The Unicorns of Tomorrow
That massive number is Morgan Stanley’s estimate of the incremental economic value that would be created if firms increased investment in diverse founders. Simply put, investing in women-led, game changing companies is smart business. It is also one of the largest areas of untapped potential for the venture capital industry.
This month’s $2.2B IPO for Bumble—currently trading at an $8.5B market cap—made founder Whitney Wolfe Herd the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. While successfully navigating Bumble to IPO, she also ensured that eight of 11 Board seats are held by women. Bumble’s success story is just the latest in a decade that has seen female entrepreneurs flourish, despite the odds stacked against them. Over the last 10 years, women have led 19 companies to IPO, more than 6x the number before 2011. These businesses are pioneers in Enterprise Software, Artificial Intelligence, Retail, Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and more. Although the number of women-led IPOs is still far too low, progress can also be seen earlier in the pipeline: the percentage of startups founded by women has doubled over the last decade from 10% to 20%.
These women-run startups represent the unicorns of tomorrow.
While the pandemic has posed challenges for many working women faced with limited childcare options and other obstacles, women-led businesses have been both resourceful and instrumental in fighting the virus. Startup Everlywell, founded by Julia Cheek, pivoted its focus from offering at home health tests for a host of common ailments to providing COVID tests to healthcare workers and individuals. Ava, founded by Lea Von Bidder, offered its hardware—a wearable pre-pregnancy health tracking device—to researchers for use in COVID-19 studies.
March Capital recognizes the creativity and resilience of female entrepreneurs. The Montgomery Summit presented by March Capital on March 3rd and 4th will feature several startups founded and led by women who are innovating in a diverse array of sectors, from data science to trucking to bioengineered food. A few of their stories are included below:
Peek.com – Peek.com enables travelers to seamlessly book a variety of experiences with vetted vendors. CEO Ruzwana Bashir founded Peek after struggling to plan activities for her own trip to Istanbul. Bashir surmised that there should be a better way to book than calling multiple individual vendors and created Peek to bring the $110B travel activity market online. Peek is backed by NFX, Cathay Innovation, and Montage Ventures and most recently raised a Series B.
Monte Carlo – CEO Barr Moses was struck by how difficult it was to get clean and reliable data for her team to analyze in her role as VP of Customer Operations at Gainsight. After spending countless hours manually checking data, Barr set out to find a better solution and Monte Carlo was born. The company helps customers realize the full potential of their data by ensuring data quality and reducing data downtime. Monte Carlo recently raised a Series B and is backed by Accel, GGV, and Redpoint.
Next – Next is a new kind of marketplace – connecting shippers with truckers and helping both parties save time and drive revenue. Founded by Lidia Yan in 2015, the company has moved more than $50B of cargo to date, saving shippers an average of 10% on freight fees and increasing revenue for carriers by an average of 15%. Next raised a Series C in 2019 led by Brookfield Technology Partners. Other investors include Sequoia, GP Capital, and AimTop Ventures.
Fork & Goode – Niya Gupta is passionate about transforming the food and agriculture industry. In 2018, she founded Fork & Goode to grow meat using cell culture technology. Fork & Goode is on a mission to produce meat with the flavor and nutritional value consumers desire, without the food safety issues and resource depletion of animal slaughter. The company raised a Seed round from Starlight Ventures and Firstminute Capital in 2019.
To meet more women who are changing the face of their industries, join us for this year’s Female Entrepreneur Program at The Montgomery Summit 2021 presented by March Capital on March 3rd and 4th. Register for the 2021 Summit here: https://cvent.me/mqWNGX. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.