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Why this venture capital firm is only hiring women in 2022

February 24, 2022, 4:48 PM UTC

It’s no secret that venture capital has a diversity problem. Your typical investor is white, male, and holds a degree from Harvard or Stanford.

Here’s how one firm is tackling the problem: No more hiring men. 

Until the end of this year, Swiftarc Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm focused on telehealth, beauty startups, and early-stage consumer tech and food sustainability companies, is only going to recruit women for the four to six positions it wants to fill on its investment team, according to Sid Jawahar, managing partner of the venture capital firm.

“The only way to deliberately correct the hiring issues that we have in venture capital and private equity is by setting clear mandates,” Jawahar says, noting that it was an initial anchor he and his two co-founders wanted to focus on when they decided to open up their firm.

Leslie Wolfson, Swiftarc Ventures engagement director (left), presents with Sid Jawahar, founder and managing partner, and Fabian Urquijo, president. The firm says it will only hire women through the rest of 2022.
Leslie Wolfson, Swiftarc Ventures engagement director (left), presents with Sid Jawahar, founder and managing partner, and Fabian Urquijo, president. The firm says it will only hire women through the rest of 2022.
Courtesy of Swiftarc Ventures

So far, the firm has brought on half a dozen women in the last six months, several of whom are women of color. 

“When I joined the firm last year, the one thing I noticed is it was extremely ethnically diverse, but from a gender perspective, we really weren’t,” says Leslie Wolfson, engagement director at Swiftarc, who is responsible for the firm’s limited partner relationships and sourcing deal flow. That has begun to change, she points out. Nearly 62%—or eight of its 13 staff members—are now female. 

But there aren’t yet any women in leadership positions on the investment side. That’s set to change by the end of 2022, according to Jawahar. 

“We wanted to make sure that we first built out a team that looks and feels like a team that a senior female executive would want to lead,” Jawahar says. “It would feel a bit hypocritical if we went out and recruited a senior investment executive… with an all male team, and said that one of our core values is gender equality within our firm as well as for our investments.”

It’s about more than supporting women, according to Wolfson. It’s about results. Businesses with female decision-makers “make a much higher return,” Wolfson says, pointing to Boston Consulting Group research. A key focus for the firm is also selecting portfolio companies run by women, and it has a limited partner base that is nearly 50% female, according to Wolfson.

“The folks that are coming into our firm—even from a capital standpoint—share our values,” Jawahar added. “And sometimes that’s a longer, harder journey, but that’s what makes it fun.”

Billions and billions from LPs… If the $1 billion funds we’re seeing feel large, how about $20 billion? Insight Partners, the New York-based venture capital and private equity firm, said this morning it had raised more than $20 billion for its twelfth fund, more than double that of the fund it closed in April 2020. Fund XII will continue to invest in high-growth technology, software, and internet startups, and it will stretch Insight Partners’ total AUM to more than $90 billion. “There is no great software company for which we don’t have a capital solution,” Deven Parekh, managing director of Insight Partners, said in a statement issued this morning.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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VENTURE DEALS

- Omada Health, a San Francisco-based digital health company, raised $192 million in funding led by Fidelity and was joined by investors including Civilization Ventures and aMoon.

fabric, a Bellevue, Wash.-based ecommerce platform, raised $140 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank.

- Revel, a Brooklyn-based electric moped company, raised $126 million in Series B funding led by BlackRock Renewable Power and was joined by investors including Toyota Ventures, Goodyear Ventures, Shell Ventures, Broadscale Group, Obsidian Ventures, the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund, and Knighthead Capital Management

- Project Canary, a Denver-based climate tech and environmental assessment company, raised $111 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by investors including Brookfield Growth, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Quantum Energy Partners, Energy Impact Partners, and Frontier Venture Capital.

- Hasura, a San Francisco-based applications development platform, raised $100 million in funding led by Greenoaks and was joined by investors including Nexus Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Vertex Ventures.

