News

Latest on Rethink Impact, our investments, and the space

July 13, 2020

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi speak with Rethink Impact Founder & Managing Partner, Jenny Abramson, about the firm’s successful second round of funding, and diversifying the venture capital space. (watch the interview!)

Rethink Impact, a venture capital firm that invests exclusively in tech start-ups founded by women, plans to announce today that it has raised $182 million for its second fund, surpassing expectations.

Founded in 2016 by Jenny Abramson and Heidi Patel, Rethink has invested in an array of start-ups, including Guild Education, which partners with companies to offer workers employer-sponsored education programs, and Ellevest, a women-focused financial information start-up co-founded by Sallie Krawcheck, a former Citigroup C.F.O. It mostly invests in Series A and B funding rounds, alongside other venture firms.

The new fund will invest in female entrepreneurs at a crucial time, Ms. Abramson said: Venture investments in start-ups founded by women accounted for just 4.3 percent of all deals in the first quarter, down from 7 percent a year ago, according to Pitchbook.

• “Female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color and others are finding it harder than ever to get a meeting with a V.C.,” Ms. Abramson told Michael.

• The firm had originally sought to raise $150 million for the new fund, she added. Rethink Impact’s first fund raised $112 million in 2017.

Backers of the fund include Pivotal Ventures, the investment fund started by Melinda Gates; the Ford Foundation; and UBS. “If we want to expand women’s power and influence in tech, one of the best actions we can take is invest in female entrepreneurs, which is why organizations like Rethink Impact are so critical,” Ms. Gates said in a statement. (read more)

July 31, 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed funding in the D.C. region, it’s not all doom and gloom for local startups. Some are still grabbing cash to grow their businesses.

In this monthly roundup, we tracked five of the top D.C.-area funding rounds from July, totaling more than $40 million in venture funding.

And, on top of that, D.C.-based Rethink Impact closed a $182 million fund to back women entrepreneurs and other diverse founders. (read more)

July 24, 2020

A growing body of investors, startups and supporters are looking to stem the funding divide for women and people of color. (read more)

Venture investment into women-led companies made up only 2.8% of all investments in 2019, and since the start of 2020, overall deal activity for women-founded startups has actually fallen. Despite the grim statistics, Covid-19 can present the opportunity to grow gender lens venture investing. In July 2020, Rethink Impact closed on their second fund investing in female-led technology companies, at a record amount of $182 million. (read more)

July 13, 2020

Jenny Abramson and Heidi Patel launched Rethink Impact in 2016 to invest in female entrepreneurs tackling tough problems. Interest from female investors, who make up 65% of the investors in their latest fund, helped make it the largest U.S. gender lens fund.

Backers in Fund II include Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, UBS, and university endowments, as well as many high net worth women. (read more)

July 10, 2020

Rethink Impact, one of the largest impact venture firm dedicated to backing female tech entrepreneurs, has hit a $182m final close for its sophomore fundraise.

The raise brings the firm’s assets under management to almost $300m, adding to the $110m it gathered for the final close of its debut fund in 2017. (read more)

July 9, 2020

Venture firm Rethink Impact said Thursday it closed on its $182 million Fund II, which brings its total assets under management to $300 million.

The 4-year-old firm, based in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco, was founded by Jenny Abramson and is dedicated to investing in female tech entrepreneurs who are tackling global challenges. Since then, it has backed more than 25 companies, the firm said in a written statement. (read more)

July 9, 2020

D.C.-based Rethink Impact, the engine behind a local consortium investing in female-led startups, said Thursday it has closed a new $182 million fund — bringing its total assets under management to $300 million. (read more)

December 6, 2017
By: Ashlea Ebeling

“[Jenny] Abramson, 40, is founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, which in March closed on a…fund investing in women-led, tech-driven startups with social impact.”

“We’re trying to build a new breed of VC firm,” says [Heidi] Patel, a 42-year-old Stanford M.B.A. who has spent most of her career in impact investing. “Our industry has been in the headlines for all the wrong things lately. We have the opportunity to level the playing field in a way no one else is really doing now.”

July 9, 2020

Not every business can afford to offer employees a retirement savings plan. Icon Savings Plan, now armed with a $3.2 million seed round, is poised to close that gap.

The San Francisco-based portable retirement savings plan company aims to simplify retirement benefits for employers by offering a no-cost alternative to 401(k) plans.

The seed round was led by Tom Blaisdell, with participation from Rethink Impact, TASC Ventures, Kelly Innovation Fund, Portland Seed Fund and Alumni Ventures Group. (read more)

BOSTON, MA – June 11, 2020 – CareAcademy, the leading home care & home health workforce empowerment platform, upskilling and preparing workers for the growing eldercare market and home care model, today announced it has closed $9.5 million in financing led by Impact America Fund (IAF). The new capital will be used to continue expanding the platform and help one million Americans reskill for healthcare work, particularly in light of COVID-19 and the growing aging population that seeks to age in place. IAF is joined by Rethink Impact, ReThink Education, Revolution Rise of the Rest, Wanxiang America Healthcare Investments, Techstars Ventures, Strada and ECMC Group. As part of the Series A round, IAF founder and general partner Kesha Cash and Dr. Ivor Horn, former chief medical officer of Accolade Health, join CareAcademy’s Board of Directors. (read more)

May 7, 2020

As workday interruptions go, it was a cute one. Midway through a video call with our foundation’s covid-19 response team, a naked toddler appeared in the corner of the screen.

Comic relief is in short supply these days, and we all welcomed the laugh. Later, it occurred to me that the moment had a certain symbolic significance. It is — and should be — impossible to have a meaningful conversation about recovering from this pandemic without addressing an aspect of Americans’ lives that is too often invisible: caregiving. (read more)

May 3, 2020

The coronavirus shutdowns are giving scientists an opportunity they never thought they would have: to see what would happen to the planet if the world’s economy went on hiatus.

