🤰🏽The Female-Led Fertility & Women's Health Investment Boom
FemWealth Issue #53
Happy Sunday, FemWealth Friends!
Exciting news in women’s health and fertility tech this week!
Maria Toler Velissaris’ SteelSky Ventures has raised $72M for its inaugural fund to invest in women’s health. The Atlanta-based VC firm is the world’s largest venture capital fund focused exclusively on improving access, care, and outcomes in women’s health. It will invest across the sector, in medical devices, consumer health, digital health, ePharmacy, and retail therapeutics.
“Women’s health is an area of tremendous growth potential, and SteelSky is building a pipeline of the next billion-dollar healthcare giants. We are proud to invest in entrepreneurs who are significantly progressing healthcare for women around the world.” - Maria Velissaris, Managing Partner at SteelSky Ventures
Three women investors have backed fertility startup Alife - founded by Paxton Maeder-York - which aims to make IVF affordable with AI. The $22M Series A round was co-led by existing Seed lead Deena Shakir at Lux Capital, and new investors Rebecca Kaden at Union Square Ventures and Anarghya Vardhana at Maveron.
“Not only is Alife’s executive team 50% women but I am proud to say that our newly-expanded Board of Directors is now all women, all mothers, and all seasoned investors with both personal and professional conviction in the generational potential of the company” - Deena Shakir
“As someone closely impacted by a challenging fertility journey, I had been on the lookout for a company that is aiming to meaningfully move the needle in IVF: driving down cost, driving up quality, and overall having an ability to expand accessibility to this increasingly needed technology.” - Anarghya Vardhana
Amazing to see female investors are at the forefront of the investment boom in women’s health and fertility tech!
Investors see growth opportunity in Femtech devoted to women’s health
‘The dollars are massive’ when you invest in women’s health, venture capitalist says
Bringing women’s health in Europe to the forefront. Starting with fertility - By Dinika Mahtani and Sophia Bendz, Cherry Ventures
Wome(x)n’s Health Innovations On the Rise [FemWealth Issue #28] - Includes lists of top women investors and startups in women’s health.
P.S. I’ll curate and share a dossier on Fertility Tech companies in the coming weeks. Please reply to this email/ in the comments section if you know any companies in this space.
FemWealth Favorites ❤️
Startups: 💸 Finally takes in $95M in equity, debt to roll out lending for small businesses - The Miami-based startup co-founded by Glennys Rodriguez has secured $95 million in Series A capital that includes $11M in equity and $85M in a credit facility (to be used for lending to SMBs).
💸 Me+Em secures 55 million pounds investment from Highland Europe - The British luxury fashion brand is founded and led by Clare Hornby. The company will use the funding for international expansion.
“From day one we’ve been passionate about democratising luxury for busy women of all ages who want to wear beautifully tailored clothes, made with care and attention to detail, that fit perfectly.”
💸 ShopThing raises $10M to scale its live video shopping marketplace - The Toronto-based startup founded by Maggie Adhami-Boynton aims to redesign the way people shop and sell through live video commerce.
💸 Muni gives Latin American communities buying power through shopping app - The company founded by María Echeverri Gomez closed on $20 million in Series A funding, touted as “the largest Series A investment reported for a female founder in Spanish-speaking Latin America to date.” Muni is used by 15,000 community leaders across Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil.
🌎 8 Women Entrepreneurs Tackling The Climate Crisis - With Tech And Funding
📅 Playfair Capital Female Founders Office Hours initiative [Tuesday 26th April] - Register here.
VC: 💸 Crypto investor Katie Haun raises $1.5 billion, the largest debut fund ever by a female VC [includes video interview] - Haun Ventures is the largest fund ever raised by a solo venture capitalist | Also read Introducing Haun Ventures by Katie Haun
“It feels, honestly, like a lot of pressure. But I think that motivates everyone on the team. Web3 is the new era of the internet and it deserves a new era of investors.” - Katie Haun
👩🏻💻 Data obscures positive trends in VC dollars reaching women-founded startups
“If true accountability is the goal, the ecosystem would be better served by a more rigorous progress scorecard — one that zeroes in on first-financing deals on a deal count basis, disaggregates women founders into subgroups, and benchmarks fund participation.”
