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Female Founders Fund is an early-stage fund investing in the next generation of transformational technology companies founded by women. Started by serial entrepreneur Anu Duggal in 2014, FFF’s thesis is that women are building the category-defining companies of tomorrow using their unique insight as consumers. The Fund has been a market leader in identifying the opportunity around investing in women as a thesis.
Female Founders Fund’s value proposition has always been larger than just a pool of capital. Over the past seven years, we have developed an unparalleled ecosystem of resources, events and female technology leaders nationwide. We invest early and believe that we can accelerate your entrepreneurial journey through our breadth of resources and unique community of female operators. To date, we have invested in category leaders led by exceptional founder CEO’s -- companies like Zola (e-commerce), Tala (fintech), Maven Clinic (women’s health), Billie (beauty), Co--Star (astrology), amongst others.
We invest first and foremost in people. We are looking to invest in female founders driven by a strong mission to challenge, shape, and redefine their markets. As a team of female investors, we use our unique lens to spot opportunities and identity cultural shifts which drive our investing philosophy. Our investments fall into the following categories:
B2B: Enterprise-focused tech solutions transforming the workplace.
CONSUMER: Community-driven brands that bring a unique point of view to the consumer market.
FINTECH: Consumer-first platforms disrupting the banking sector.
HEALTHCARE: Consumerized care across industries like women’s health, mental wellness, pediatrics, chronic disease, and more.
Our team is NYC-based with deep roots in the female founder ecosystem in the city. While we are #LongNY, we are geographically agnostic with investments in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and San Francisco, and London.
As seed investors, we invest primarily at the seed-stage (both pre-launch and post-launch). That said, we love to build relationships early and get to know founders months before a formal fundraise. We invest in companies that have at least one female founder as part of the founding team and as an institutional fund, we have the flexibility to lead, co-lead or participate in rounds.
Our check sizes range from $500K - $750K.
As an entrepreneurial fund, we understand the pain of fundraising and we want to be as efficient with your time as possible. To that end, we do our best to create a transparent investment process designed to be fast, friendly and focused. On average, from first meeting to closing a round, our timeline is roughly 4-6 weeks.
After a first meeting with one of our team members, we will do an internal review and then arrange for you to come in and meet the rest of the team. We will then go into a diligence process on both the industry as well as the founding team which typically lasts several weeks -- sometimes faster, sometimes shorter. This will also involve spending more time with you/your team to understand how you think and what is motivating you to embark on this entrepreneurial journey. We also spend time on your references and get to know others on your team -- advisors, investors, etc.
Our biggest and most unique value-add is our unparalleled female operator network and ecosystem. By taking our money, you will have access to some of the most well-respected names in female leadership ranging from Mindy Grossman and Melinda Gates, to Whitney Wolfe Herd and Katrina Lake.
In addition to this, our founder-focused programming is widely respected as best-in-class ranging from quarterly press dinners with top-tier journalists, to monthly CEO breakfasts and more. Ultimately as a young fund, we believe your success is our success and we hustle alongside you. Besides always being a text message away, we have built the fastest growing ecosystem of female technology leaders to connect founders with the top product, operating, and branding expertise, resources, talent, customers, and follow-on investors.
You will also be part of a founder group that includes some of the most exciting women tech leaders building transformational companies across industries ranging from digital health to fintech alongside you. The shared learnings across these women will be incredibly helpful in accelerating your path as a female entrepreneur.
Lastly, our goal as your seed investors to help guide you through to the next round of funding. With a proven track record of follow-in investors like Lightspeed, Sequoia, Index, and Maveron, amongst others; we will make warm introductions and help prepare you for the next phase of your growth.
On average we make between 6-8 new investments per year.
Absolutely, especially if they bring in complementary value-add! We’ve co-invested with many of the most well-known seed funds nationwide and make it a point to introduce you to some of our favorite strategic female angel investors for a more diverse cap table.
There are a few key areas that a good pitch deck should cover. Firstly, we want to get to know you and your founding team -- what makes you special and uniquely qualified for solving your particular problem? Secondly, market size and competition are crucial to demonstrate you have done your homework. Thirdly, unit economics need to reflect that you have a strong understanding of the levers that drive your business model. Lastly, what is your long-term vision for this business and how do you plan to get there? If you can cover this in one deck, it will make for a great starting conversation!