The result has been drops in air pollutants to levels not seen in at least 70 years, easier breathing for people with respiratory ailments and consistently clear views of landmarks often obscured by smog, such as the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles and the Manhattan skyline. (read more)

March 27, 2020

No list of influential women in U.S. finance would be complete without the brash, candid Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women, and chair of the Ellevate global professional women’s network.

Women have special financial challenges, says Krawcheck, 55. They live longer, so they require different financial plans. At the same time, there exists a “gender wealth gap” created by decades of lower pay and lack of opportunity. That financial anxiety creates a market: “The industry has repeatedly underserved people who aren’t its core target market, which tends to be white, male and middle-aged to older,” she says. “It hasn’t paid attention to great business opportunities or helped to close the wealth gap.” (read more)

February 17, 2020

Consulting and tech company Capgemini has acquired social impact agency Purpose.

Financial details were not disclosed. Capgemini hopes to use Purpose’s expert campaigners, creatives, strategists and technologists to transform its business models and engage their stakeholders in meaningful contributions. (read more)

December 2, 2019

Too many Americans, even those with health insurance, are struggling to afford the care they need.

If you look at the back of a standard-issue health benefits card from an insurance company, you will see something that speaks volumes about the problem: printed copay information that informs the member what he or she will pay out-of-pocket for trips to the ER, doctor’s appointments, clinic visits and prescription drugs. (read more)

January 27, 2020

When Dr. Adam Chekroud and I founded Spring Health in 2016, we shared the same dream: a world with no barriers to mental health. We asked, what if everyone — no matter where they are in their mental health journey — could get frictionless access to the right care, at the right time?

We were fed up with the status quo and brokenhearted by the struggles of our loved ones — those who struggled in silence for months because they didn’t know where to start; those who dialed a dozen providers just to find one available slot; those who mustered up the hope, drug after drug after drug, provider after provider, to try yet another option — again, and again, and again. (read more)

December 19, 2019

Class Act: This 31-Year-Old’s Company Rocketed To A $1 Billion Valuation Helping Workers Get Degrees

It’s 9 a.m. two days before Thanksgiving, and Walmart executives are dragging their suitcases around a windowless Arkansas office building in search of a large conference room. They settle on an interior lunchroom with dull gray carpet, claiming one side of a long table in the corner and gesturing for their guests to sit opposite them. Ellie Bertani, Walmart’s director of workforce strategy, says she’s struggling to find qualified people to staff the company’s expanding network of 5,000 pharmacies and 3,400 vision centers. Her fellow Walmart execs are silent, but Rachel Romer Carlson, 31, cofounder and CEO of Guild Education, sees her opening. Without hesitation she says her team can work with Walmart and find a solution fast. “You guys and us,” she says, “let’s do it!” (read more)

November 13, 2019

The education technology industry has given birth to its newest unicorn, one that wants to connect employees at Fortune 1000 corporations to educational programs and further their careers—all while helping higher-ed institutions stay in business.

Guild Education has raised $157 million in a Series D round led by General Catalyst, and joined by Emerson Collective, Iconiq Capital and Lead Edge. A flock of previous investors also contributed, including Workday Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Next Play Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Felicis Ventures, Bessemer Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Harrison Metal. (read more)

November 12, 2019

‘This Is the Moment,’ VC Money for Female-Founded Companies More Than Doubles.

Venture capital investments in female-founded companies more than doubled in value from 2017 to 2018, according to a study by PitchBook and All Raise, a non-profit organization accelerating the success of female founders and funders.

The study, supported by divisions of Goldman Sachs and Microsoft, found that VC investment in startups with at least one female founder more than doubled to $46 billion in 2018 from $21.9 billion in 2017. (read more)

October 1, 2019

Gone are the days when women are expected to kiss their careers goodbye to stay at home and raise the kids. In the US, dual-income households have grown from 48% in 2015 to 63% in 2018 and more women are participating in the workforce than ever before. Although the US child care market has grown 4% per year since 2014 and has become a $57B market, the supply can’t keep up with the demand spurred by the shift in workforce trends. The changing workforce coupled with the growing awareness of the benefits of early learning have severely limited parents’ options to find quality education and care for their young children. (read more)

BBVA Express Healthcare Loan Program for IVF, which is expected to enable more individuals and couples to receive IVF treatment when needed, is available to patients at participating Univfy-affiliated IVF Centers. The new finance program offers fixed-interest rates, flexible loan terms, no application fees, and direct fund disbursement to the participating IVF center as quickly as 24 hours after the loan is closed. (read more)

October is National Women’s Small Business Month. Jenny Abramson, CEO of Rethink Impact shares how data is pushing leaders and investors to consider the market opportunity of women in leadership.

As Founder & Managing Partner of the largest venture capital firm in the country dedicated to investing in female leaders using tech to tackle our greatest challenges (Forbes), we spend a lot of time thinking about the current state of female-led companies. When I was a tech CEO, I saw firsthand how few of my female peers were represented (in funding rounds, on given panels, etc.), so I decided to look into the data. (read more)

September 26, 2019

FutureFuel.io is combating the student debt crisis. CEO Laurel Taylor joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman, Kristin Myers, and Wall Street Journal Wealth Reporter Veronica Dagher, to discuss. (watch here)

September 25, 2019

To have a thriving economy that works for everyone — not just the privileged few — the student debt crisis has to be solved. About 43 million adult Americans — roughly one-sixth of that population — carry a federal student loan, according to The MeasureOne Private Student Loan Report. They owe $1.5 trillion in federal student loan debt, plus an estimated $119 billion in student loans from private sources that are not backed by the government.

Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category, behind only mortgage debt. Nearly two-thirds of 2018 college graduates have student debt, according to The Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit working to improve higher education access and affordability. Their loans average $29,200 in size. (read more)

August 26, 2019

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the 1920 adoption of Amendment XIX, which prohibits the States and the Federal Government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. Just 99 years ago, women finally achieved the right to vote. (read more)

The Secrets to a Successful Pitch, From 9 Top Venture Capitalists.

The Socially Conscious Tech Funder. Jenny Abramson is the founder and managing director of Rethink Impact, a venture fund focused on gender-diverse teams, technology, and social impact. Her portfolio com­panies include Guild, EverFi, and Werk.

Every leader tells us about their own background, but you should also talk about your team. That shows us you’re humble and have respect for the other people involved.

Don’t be overly conservative about how big the business can get. VCs will require a haircut on whatever numbers entrepreneurs give them.

(read more)

The entrepreneurs on Inc.’s second annual Female Founders 100 list have transformed every major industry in America. Meet the boundless dreamers making the biggest difference in 2019. (read more)

September 4, 2019

Successful founders channel tenacity and ambition into the pursuit of a vision that can have outsize impact. Most ventures don’t work, but when fate, timing and business acumen line up, the results can alter industries and transform entrepreneurs into business titans. These are the companies we track in the 3rd annual Top Startups ranking: the ones that are growing massively, scrambling industries, shifting talent flows around the world and, often, altering how we work and live. (read more)

August 9, 2019

When Shivani was nearing her 30th birthday, she realized she wanted to be a mom. She just wasn’t sure when. She didn’t yet have a long-term partner and was aware of her ticking biological clock. So she looked into freezing her eggs to increase her chances of having children later on in life. “No one has their eggs forever, unfortunately,” she says. (read more)

June 26, 2019

Carla Harris talks with Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, a venture capital firm that invests in female leaders who are using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems. (read more)

June 25, 2019

Most employers know that employee attrition is detrimental to their company’s success. But few know how to improve retention and continue to attract top talent. That’s why many of the nation’s largest companies, from Lowe’s to Taco Bell, have turned to Denver-based Guild Education to help them retain employees through offering pathways to high school and college degrees. (read more)

June 21, 2019

Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and co-founder of Winnie, a platform that helps modern parents find local daycare, preschool, and more. Winnie is growing fast with over 2M users in 10K cities across the United States. Prior to Winnie, Sara held product leadership roles at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube and Google. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two young daughters.

Business Today: How did you start Winnie? Where did the idea come from and how did you discover this void in the market for apps that are for parents which improve their lives? (read more)

June 19, 2019

Women dominate healthcare. Not only do they make up half of the world’s population, but 90% of women are the primary healthcare decision makers for their households. Put simply, that’s an estimated 3.73 billion women who need access to the most effective healthcare solutions for themselves and their families. (read more)

June 19, 2019

When Meena Sankaran was a child growing up in Mumbai, India, her family didn’t have consistent access to water in their home, and what they did have wasn’t always safe to drink. She was often sick—with typhoid, malaria, jaundice, mumps, and pneumonia, all before she was 17. If these illnesses weren’t directly water-related, the lack of clean water didn’t help her recovery. (read more)

June 14, 2019

Remember that moment in “Sex and the City” when Carrie couldn’t afford to buy her apartment because she had bought too many shoes? Worse, she’d miscalculated how much she’d spent on them by $36,000.

Sallie Krawcheck doesn’t think it’s cute — she thinks it’s a trope.

“The primary emotion women feel around money is not power or independence, but shame and loneliness,” she said. “It is actually viewed as an attractive female characteristic to be bad with money.” (read more)

June 11, 2019

As studies show that early diagnosis and preventative therapies can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, startups that are working to diagnose the disease earlier are gaining more attention and funding.

That’s a boon to companies like Neurotrack, which closed on $21 million in new financing led by the company’s previous investor, Khosla Ventures, with participation from new investors Dai-ichi Life and SOMPO Holdings. (read more)

March 19, 2019

There are many reasons why families choose to have children later –- work commitments, economic stability, resources, but the knock-on effect is that more and more couples are turning to IVF to help them achieve their goals. It’s a stressful process, which is exacerbated by the fact that there are so many unknowns; from what medication regimen to choose to the lack of transparency around costs. Even if your insurance covers IVF (which not all do) there are numerous clauses; IVF, but only up to $20,000, IVF, but no medication coverage (which can be $4-$8,000) and so on. Even in Silicon Valley, with startups famous for their great health benefits and fertility coverage, this becomes an issue. “I just hate not knowing what the end price is,” one techie told me. “In any other industry, this would be unacceptable.” (read more)

March 6, 2019

FutureFuel.io’s aims to make student debt benefits a standard offering in employer-sponsored benefits plans. Rethink Impact, a female-led impact investor that backs women-led companies, led the firm’s $11.2 million Series A funding round. Rethink was joined by a host of impact, traditional, and corporate venture funds including Breton Capital, First Data, G9 Ventures, The Impact Engine, Reach Capital, Salesforce Ventures, SixThirty, and Vulcan Capital. (read more)

February 2019

It takes 13,737 to 21,926 gallons of water to produce a car, according to the Grace Communications Foundation. Leather shoes require roughly 3,626 gallons. And about 3,190 gallons are consumed in the course of a single smartphone’s manufacture and assembly. Add to that the 80 to 100 gallons of water the average person drinks, cleans with, and bathes in every day, and it’s not hard to see how each year globally, fresh water usage hovers around 4 trillion cubic meters.

That’s a lot of liquid to keep track of. Ketos, a four-year-old San Francisco startup founded by philanthropist Meena Sankaran, is developing a hybrid hardware-and-SaaS solution to streamline the process, and it’s raising capital to further its cause.

