Good morning, Broadsheet readers! FEMA tries to diagnose the cause of its sexual harassment epidemic, pregnant straphangers in Tokyo can finally take a load off, and Bumble courts female entrepreneurs. Make the most of your Thursday.
•Bumble shares the buzz. Bumble, the dating app founded by Whitney Herd Wolfe, yesterday announced that it’s launching a fund to invest in other female-founded startups. In fact, it’s already committed to companies like Mahmee, a prenatal and postpartum health care firm, and swimwear brand Sofia Los Angeles, in addition to investing in funds with a focus on women entrepreneurs like Female Founders Fund and Cleo Capital.
In total, the fund has shelled out $1 million so far and will invest between $5,000 to $250,000 in companies geared toward women and whose female founders have diverse backgrounds.
The news brings to mind other women-focused funds that have launched recently, and the effort by female venture capitalists—Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee, Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee—to mentor female founders.
Troubling data underpins those initiatives: All-women teams received $1.9 billion of the $85 billion invested by venture capitalists in 2017, a measly 2.2% of the pie. (Male teams, meanwhile, secured 79%.)
“We want to give more than capital,” Sarah Jones Simmer, Bumble’s COO and the fund’s leader, told Forbes. “We are in a privileged position of having built a legacy of experience over the last four years. And so much of what we are tackling is what other founders are facing on a day-to-day basis.”
Bumble’s announcement also follows news that VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is raising a new $15 million fund aimed getting more people of color into tech. My colleague Polina Marinova (author of Fortune‘s TermSheet newsletter) pointed out the relatively small size of Andreessen’s new fund; compare it to the firm’s $1.5 billion main fund or its new $300 million crypto fund.
Bumble too acknowledges that the size of its fund might raise questions. “It was important for us to do this early,” Jones Simmer says. “We could’ve waited until we had a $50 million war chest, but for us, our ability to give back early in our life cycle is important. We are trying to do what we can with our platform already.”
A recent study by Boston Consulting Group and MassChallenge found that women-led startups outperform those founded by men, returning 78 cents per dollar to investors, compared to 31 cents for their male counterparts.
So, while many female-centric funds like Bumble’s are indeed small, they may not stay that way for long.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Opposites attract. The Washington Post has a fascinating glimpse into the marriage of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and her husband George, a conservative who’s become a public Trump critic. Despite their fierce disagreement on the president, they make it work. “She’s more than her job, she says; he’s more than his tweets.” Washington Post
• FEMA failures. FEMA administrator Brock Long is directing senior leaders to figure out how harassment at the agency went “unaddressed” for so long. (Recall that the ex-personnel chief is accused of harassing women, including hiring some as possible sexual partners for male employees.) Clearly the agency has a problem: it took 495 days on average to investigate discrimination claims, including sexual harassment matters, in 2016. The law says the agency must carry out probes within 180 days. Washington Post
• Getting defensive. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White is under investigation by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General for claims that she retaliated against staff members who complained about her tasking them with her personal errands. She’s accused of misusing staff support—asking aides to pick up her dry cleaning and work on her mortgage paperwork—and then reassigning subordinates who griped about it. At this point, White has not been found in violation of any federal regulation and the IG has so far declined to comment. CNN
• Lifeline. Pregnant subway riders in Tokyo will now be able to use an app to ask their fellow passengers for a seat. On the popular messaging app Line, a pregnant rider can click “I wish to sit” on her phone, alerting nearby passengers (who have opted into the service) that there’s an opportunity to offer up their seat. Travel + Leisure
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Furniture manufacturer Herman Miller has tapped Andi Owen, previously global president of Banana Republic at Gap Inc., as its new president and CEO. SurveyMonkey has added Erika Hayes James, dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, to its board. Sharon Brogdon, formerly of Microsoft and Intel, has joined RetailMeNot as director of diversity and inclusion. Paxos, a financial technology company, has hired Nancy Dornbush as global head of business operations and Dorothy Chang as VP of marketing and communications.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Getting with the Times. Since becoming COO of The New York Times Company last year, Meredith Kopit Levien has pursued nontraditional advertising deals—like a virtual reality pact with Samsung—as the publishing industry endures disorienting volatility. “It all takes time and thought and work,” Levien says of the NYT‘s shift toward more elaborate deals akin to corporate partnerships, “and that makes for a lumpier business.” Wall Street Journal
• Labor of love? The NYT has a profile French Labor Minister Muriel Pénicaud, the type of government figure—a former businesswoman, a tough negotiator, a friend to elites—that French protestors love to hate. President Emmanuel Macron has tapped her to overhaul the nation’s famously voluminous labor code in an effort to modernize the French economy. “There’s an urgency to take action, because the world has changed,” she says. New York Times
• Buying time. In May, the owners of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group declared that they intended to fully buy out co-founder Mario Batali following multiple reports of sexual abuse by the chef. But as of Tuesday, the partnership had not ended. “While B&B responded…with strong words and a hard date,” Grubstreet reports, “the company has been coy and vague on details since.” Grubstreet
ON MY RADAR
The lie of Little Women The Atlantic
The trickiness of being a woman in Tangier New York Times
Taylor Swift speaks out about believing sexual assault victims on anniversary of her trial verdict Time
Glassdoor CEO explains why reviews with sexual harassment allegations don’t get removed Recode