UBS Raises $110 Million Fund to Invest in Woman-Led Firms
Thursday, March 9, 2017
UBS Group AG’s American wealth management unit has helped raise $110 million for a U.S. venture capital fund that will invest in companies in the health, education and environmental areas that are led by or co-managed by women.
The fund is managed by Rethink Impact, a venture capital firm that invests in companies with a technological bent. Jenny Abramson, Rethink founder and managing partner, said women-led companies get just 3 percent of venture funding, even though a study by First Round Capital showed that companies with a female founder performed 63 percent better than those founded by men.
“We see this as a market opportunity,” Abramson said. The fund aims for returns in line with those of other venture capital funds, she said. U.S. venture capital funds returned about 15 percent over the past five years, according to data compiled by Cambridge Associates. UBS clients invested more than half the money for the fund, while Rethink Impact raised the rest.
There are a handful of venture funds that specifically target startups founded by women, the most prominent being one at Intel Corp. However, the gender gap in U.S. venture fundraising is wide. About 7 percent of founders at companies raising venture capital in recent years were women, according to data compiled by Bloomberg in 2016.