Ketos today announced that it has raised $9 million in series A financing from Broadway Angels and Plum Alley, with contributions from the semiconductor industry, as well as Energy Innovation and existing partners Rethink Impact and Better Ventures. (read more)

January 31, 2019

ICYMI: Sallie Krawcheck went on “The Daily Show” and had a chat with Trevor Noah about (not in this order): anatomically correct bulls, the life-changing magic of standing up for women at work, how bias relates to beer … oh, yeah, and investing. And that’s not even where Trevor said she went deep. Click here to watch the video!

January 2019

As partners in a female-led venture capital firm that invests in female leaders using technology to tackle the world’s biggest problems, we have some of the best jobs on Earth. Over the past year, we’ve connected with and learned from more than a thousand female entrepreneurs nationwide. These businesses not only have women in the C-Suite, but also are often on a mission to create positive impact at scale in the areas of health, education, environmental sustainability and economic empowerment.

As we kick off the New Year, we wanted to share 12 predictions for the 12 months of 2019 from some of the most impressive female founders in the country. From what education will look like in 2019, to how regulatory changes will impact climate change and the tech sector, to data privacy and the healthcare landscape, to just some fun thoughts on culture (yes, we all want to know what will replace avocado toast in 2019!), we received some great insights from women across our network. If you have a prediction to add, tweet us @rethinkimpact with the hashtag #2019femalefounderpredictions. (read more)

November 16, 2018

The nonprofit fundraising platform Classy recently announced it had reached $1 billion in funding raised for its clients and their causes. Scot Chisholm, co-founder and CEO, visited with me to share some of his insights about reaching this “BHAG, big, hairy, audacious goal” set when the company was founded. (read more)

September 12, 2018

Four years ago, a few Google Street View cars in Denver took part in an experiment: As the cars made their usual rounds capturing photos block by block, they also used sensors from a company called Aclima to take hyperlocal measurements of air pollution. Now, after a long period of research and development and testing in California, the tech is scaling up to 50 Street View cars in cities including Houston, Mexico City, and Sydney. (read more)

June 2018

“In an age of political turmoil, corporate America can no longer be silent”

…“When you put the cultural awareness of #MeToo and Time’s Up with business data on gender and racial diversity,” Abramson said, “you can see it’s good for the world and good for business. It may have taken going to another extreme to get people here, but its affecting a real change in US business.” (read more)

June 6, 2018

The gender pay gap is well documented: women make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Less well known: the gender investment gap. According to our research, when women business owners pitch their ideas to investors for early-stage capital, they receive significantly less—a disparity that averages more than $1 million—than men. Yet businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backers. (read more)

April 2018

The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship honored MyAgro, which helps developing world farmers save enough to reinvest in their farms–along with companies working on making solar panels cheaper, making reporting sexual assault easier, and more.

… The other five winners of this year’s awards (each of which receives the same $1.25 million) include Angaza, which turns products like solar panels into pay-as-you-go propositions. Customers can thus buy equipment without paying the full amount up front, much like they were paying for phone credit. The San Francisco-based for-profit company embeds hardware, like GSM receivers, into equipment so manufacturers and distributors can track its usage and ensure they get repaid. CEO Lesley Marincola says it now retrofits 40 different products, including solar water heaters and solar lamps, mostly in Africa. In all, about 500,000 end customers have used Angaza hardware, she says. (read more)

April 2018

Once upon a time, power was held in the hands of a small elite. This elite occupied the commanding heights of society and controlled big, top-down organizations. It dropped products and messages from on high, and the rest of us passively consumed them.

Then along came the internet. Suddenly, information was dispersed across self-organizing, open-source networks of citizens who had the ability to collaborate, share and shape their world. Hierarchies were smashed, the wisdom of crowd was applied and transparency reigned. (read more)

March 2018

Memory-Testing Tools Get Cash Infusion. NeuroTrack banks $14 million in Sozo-led deal aimed at early warning of cognitive decline

(read more)

March 2018

A lot has changed since International Women’s Day, 2017 when Rethink Impact became the largest US-based impact venture capital firm with a gender lens.[1] While initially seen as a niche investment strategy, gender lens investing is now entering the limelight in response to the gender inequity in the venture capital space and the business world more broadly. We have been asked by many to share what we’ve learned during this initial phase of our journey. To that end, here’s our top ten list in the spirit of advancement. (read more)

February 6, 2018

About 10 percent of women in the U.S. (6.1 million) have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Although in vitro fertilization (IVF) is widely recognized as the best treatment for infertility, many couples are deterred by the high costs involved (generally between $10,000 to $20,000 per cycle). Univfy, which uses machine learning to better predict IVF success rates, announced today that it has raised $6 million to democratize access to IVF. Rethink Impact led the round.

“Anyone who has attempted to navigate the IVF process knows just how harrowing it is — physically, financially, and emotionally,” said Univfy cofounder and CEO Dr. Mylene Yao, in a statement. “After years of seeing couples struggle with IVF, I was curious as to why some IVF patients had more success than others.” (read more)

January 16, 2018

A group of Georgetown University entrepreneurs will present their startups to a panel of high-profile judges Tuesday, in a competition following the popular “Shark Tank” model: a fight for funding.

But it’s about more than money. The “Bark Tank” contest, playfully named as a nod to university mascot Jack the Bulldog and the ABC reality show, is part of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, which oversees programs to facilitate entrepreneurship for its students. The competition’s participants will try to get a piece of the 2018 Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize — an annual cash pool of $100,000 — that Ted Leonsis started in 2016 with a $1 million gift to seed promising business ideas. And, the students will set out to win over six Greater Washington business community leaders, many of whom have ties to the university.