As seed investors, we are investing first and foremost in people. We want to understand: what is your superpower? How are you uniquely positioned to win in this category? Do you have the ability to make good decisions in a short period of time? What in your track record demonstrates a pattern of success in taking risk and having good judgement? Most importantly, are you resilient and able to weather the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey? A few other founder characteristics we find important: curiosity, and the way that you respond to feedback. When selling a story, are you able to convince potential employees, investors, advisors and customers to believe in your vision?
We have assembled a world-class group of like-minded investors including both institutions and individuals. A few of our strategic investors include Bumble Fund, Anne Wojcicki, Susan Wojcicki, Melinda Gates, and Katrina Lake. We are also incredibly lucky to also count many of FFF’s founders as investors in our fund.
If your questions have not been addressed in this FAQ, send us a note at one of the below email addresses:
For pitches: firstname.lastname@example.org
For press inquiries: email@example.com
For general inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve curated everything you need: from fundraising and first hires, to board meetings and best practices.
What is venture capital?
Different types of investors: angels vs. VCs vs. family + friends
- Understanding the early investment stages by Hyde Park Angels
- The user guide to early stage fundraising by TechCrunch
- 7 benefits your VC should provide by TechStars
- Crowdfunding your CPG startup by CMYK Ventures
- Selecting your investors by Matt Blumberg
- Bootstrapping vs. raising money by Spencer Fry
- How to Bootstrap by Spencer Fry
What is a seed round? What is Series A?
- A guide to seed fundraising by Y Combinator
- Raising seed and series A. US vs. European seed markets by Piotr Wilam
- Seed fundraising – when to raise money by Ash Rust
- The follow-on or re-seed round by Jeffrey Carter, West Loop Ventures
- How many VCs should you pitch for Series A by Nextview Ventures
- When to raise Series A by Hunter Walker
- The founder’s guide to raising series A financing by Justin Kan, Atrium/Y Combinator
- How funding rounds differ: seed, series A, B, C, D by Elad Gil
Who are the seed funds?
- Early stage investors in NYC – angels, seeds, and VCs by Colin Nederkoorn
- Every NYC venture firm, listed by Tech.Co
- Female angel investors and resource networks by 37 Angels
- List of female angel and early-stage investors in tech by Mackenzie Burnett, Medium
- The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz
- Zero to one: notes on startups, or how to build the future by Peter Thiel
Fundraising & Pitching
- Best practices for raising a VC round by Chris Dixon
- Cap table and exit waterfall template by Foresight
- Fundraising at Scale with Zola, Lola, Andela, and Dia&Co by Female Founders Fund
- How to cold email an investor by Albert Wenger (USV)
- The all-in-one startup funding guide by Chance Barnett
- Fundraising panel at Female Founders Conference 2014 by Y Combinator
- When and how to raise VC by NYU Startup School
- The "too rich to succeed" challenge facing startups by Knowledge@Wharton
- A simple approach to startup pitch decks by Rob Go
- How to give a killer presentation by Harvard Business Review
- Pitch the way VCs think by Vinod Khosla
- The secret ingredient to the best startup fundraising pitches by Tomasz Tunguz, Redpoint
- What do I look for in a pitch by Sara Guo, Greylock
- What should be in my fundraising slides? by Michael Wolfe, co-founder Gladly
- What I wish I knew before pitching LinkedIn to VCs by Reid Hoffman
- How to write a killer deck, and get funded by Y Combinator
- Developing a compelling pitch by SVB Capital
- How to read a term sheet by Hyde Park Angels
- Understanding your term sheet options by Hyde Park Angels
- Term sheet best practices by Albert Wenger, USV
- The term sheet podcast by Brad Feld
- Term sheet purgatory by Startup Lawyer
- The World Positive term sheet by World Positive
- Understanding venture capital term sheets by Foley Hoag LLP
- Negotiating a venture capital term sheet by Hanson & Bridgett et al LLC
Hiring do's and don'ts
- Kevin Ryan's tips for hiring and firing by Female Founders Fund
- A startup’s guide to hiring by Alex MacCraw, co-founder and CEO ClearBit
- Real hiring advice for early stage startup founders by Alex Mittal, FundersClub
- A primer for startups and job seekers to BOTH win the talent war by Tammy Han
Building your first management team
- How to build your first management team by SaaStr