👩🏻💻 Sequoia debuts Arc, a London/SV program to find and mentor outlier startups, backing each with $1M - Partner Luciana Lixandru will lead the new program in Europe. Jess Lee, Sequoia’s first female partner, is the US lead. Apply here.
Web3: 💸 These Y Combinator cofounders are taking on Robinhood to make crypto investing accessible to Gen Z women - Eve Halimi and Anam Lakhani, co-founders of Alinea, are debuting a new crypto investing platform today geared toward Gen Z women. The company has raised $2.1 million in seed funding and is positioned as a competitor to Robinhood and SoFi—with a younger and more gender-diverse user base.
🙌🏽 Naomi Osaka Jumps Into Crypto Craze as Firms Target Young Women - The tennis start has signed a long-term deal to be an ambassador for crypto trading firm FTX, with a focus on appealing to women and further democratizing the space.
“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets.” - Naomi Osaka
Career: 🎥 Cannes Film Festival Board Elects Iris Knobloch as First Female President
👏🏾 Bozoma Saint John Talks Netflix Exit, Responds to Criticism About Her Personal Brand: “I Live Out Loud”
👏🏾 What Working Mothers Heard in Judge Jackson’s Words
“Girls, I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done … I love you so much.” - Ketanji Brown Jackson, adressing her daughters during the Supreme Court hearings [Read more here]
👩🏽💻 Apple is hiring more women and underrepresented minorities into leadership - Apple’s latest Inclusion and Diversity report reveals that 59% of open U.S. leadership roles were filled by people from underrepresented communities in the past year, and women filled 47%. The number of female employees globally has increased by 89%.
On the frontlines: 🇺🇦 Ukrainian women are volunteering to fight — and history shows they always have | Ukrainian Women Are Mobilizing Beyond the Battlefield to Defend Their Country
🇺🇦 She’s lobbying Congress furiously for help in Ukraine, until her pregnancy stops her - Ukrainian Parliament member Oleksandra Ustinova, 37 weeks pregnant, is fighting for military aid from the United States.
“We are still negotiating for help. And I tell them that every day of negotiations is thousands of lives. For every Ukrainian, we’re afraid to open Facebook every night to see news of who was killed that day.” - Oleksandra Ustinova
Arts: 📸 The human body is often seen through a male lens. 30 female photographers present a different view
Sports: 🎾 World No. 1 Ash Barty, 25, announces retirement from tennis: 'I'm so happy and I'm so ready' - The Australian tennis star and women’s world number one player Ashleigh Barty has announced it’s time for her to “chase other dreams.”
“There was a perspective shift in me in the second phase of my career, that my happiness wasn't dependent on the results, and success for me is knowing I've given absolutely everything I can.” - Ashleigh Barty
Things to Ponder
Taliban schools U-turn 'a devastating day' for Afghan girls - Malala Yousafzai - In Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered secondary girls schools in Afghanistan to shut just hours after they reopened.
With mostly women and children fleeing Ukraine, European authorities fear a surge in human trafficking
My Journey out of Ukraine - By Sara Cincurova, a human-rights journalist who fled from Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: I should have been freed six years ago - The Iranian-British dual citizen who was detained in Iran from 3 April 2016 to 16 March 2022 speaks up about the political conundrum around her liberation.
In memoriam Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state | Madeleine Albright’s enduring legacy: U.S. leadership and women’s empowerment
There could never be an ‘Elona’ Musk – women are held to far higher standards than men
“There could simply never be a female version of Musk. A woman could never act the childish way that Musk acts and still be revered as a brilliant entrepreneur. A female CEO could never get away with spending half her day shitposting on Twitter and cracking juvenile jokes in the way that Musk does. People wouldn’t take her seriously.” - Arwa Mahdawi
Thank you for reading FemWealth!
Wish you a lovely Sunday and a successful week ahead!
Founder & Writer of FemWealth