That panel includes Leonsis, former AOL executive, founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and co-founder of Revolution Growth; serial investor and entrepreneur Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles and, now, Washington City PaperJenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact; Michelle Freeman, owner and CEO ofCarl M. Freeman Cos.; and Zach Leonsis, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for MSE and general manager of Monumental Sports Network. Ann Yangco-founder of Misfit Juicery and past recipient of the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize, will emcee the event. (read more)

October 2017

For all the effort employers are pouring into advancing women in the workplace, why are they making so little headway?

One big obstacle: Men and women are at odds over whether there even is a problem to begin with.

In the same offices and on the same teams, women largely view gender equality as a work still in early progress, while many male colleagues see a mission accomplished. Significantly more men than women say their companies are level playing fields and have plenty of women leaders, even in places where less than 1 in 10 top executives are women. And they are much more likely to say gender diversity isn’t a priority for them, often because they think merit would suffer. (read more)

September 2017

Ellevest, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based digital investment platform built for women and led by former Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck, has raised $34.6 million in fresh funding.

The round — which was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels — brings the company’s total funding to $44.6 million.

It’s technically a Series A round, according to the company, which says a widely reported $10 million round that closed last year was seed capital.

Ellevest has plenty of competition from other, earlier digital wealth management platforms, including Betterment and Wealthfront, but it caters to women and thinks it can win marketshare by attracting female clients. Indeed, its tagline,”Invest like a woman,” is a nod to the often different financial reality for women, who tend to live longer then men, as well as have different salary arcs. (read more)

September 2017

Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest co-founder & CEO, discusses her company, which specializes in investing for women. (watch here)

August 2017

Browsing the job board at Werk, a startup that promotes flexible work, can feel like visiting a utopian future. Looking for a job with minimal travel, because you have young kids at home? No problem, there are dozens listed here. Or perhaps you’d like to work from a remote location, at least one day per week? Companies including Deloitte and HBO would be happy to make that possible. In one fell swoop, the awkward questions that might derail a conversation with a prospective boss have been transformed into an opportunity to better balance career and family.

“It’s time for us to demand a work environment that is not designed for our failure but for our success,” says Anna Auerbach, who cofounded and co-leads the company alongside Annie Dean. The two women, both mothers, were in fast-track careers when a mutual friend introduced them. Now they are on a mission to turn the vague concept of “flexibility” into a clear set of expectations that employers can set in the hopes of recruiting and retaining top talent. (read more)

June 2017

DigiTx Leads Series A Round with Participation from Rethink Impact as Savonix Drives Innovation in Healthcare Industry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 6, 2017) – Savonix, the company that has revolutionized access to cognitive data, today announced a $5.1 million Series A funding round, led by DigiTx Partners with participation from Rethink Impact, bringing the company’s total financing to $6.6 million. Savonix’s Series A funding round demonstrates the market’s appetite for a digital technology-driven approach to cognitive testing. Savonix will use the funds to scale its business to global markets including Japan and China, develop additional partnerships with leading medical organizations and invest in a world-class data science and product team.

Dr. David Kim, CEO at DigiTx Partners, and Heidi Patel, Partner at Rethink Impact, will join the Savonix Board of Directors, which currently includes serial entrepreneur Penny Herscher, Bandel Carano of Oak Investment Partners and Savonix founder and CEO Dr. Mylea Charvat. (read more)

April 2017

When Tom Davidson served as a state legislator for a small district in southern Maine two decades ago, he became intimately familiar with the byzantine, bureaucratic, and often, frankly, subpar sausage-making that goes into bankrolling education at a local level. (“There was never a shortage of good ideas, but almost always a shortage of money,” he says.)

So Davidson took his learnings to the private sector and founded EverFi, an education software startup, in 2008. As CEO, Davidson has been rallying some of the biggest names in business behind his cause. Indeed, on Wednesday, EverFi will announce that it has raised $190 million in new funding from a host of magnates to help bring schooling into the digital age. The company last raised $40 million a year ago, news Fortune covered first. (read more)

March 9, 2017

Rethink Impact has raised $110 million for women-led social startups.

Rethink Impact was launched by former tech CEO Jenny Abramson with Seavest Investment Group in 2015 and is co-led by Heidi Patel, former president of New Island Capital. (read more)

Rethink Impact fund invests in female-led companies creating transformational social and environmental change

 

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UBS Wealth Management Americas partnered with Rethink Impact, a venture capital fund, to contribute to raising $110+million, more than half of which came from UBS clients, including high net worth individuals, family offices, private foundations, and universities, for the closing of Rethink Impact. Rethink Impact is an impact investing venture capital fund investing in gender diverse, tech-enabled companies working to solve the world’s biggest challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Rethink Impact, invests in social impact companies with a gender lens. The fund is particularly focused on the health, education, environmental sustainability and economic empowerment sectors and includes companies that merge strong businesses with a social mission. Rethink Impact investors span the majority of the states across the country, are balanced in terms of gender and are a mix of individuals, foundations, universities and beyond. (read more)

December 1, 2016

A Redwood City, Calif. startup called Neurotrack Technologies Inc. has created a brain health app that is helping scientists unravel the mysteries of memory, and work to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Its simple browser-based app screens users for signs of cognitive decline based on their eye movement as they watch a few images presented on their screens. These tests used to take about 30 minutes, and were available only at the doctor’s office using hugely expensive equipment.

Neurotrack has been able to shrink their scans down to a 5-minute, home-based process thanks to technological advances around eye tracking technology, data analytics, machine learning and computer vision, according to the company’s CEO and cofounder Elli Kaplan. (read more)

July 2016

EverFi, a D.C.-based edtech company, announced a $40 million Series C round of venture funding, Wednesday.

