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June 1, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 460 June 2017, Short Stories, Tip Sheet

Investing in Gender-Diverse Tech Companies

A Bay Area VC firm, a San Diego startup, and a big bank have teamed up to address social problems

The partnership—between VC firm Rethink Impact, software company Classy, and UBS—was spearheaded by people wanting to invest in companies that are making a difference. “Our clients were already active in philanthropy, and they had been asking for this,” says John Amore, managing director for UBS wealth management’s Americas division. Amore says UBS sought out Rethink Impact, a firm involved in “impact investing”—putting money in gender-diverse tech companies that have a mission for social change—to create a portfolio of 20 firms to invest in. Each one was handpicked for the fund, and Classy is the only San Diego company selected to join.

Classy, a technology platform that makes it easier for nonprofits to raise money (and for people to donate), works with thousands of organizations addressing some of the toughest social problems around the world, says cofounder Pat Walsh. Classy recently signed Glassdoor’s equal pay pledge, and women make up 47 percent of the company.

The goal to invest in gender-diverse companies is one way to address a problem revealed by a recent study: Only 3 percent of venture capital dollars go to companies with a female CEO, and women make up just 6 percent of the investment decision-makers at venture capital firms.* The fund has raised $110 million so far—capital for a cause!

*Source: Entitled Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital, Babson College

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