The fintech startup founded by Maeva Courtois and Julia Ménayas aims to limit global warming by offering a new sustainable and ecological banking solution, including environmental investments.
“We are leading the ecological revolution in banking services. If 10 years ago neo banks invented a digital banking experience focused on mobile usage and instant notifications, with Helios we are changing the rules of banking towards more transparency and a real commitment to climate action.” - Maeva Courtois
💸 Pando Raises $6.9 Million to Give Employees Control Over Their Career Paths - The career progression platform, founded and led by Barbra Gago, is on a mission to help companies build fair, structured, and scalable career paths for every employee.
“Performance bell curves, the lack of structure, real-time calibration, and data resulting in the black box which was employee promotions frustrated me for years. It was this, coupled with my desire to bring agility to HR and democratize professional success, that Pando – the first and only career progression platform – was born.” - Barbra Gago
💸 Berlin-based Apryl bags €4.1 million to bring pioneering fertility benefits platform to the workplace - The startup co-founded and led by Jenny Saft enables companies to support employees on their path to parenthood.
💸 Frame Fertility Launches to Proactively Reduce the Crises, Risk Factors and High Costs of an Infertility Diagnosis - The New York-based virtual reproductive support startup co-founded and led by Jessica Bell van der Wal raised $2.8 million seed funding led by Looking Glass Capital.
💸 Garment repair app Sojo secures 2.4 million dollars in pre-seed funding - The startup founded and led by Josephine Philips allows users to connect with local seamster businesses through a bicycle delivery service. Read founder profile.
💸 Gisou Raises Series B Round With Eurazeo Brands - The hair and beauty brand co-founded by influencer Negin Mirsalehi plans to reinforce its digital and e-commerce capabilities, strengthen the brand and its community, and expand globally.
VC: 💸 Brianne Kimmel’s new $35 million fund isn’t yet tempted by all of web3 - Brianne Kimmel, the founder and solo-GP of Worklife Ventures, backs companies that help modern workers.
“We do want to be very mindful and intentional that we want to build software for the average person or software that enables more access to meaningful ways to make money. I find in the current state, the metaverse and even web3 to a large degree, is not accessible just yet.” - Brianne Kimmel
🎧 20VC: Why You Should Think Twice Before Taking Multi-Stage Money at Seed, Why Venture Has Never Been Less Collaborative & How Becoming a Parent Made Me a Better Investor with Deena Shakir, Partner @ Lux Capital
Web3: 🌐 The Ownership Economy 2022. A primer on the state of web3 by Li Jin of Variant Ventures
Tech: 👩🏻💻 Spilling Silicon Valley’s secrets, one tweet at a time - Features Jane Manchun Wong, a technologist with an extraordinary ability to reverse-engineer public source code for companies like Twitter and Facebook. She identifies features and projects companies are secretly working on and shares them with her Twitter followers.
👩🏻💻 How to protect yourself from online harassment - Excellent tips for identifying your risk, maintaining boundaries, and responding to online threats.
Science: 🧬 The scientist who co-created CRISPR isn’t ruling out engineered babies someday - A thought-provoking interview with Jennifer Doudna, co-discoverer of CRISPR editing and Nobel Prize laureate, on how CRISPR can protect people from susceptibility to heritable diseases through genetic changes and how she wants to support female science entrepreneurs.
Women’s Health: 🍼 Babyation’s breast pump brings stealth and dignity to mothers - Co-founded and led by Samantha Rudolph, Babyation just launched a super discreet pump that mimics how babies nurse.
Journalism: 🎥 How Female Correspondents Are Defining War Coverage in Ukraine - Features Isobel Yeung (Vice News), Clarissa Ward (CNN), Sabrina Tavernise (The New York Times), Leila Fadel (NPR), and more.
“The contemporary form of storytelling that I see resonating is more experiential, getting a sense of what it feels like to see desperation, or to be in that desperate situation yourself.” - Clarissa Ward
“People always connect with the human condition. What do you do about sanitary products and how do you get groceries? As long as you can help people connect to an individual or a family, I think that people care.” - Leila Fadel
Leadership: 📚 “It’s My Profession”: The Modernizing of the First Lady Role and How Jill Biden Made It Her Own - An inspiring profile of Jill Biden, excerpted from JILL: A Biography of the First Lady by Julie Pace and Darlene Superville.
What I’m Reflecting On 💭
“We've been called taboo tech, femtech, or told the market isn't big enough. [Investments] in general are on the rise, but I feel that people are looking for quick and easy solutions; no one wants to take the risk. Infertility is still a very reactive field and we need more focus on prevention to solve it.” - María Teresa Pérez Zaballos, Co-founder of EndoGene.Bio, a Paris-based startup that enables a new era of endometriosis diagnosis and treatment through the use of epigenetic biomarkers
Men and women may respond differently to vaccines. Research needs to account for that - A thoughtful reflection on the importance of considering sex differences in research design.
“Women are expected to stoically endure astronomical levels of abuse to simply participate in conversations while navigating a set of social mores and boundaries that simply don’t exist for men. When men encounter behavior they don’t like online, they curse. They block. They willingly and openly dogpile and troll. And the world thinks them more manly for it. Women, in calling out much worse behavior, are told we are “emotional,” “weak,” “exaggerating,” or “hysterical.””
Thank you for reading FemWealth! 🥰 Wish you an exciting week ahead!
Founder & Writer of FemWealth
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