The round was led by Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, Alphabet (formerly Google) CEO Eric Schmidt and other investors including New Enterprise Associates. Three new investors, Advance Publications, Rethink Impact and Silicon Valley Bank, were also announced as part of the funding round. Advance Publications is the parent company of American City Business Journals, which owns DC Inno. (read more)

July 2016

Jenny Abramson was interviewed by Fortune’s Nina Easton in the popular Smart Women, Smart Power podcast and speaker series (which features Melinda Gates, Samantha Powers, and others). Access the free podcast here.

March 2016

Rethink Impact’s Founder & Managing Partner, Jenny Abramson’s panel on “Building an Inclusive and Modernized Workforce-Key Issues in Women’s Labor Force Participation” at the United Nations for International Women’s Day begins at 3:15:00, click here for the link.

March 2016

“Meet the Social Impact Firm that Wants to Change the World.”

Unlike other businesses, social startups are focused on creating a long-lasting social or environmental impact while working in traditional business markets – a feat many quickly realize requires a new investment model. In fact, social impact investors committed $8 billion in 2012, $10.6 billion in 2013, and an estimated $12.7 billion in 2014 to social businesses, according to a report by the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, an international organization established by the G8.

Enter Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner at Rethink Impact, a venture capital fund that invests in social enterprises. Her company partners with businesses that use new technologies to make the world a better place, empower people and find untapped market opportunities. (read more)

September 14, 2014

At the time, the ad campaign — modeled on efforts to curb drunk driving — was considered shocking. It was 1994, the year that OJ Simpson would be arrested for murder, his history of domestic abuse exposed. Yet even so, domestic violence was not a crime that anybody seemed willing to talk about back then. It was, as then Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala put it, “our dirty little secret” — something that happened, and stayed, behind closed doors. (read more)

January 24, 2014

Rachael Chong, founder and CEO of Catchafire, explained how she left the world of investment banking — a job she said she actually enjoyed — to become an entrepreneur.

“While I was banking I still wanted to be able to give back and at the time the only opportunity was, once a year we’d get put on a bus and go build a house,” Chong told HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday. “All volunteer work is good, but when you think about maximizing impact, bankers building houses is not necessarily the best use of their time.” (read more)

August 13, 2014

Shopping for presents, finding a great restaurant, binge-watching TV shows — in many ways, the Internet has made life simpler with just a few clicks. Fortunately, advocating for good is a little less complicated now, too, and Change.org is in part to thank.

Since 2007, the free online petition tool has helped transform the world of viral activism. Enabling its more than 75 million global users to mobilize roughly 900,000 petitions advocating for progress, Change.org has been used time and time again to make this planet a better place to live. (read more)

April 10, 2015

Purpose and two of its partners were recognized this week in the 19th Annual Webby Awards.  The video, “Scenes from Everytown: 4:08pm,“ created by Purpose in partnership with Everytown, was honored along with #WalktheWalk, created in conjunction with Here Now (a Purpose incubation).  Both were selected as Official Honorees, a distinction only given to the top 20% of entries.  #WalkTheWalk was recognized under Activism, in the Website category, and “Scenes from Everytown: 4:08 pm” was under Public Service and Activism, in the Online Film and Video category. (read more)

October 4, 2015

Rachael Chong is a modern-day matchmaker, but her clients aren’t looking for love.

Her company, Catchafire, is an online platform for nonprofits and social enterprises to find skilled professionals willing to volunteer their services, from photographers to technologists to accountants. Think of it as a cross between OkCupid and the classifieds.

“A matchmaking service between talent and purpose,” as Chong says. (read more)

July 1, 2015

Classy, a four-year-old San Diego startup that provides online fund-raising services for Teach for America, Oxfam, and other nonprofit organizations, has raised $18 million in a growth-funding round led by Mithril Capital Management, according to a statement from the company. Mithril is the San Francisco investment firm founded in 2012 by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan.

Salesforce Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Venture51, Galileo Partners, and Rethink Impact joined the round. (read more)

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November 2019

All Raise started as a call to action. Today, it’s a community, a movement and a rallying cry centered on the belief that our personal ambitions can and will include the prosperity of all women. We are grounded in reality and measurable outcomes. By harnessing data, we identify the challenges we face and keep ourselves and the venture capital industry focused on meaningful change. Our partnership with PitchBook on this report both confirms prior All Raise analysis on the state of women in startups and adds new insights about where the market can go from here. We are excited to be a data and thought partner on this critical work depicting female founders, female leaders and the overall venture ecosystem. (read more)

December 4, 2018

A decade of research shows that public companies show better financial results when they have a significant number of women in leadership positions and on the board. Now a first-of-its-kind study shows that women give privately-held companies a financial boost as well.

Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in senior management had an average return on sales of 18.1 percent, according to the study, published on Tuesday by Calvert Impact Capital, a non-profit founded in 1988 to invest in companies with environmental, social, and governance goals. Those in the bottom quartile had a -1.9 percent return on sales — a 20 percentage point gap. (read more)

October 2018

For the last four years, companies have reported that they are highly committed to gender diversity. But that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress.

Women continue to be vastly underrepresented at every level. For women of color, it’s even worse. Only about one in five senior leaders is a woman, and one in twenty-five is a woman of color.

Progress isn’t just slow—it’s stalled. And we know why. (read more)

September 2017

Only 8% of venture capital (VC) firms in the U.S. have female partners, and that lopsided gender composition may be hurting venture capital performance portfolios. The evidence suggests that having no female partners makes VC firms less likely to invest in female-founded or female-led firms. But what much of the VC world might not realize, is that female-led firms may have a higher rate of return on average than male-led firms.

First Round Capital, for example, touts its success at funding more women entrepreneurs than the national average. According to First Round Capital’s review of their own holdings, female founders’ companies out-performed their male peers’ by 63% in terms of creating value for investors. A study conducted by the Small Business Association determined that venture firms that invested in women-led businesses had more positive performances than firms that did not. (read more)

September 2017

The world’s richest families are increasingly investing their money in good causes, giving a boost to the growing, if still challenged, impact investing space. More than a quarter (28%) of ultra-net-worth “family offices” are now putting money into social and environmental areas. And, as younger generations take the reins, that percentage is likely to rise significantly in the years ahead.