RightHand Robotics, a Somerville, Mass.-based autonomous robotic picking solutions company for order fulfillment, raised $66 million in Series C funding. Safar Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round and were joined by investors including Zebra Technologies, Epson and Global Brain, GV, F-Prime Capital, Menlo Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Tony Fadell’s Future Shape

- Secureframe, a San Francisco-based automated security and compliance software developer, raised $56 million in Series B funding led by Accomplice and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins, Optum Ventures, Kaiser Permanente, Gradient Ventures, Soma Capital, Gaingels, Impatient Ventures, and Flexport

- Red Sift, a London-based cloud email security and brand protection platform, raised $54 million in Series B funding led by Highland Europe and was joined by investors including Sands Capital, Oxford Capital, and MMC Ventures

- AnyRoad, a San Francisco-based Experience Relationship Management (ERM) platform company, raised $47 million in Series B funding led by BlackRock and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Runa Capital, and Kaiser Permanente

- Funnel, a Lutz, Fla.-based renter-centric leasing platform, raised $36.5 million in Series B funding led by RET Ventures, and was joined by other investors including Camden Property Trust, Morgan Properties, Wilshire Lane Capital, Trinity Ventures, and Camber Creek

- Canela Media, a New York-based digital media company, raised $32 million in Series A funding. Acrew Capital and Angeles Investors co-led the round and were joined by investors including Link Ventures, TEGNA Ventures, and Samsung NEXT. This round was joined by existing investors including BBG Ventures, Mighty Capital, Reinventure Capital, Portfolia's Rising America Fund, Alumni Ventures, Powerhouse Capital, and BMO

- OCR Labs, a London-based digital identity verification provider, raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Equable Capital

Promise, an Oakland, Calif.-based technology platform that helps people pay their government debt, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by The General Partnership (formerly Sweat Equity Ventures) and was joined by other investors including Kapor Capital, XYZ Ventures, Bronze Investments, First Round Capital, Y Combinator, Howard Schultz (former chairman and CEO of Starbucks), and others. 

- RouteThis, a Kitchener, Canada-based in-home WiFi connectivity support company, raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Inovia Capital and was joined by investors including Intel Capital, Round13, Garage Capital and Ken Miller Capital

- SeMI Technologies, an Amsterdam-based A.I. vector search engine developer, raised $16 million in Series A funding co-led by New Enterprise Associates and Cortical Ventures

Astrix Security, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based app-integration access management company, raised $15 million in seed funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and F2 Capital and was joined by investors including Venrock and angel investors.

Canary Technologies, a San Francisco-based guest management system for hotels, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by F-Prime Capital and was joined by investors including Y Combinator, Thayer Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Acronym Capital, and Gokul Rajaram

- ev.energy, a London-based electric vehicle charging software provider, raised $12.8 million in Series A funding led by ArcTern Ventures and was joined by investors including Energy Impact Partners and Future Energy Ventures.

Sanzo, a Brooklyn-based Asian-inspired sparkling water brand, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by CircleUp Growth Partners and was joined by investors including Convivialite Ventures, Semillero Partners, Gold House Ventures, Kaya Ventures, and Francisco Crespo.

- Savvy, a New York-based wealth management firm focused on enhanced software, sales and marketing automation, and back office servicing, raised $7.3M in seed funding co-led by Index Ventures and Thrive Capital and were joined by investors including the founders of ICONIQ, Plaid, Instacart, Figma, Opendoor, Flexport, Newfront, EPIQ, Jordan Park, A* Capital, Box Group, Operator Partners, GFC, and more.

- SkyFi, an Austin, Tex.-based startup developing a satellite imagery app, raised $7.15 million in funding from investors including J2 Ventures, Moving Capital, Capital Factory, and Bill Perkins.

- Fast Break Labs, a Palo Alto-based sports gaming and entertainment company, raised $6 million in seed round funding co-led by Patron and Pantera Capital.

- Potato Play, a Singapore-based mobile game publisher, raised $5 million in funding from investors including Everblue Management, Play Ventures, Atlas Ventures, and Beenext.

- Touchlab, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based electronic skin developer for robots, raised $4.8 million in seed funding led by Octopus Ventures and was joined by other investors including Creator Fund and Techstart Ventures.

- Signadot, a San Mateo, Calif.-based platform that scales microservices testing for engineers, raised $4 million in seed funding led by Redpoint Ventures and was joined by other investors including Y Combinator, and angel investors including former Heroku CEO Adam Gross, former Github CTO Jason Warner, LaunchDarkly co-founder and CTO John Kodumal, managing partner at Essence VC Timothy Chen, and founding partner at Rogue Capital Chris Golda, and others. 

