More women can now get access to funding for their businesses as Melinda French Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested $57 million in the Female Founders Fund. This fund, owned by Anu Duggal, is providing seed funding for female-owned startups in the lifestyle and tech industries.
Melinda French Gates’ $57 million investment marks her second donation to the Female Founders Fund, since its inception. In total, the fund has raised $95 million with Melinda raising about $25 million for the fund through her company, Pivotal ventures in 2016.
Other investors who have made generous donations to the FFF include the co-founder of 23andMe Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki, and the CEO of Houseparty Sima Sistani.
The FFF was first launched in 2014 by Anu Duggal to help women raise seed-fund to give their startup the necessary push to kick-start. According to Duggal, she was inspired by the realization that the venture capital world was dominated by men which gave women lesser chances of accessing seed funds.
So far, the FFF has funded 50 female-led companies and has a network of up to 50,000 female founders and investors as the fund offers women access to mentorship, strategy etc. Recipients of the Female Founders Fund include Zola.com and Tala. The fund hopes to diversify and invest in other sectors including education and online businesses.
This is a huge win for women-owned startups that can now access funds through the Female Founders Fund. In the end, the Female Founders Fund is doing a lot to achieve its aim of bridging the wide gap between female startups and venture capital.