Campden Wealth, a specialist U.K. research group, and UBS, the Swiss investment bank, surveyed 262 family offices with average assets of $921 million. Two-fifths (40.4%) expect to increase their allocations toward areas like education, environmental and resource efficiency, conservation, agriculture and food, and healthcare and wellness in the next decade or so. (read more)

June 2017

To put it in Beyoncé terms, girls still run the world of impact investment. But the boys are catching on, according to a new survey of high-net-worth investors

Over the last two years, the number of wealthy Americans who would like to invest for social or environmental impact, or have already done so, has increased across the board, regardless of age, gender or amount of assets, according to the 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth survey, released Tuesday. Overall, 45 percent of the survey’s respondents now say they’re either interested in or already allocating assets to impact investing, up from 32 percent in 2015. (read more)

May 19, 2017

Male and female entrepreneurs are not treated equally by venture capitalists, according to researchers who were invited to silently observe and transcribe hours of startup company pitches and subsequent investor conversations.

The study: Three researchers from Luleå University watched and transcribed a group of seven Swedish governmental venture capitalists, as they met with 125 startup founders. Their goal was to better understand VC decision-making, while the investors hoped that the findings could help them improve their own process. But the results were different than either side expected. (read more)

March 13, 2017

It’s a well-documented fact that female founders receive less venture capital funding than their male counterparts. What is perhaps more surprising is that things haven’t improved—and have actually worsened—over the past year.

Venture capitalists invested $58.2 billion in companies with all-male founders in 2016. Meanwhile, women received just $1.46 billion in VC money last year, according to data from M&A, private equity, and venture capital database PitchBook. That massive disparity is due both to the differences in the number of deals and the average deal size by gender.

Number of deals

First, consider the volume of deals. In 2016, 5,839 male-founded companies got VC funding, compared to just 359 female-founded companies. In other words, companies run by men got more than 16 times more funding than companies run by women. (Companies with both male and female founders fared slightly better than those founded exclusively by women with 1,067 receiving funding.)

There was some positive news last year: Women-led companies made up 4.94% of all VC deals in 2016—the highest percentage in the past decade. It’s a paltry number, but a noticeable improvement from 10 years ago, when female founders were involved in just 2.95% of deals. (read more)

September 27, 2016

Companies run differently when more women hold power.

In the management suites of Adobe Systems Inc., Best Buy Co., Target Corp., Gap Inc. and Kimberly-Clark Corp., women occupy as many as five of eight spots on the male chief executive’s leadership team. These female executives often serve as role models for other women in the company. They push for better diversity practices and help men overcome hidden biases.

They also are reshaping attitudes about how women’s careers progress, and championing nontraditional ways to get ahead.

Change is coming slowly, but corner offices are looking a bit less like exclusive boys’ clubs lately. At S&P 500 companies with men in command, 11.9% of the four other highest-paid officers are women, up about four percentage points from a decade earlier, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by researchers Equilar Inc. Overall, 19% of C-suite executives are female—a slight increase from 17% in 2015, according to an analysis by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org. (read more)

July 12, 2016

‘You can’t be what you don’t see.’

There’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to including more women in venture capital, summed up by a collective chorus at a panel of Silicon Valley and Boston venture capitalists at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen on Tuesday.

“Everyone has a role to play, including the press, existing VC firms, and entrepreneurs,” said Megan Quinn, a growth investor at Spark Capital, who was previously a partner at Kleiner Perkins. “I don’t buy the argument that there aren’t enough qualified women to be in venture capital,” she added.

The lack of women who invest in startups in Silicon Valley is an issue that has come to light over the past few years. Fewer than 6% of all decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women, according to data compiled by Fortune, showcasing the glaring gender inequality issues in the investment industry and Silicon Valley as a whole. (read more)

June 16, 2016

The finance industry presents a bewildering array of options for anyone looking to increase their savings, from “60-40” portfolios to newfangled concepts like “smart beta”, but rare is the investment strategy that has been blessed by the Pope.

When the Vatican assembles investors, entrepreneurs and academics for its second Impact Investing Conference later this month, it will do so as the mainstream wealth management industry has started to catch on to the term. Impact investments are made with the aim of generating not just a financial return but also a measurable social or environmental one. It is an alluring — if often elusive — proposition: doing good while also making money.

Pope Francis has made it a theme of his papacy that capital markets should be redirected to help the poor, and the conference will explore how the Catholic Church might channel some of its riches to impact investing. Wealth managers are perhaps more concerned with mammon than with God: they have watched as some very rich clients pulled their money from firms who cannot offer impact investing advice. (read more)

April 1, 2016
Fewer than 6% of all decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women, according to data compiled by Fortune. It is a pathetic figure, but also a slight improvement over the last time we examined the data.Our analysis began by using PitchBook to compile a list of all U.S.-based venture capital firms that had raised at least one fund of $100 million or more since the beginning of 2011. That worked out to 282 firms that had raised over $130 billion.

We then researched each firm go determine how many investment decision-makers were women. This proved a bit tricky since not all firms use the same terminology, so we generally looked for the most senior “layer” of investment professionals. Sometimes that was “general partners,” sometimes “managing directors,” etc. We excluded anyone who serves primarily in CFO or other administrative positions, unless they also represent the firm on portfolio company boards. Finally, we only used current staffing, as opposed to who may have been with the firm at the time funds were raised. In short, science buttressed by a bit of art. (read more)

March 22, 2016

Technology companies have disrupted other industries with apps that dispatch cars, housekeepers or pizzas in a matter of minutes. But tech firms lag behind those old-line businesses when it comes to advancing women. (read more)

March 18, 2016

A daily barrage of humiliating remarks.