- Yali Bio, a San Francisco-based food tech company focused on designer fats for plant-based meat and dairy products, raised $3.9 million in seed funding led by Essential Capital and was joined by existing investors including Third Kind Venture Capital, S2G Ventures, CRCM Ventures, FTW Ventures, and First-in Ventures

- Marvin, an Oakland, Calif.-based user research platform that helps product, design, and research teams better understand their customers, raised $3.8 million in pre-seed funding led by Fuel Capital and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

- 99 Counties, a Chicago-based regenerative meat marketplace, raised $3.8 million in pre-seed funding led by OMERS Ventures and was joined by investors including Union Labs, GV, and Supply Change Capital

- Epoch, a Kitchener, Canada-based employee experience platform, raised $3.6 million in seed funding led by Rally Ventures and was joined by investors including Precursor Ventures, Turner Novak, MGV, Maschmeyer Group Ventures.

- Stable Insurance, a New York-based insurtech startup that creates fit-for-purpose insurance for owners of rideshare and carshare vehicles, raised $3.3 million in funding co-led by MLTPLY and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

- Marginfi, a New York-based decentralized margin protocol for Solana, raised $3 million in seed financing co-led by Multicoin Capital and Pantera Capital and was joined by investors including Sino Global Capital and Solana Ventures

- Brevity, a Lehi, Utah-based no-code software company, raised $2.75 million in seed funding led by Contrary Capital.

- EWA, a Singapore-based language learning app, raised $2.7 million in funding from investors including Day One Ventures, Elysium and angels. 

- DishDivvy, a Glendale, Calif.-based marketplace that connects skilled home cooks to local customers, raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding led by 10X Venture.

PRIVATE EQUITY

 - Apollo agreed to acquire and take private Tenneco, a Lake Forest, Ill.-based emissions-control auto product company, for approximately $7.1 billion, including debt.

TPG Growth invested $96 million into Beauty for All Industries, a San Mateo, Calif.-based online beauty platform.

- Aria Growth Partners acquired a minority stake in The INKEY List, an Epsom, U.K.-based skincare brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Hopper, backed by GPI Capital, WestCap Group, acquired SMOOSS, a Paris-based merchandising and customer care travel SaaS platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Imprivata, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, agreed to acquire SecureLink, an Austin, Tex.-based critical access management company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Potomac Equity Partners acquired U.S. Mobile Health Exams, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based  mobile health testing and examination service. FInancial terms were not disclosed.

OTHER

- Hopper acquired SMOOSS, a Paris-based merchandising and customer care travel SaaS platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Nestlé acquired Vital Proteins, a Franklin Park, Ill-based collagen-based health supplement company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- NetApp acquired Fylamynt, a Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud workflow automation platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Pipe acquired Purely Capital, a London-based media and entertainment financing company. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Prometheus Group acquired S&V, a Bengaluru, India-based provider of data services and technology solutions for manufacturing, airlines, utilities, and oil and gas industries. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- ​​Securitize acquired Pacific Stock Transfer, a stock transfer agency. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Vendr acquired Blissfully, a New York-based SaaS management platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- NewView Capital, a Burlingame, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised $544 million for two funds focused on mid to growth-stage opportunities and advancing its portfolio acquisition strategy. 

- Camber Creek, a New York-based venture capital firm, raised $325 million for a fourth fund focused on real estate technology.

PEOPLE

- Elsewhere Partners, an Austin-based venture capital firm, hired Meaghan Mahoney and Cody Younkin as associates. Formerly, Mahoney was with The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Younkin was with D.A. Davidson.

- GoldenTree Asset Management , a New York-based asset management firm, hired Grady Frank as partner and head of private credit origination. Formerly, he was with Goldman Sachs.  

- OMERS Private Equity, a Toronto-based private equity firm, promoted Andre Alfaro to managing director, James Frankish to managing director, Jeff French to managing director, Jeff Kahn to director, and Pete McClelland to director. 

- ​​1Sharpe Ventures, a Piedmont, Calif,-based venture capital firm, hired Kathleen Collins vice president. Formerly, she was with Shelter Acquisition Company.

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