- What your first 100 hires will look like by Jason Lemkin, SaaStr
- What founders need to know about building management teams before it’s too late by First Round Review
- How to hire top talent and scale your startup’s people process by Openview Partners
- Danny Meyer’s Four Secrets for Managing Culture by Female Founders Fund
- Building your team: focus on people, not jobs by TechStars
- How to build and manage teams by Vinod Khosla and Anu Hariharan
- Early stage recruiting by Max Skibinsky, CEO of Vault12 and former a16z
- The art, science, labor of recruiting: interviewing by Vinod Khosla
- What now? Hiring by a16z
- Designing the hiring process by Michael Owens
- How to choose a cofounder by Elad Gil
- Why you can’t find a technical co-founder by Elizabeth Yin, CEO & Co-founder LaunchBit
- Hiring a CMO by a16z
- Hiring a CFO by a16z
- How to hire a product manager by Google Ventures
- What your next head of product looks like by Gibson Biddle, Chegg
- Hiring a product designer (how to review portfolios) by Dropbox
- UX interview – ultimate list of questions by Michal Krzton
- How to consistently hire remarkable data scientists by First Round Review
- Making an executive offer by Greylock
- A blueprint for executive hiring by Jeff Markowitz, Greylock
- Kevin Ryan's tips for hiring and firing by Female Founders Fund
- It’s never too early to fire by a16z
- Firing people by Zach Holman
- Preparing to fire an executive by Ben Horowitz
- When and how to fire an employee at a small startup by Elad Gil
- I've worked with hundreds of recruiters and here's what I learnt by First Round Review
- Asana’s Head of Talent on the secrets to finding a great startup recruiter by First Round Review
- How to hire recruiters by Jared Friedman
- This startup cracked a $2.4 billion market with branding by First Round Review
- Finding your brand's identity by Ana Bianchi
- Neil Blumenthal: 3 lessons learned from building Warby Parker by Neil Blumenthal
- Positioning your startup is vital — here's how to nail it by First Round Review
- The Sequoia guide to pricing by Sequoia Capital
- Pricing, pricing, pricing podcast by Mark Cranney, Martin Casado, and Scott Kupor of Andreesen Horowitz
- How to price and sell your startup's product by Tomasz Tunguz
- Don't leave money on the table with this crash course in pricing by First Round Review
- Making freemium work by Vineet Kumar/HBR
- Is it time to rethink your pricing strategy by Andreas Hinterhuber and Stephan Liozu
- When customers help set prices by Marco Bertini and Oded Koenigsberg
- Pricing free podcast by Mark Cranney, Martin Casado, and Scott Kupor of Andreesen Horowitz
- Your first 100 AdWords conversions by Google Ventures (video)
- Is your sales organization good or great by Harvard Business Review
- 3 models of effective sales team organization by Close IO
- Your product demo sucks because it's focused on your product by First Round Review
- Building a sales and marketing machine by David Skok
- The science of building a scalable sales team by Google Ventures
- The 39 best pieces of sales advice you'll hear this year by Wiley Cirelli
- How fast can your company afford to grow by Harvard Business Review
- The science of building a scalable sales team by Rick Klau
- Looking to scale your sales: seven bullets to dodge by First Round Review
- What do boards actually do? by Mark Suster
- How to choose a board member by Elad Gil
- The best board member by a16z
- A field guide to identifying and integrating independent board members by First Round Review
- How to build your board by Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin
- The board of directors — selecting, electing, and evolving by Fred Wilson
- The value of a board at the seed stage by Satya Patel, Homebrew
- Once you've raised Series A, add an outside director by Hunter Walk
- The perfect board by Fred Wilson
Board interaction and running meetings
- Care.com’s Sheila Lirio Marcelo on Running Successful Board Meetings by Female Founders Fund
- Preparing a board deck by Sequoia Capital
- How to approach your first board meeting after raising seed capital by Nextview Ventures
- Getting feedback from your board by Christopher Janz, Point Nine Capital
- Board feedback by Fred Wilson
- Free templates for great startup board decks, direct from VCs by Nextview Ventures
- How to up your board meeting game as a founder by Nextview Ventures
- YCombinator startup playbook by Sam Altman
- First search curated advice from First Round on all aspects of starting a company
- Startup best practices by Google
- Startup tools by Steve Blank
- Glossier President & CFO Henry Davis on Building a Passionate Community by Female Founders Fund