Anita Brearton and Sheryl Schultz have advice for other post-50 female entrepreneurs: Don’t give up, no matter how many ridiculous, insulting things are said to you by the mostly male venture capitalists you will inevitably encounter.

The two businesswomen, both entrepreneurs and both in their late 50s, should know. For the past year, as they looked for investors for their latest venture, Brearton and Schultz heard all kinds of unhelpful suggestions, including:

  • “You should tell the investors in the room to close their eyes, send in some hot babes and let them start talking for you.’”
  • “Start-ups are really, really hard. You gals are really smart. Why don’t you just take CMO roles?”
  • And then there was, “Don’t even bother trying to raise money, you’re too old.” (read more)

February 3, 2016

For years, women have had to adapt to the male way of doing things, even when starting our businesses. But things are changing! The number of women growing their businesses beyond $1 million has reached a tipping point. An impressive 24% of all businesses have more than 50% ownership by women, according to a report by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

I just finished reading Being Equal Doesn’t Mean Being the Same: Why Behaving Like a Girl Can Change Your Life and Grow Your Business by Joanna Krotz. It’s an exciting time for women who recognize that trying to climb corporate ladders is limiting and too rigid. Instead, they are striking out on their own. These women are rewriting the rules for business, families and society.

Krotz shows how using our unique strengths women are blending purpose and profit to the betterment of all. (read more)

January 22, 2016

Here are the lucky few who raised the most.

Startup funding, once flowing through Silicon Valley like Red Bull through a coder, may be starting to dry up. While that’s bad news for any young company chasing a fresh infusion of cash, it appears to be having an especially pronounced effect on one particular group of founders: women.

A new report from Female Founders Fund (F Cubed), a seed investment firm that specializes in companies run by women, finds that Silicon Valley’s women-led startups lost ground last year. Just 16 female-founded Bay Area startups raised a Series A in 2014, compared to 23 in 2014. And while the overall number of Series A raises in the San Francisco area dropped by 11% last year, companies with female CEOs were disproportionately affected, falling a whopping 30%. (read more)

September 2015

Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. While all types of inequality have economic consequences, in our new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth, we focus on the economic implications of lack of parity between men and women.

A “best in region” scenario in which all countries match the rate of improvement of the fastest-improving country in their region could add as much as $12 trillion, or 11 percent, in annual 2025 GDP. In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025. MGI’s full-potential estimate is about double the average estimate of other recent studies, reflecting the fact that MGI has taken a more comprehensive view of gender inequality in work. (read more)

October 2, 2015

It’s no longer acceptable for a website to not render well on mobile. In the next decade, it won’t be enough for a company to merely be profitable — customers, employees and investors will all demand that a company produce positive impact, as well.

This might seem unlikely, but so did businesses moving to the cloud as quickly as they did, or web traffic moving to mobile with such haste. The early data looks quite similar to these past two revolutions, as the number of benefit corporations (companies that can legally maximize for positive impact on society in addition to profits) is showing hockey-stick growth. (read more)

October 30, 2015

THE rock star Jon Bon Jovi was in London three years ago this week when Hurricane Sandy wiped out the New Jersey beach towns that played a big part in his childhood memories. He flew home to New York to be with his family and then headed south to his home state to see the devastation firsthand.

Mr. Bon Jovi used his celebrity to bring in relief money. He said he persuaded Gov. Chris Christie to put his hometown Sayreville, which was hit hard by the storm but is not on the coast, on the list of towns receiving federal money to buy home sites that couldn’t be built on again. He donated $1 million of his own money to Sandy relief and was one of the headline acts at a concert that raised $50 million more to help the affected areas. (read more)

October 9, 2015

One of the biggest debates in impact investing is whether investors must sacrifice financial return to achieve their desired social or environmental impact. Researchers at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative found that wasn’t the case when they analyzed the financial performance of 53 private-equity funds that focus on impact investments. The funds made 557 individual investments in social-purpose companies.

The researchers chose funds that seek market-rate returns, on the assumption that the tension between financial performance and social mission would be most pronounced for them. But when the researchers compared the impact-investing funds’ performance to the Russell 2000 and other public market indices, they saw that the funds had achieved comparable financial results without the companies they invested in abandoning their social or environmental missions. (read more)

August 14, 2015

ELLEN REMMER had wanted to align her investments with her values for years, seeking to put her money into stocks and bonds that would have an impact beyond the returns. For her, this meant investing in organizations that either improved the lot of women and girls or helped the environment.

Doing so took longer than she expected. Even though it was her money, it was held in trust. She said it wasn’t easy to persuade the trusts’ advisers to change their investment policies.

“I kept bringing it up, but I really got just no good response,” said Ms. Remmer, a managing partner of the Philanthropic Initiative, a philanthropy advisory service. “They were doing the classic, ‘We invest for the highest financial return.’ They subscribed to what I think of as a myth, that you’re going to have a lower return if you do impact investing.” (read more)

October 6, 2015

Chamath Palihapitiya, the opinionated venture capitalist who once got into a public spat with Ron Conway over income inequality and challenged founders to have the “courage to move to Oakland” a few weeks ago, has catalogued detailed racial and gender diversity data on venture firms throughout Silicon Valley in a report with the subscription technology news site, The Information.

Palihapitiya‘s firm Social + Capital and The Information pulled data on 71 firms representing more than $160 billion in assets under management and broke out the racial and gender mix of the investment leadership. This distinction is key because many firms have women or minorities, but they might be in non-investing roles like marketing or HR. Women, for example, make up 60 percent of non-investing roles at venture firms in the survey, but only 8 percent of the senior investment team. (read more)