Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Elizabeth Warren has become a vocal critic of SVB’s breakdown, celebrity-owned beauty brands are on the way out, and a VC firm is betting on women’s health and sexual wellness. Happy Wednesday!
– VC opportunity. Founders of women’s health companies often come to the category with a personal story that inspired them to address an underfunded or underresearched health issue through their business. The same was true for Carli Sapir, the founding partner of Amboy Street Ventures.
While she prefers to keep the details of her own health private, she says she ran into roadblocks in the health care system like misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments. But rather than found a company like many of her peers, the private equity alum decided to launch a venture capital firm.
Amboy Street Ventures closed its first fund at $20 million, Fortune is the first to report. The firm is entirely focused on investing in two categories: women’s health and sexual wellness for all genders. “I realized these are incredible economic opportunities because they’re solving major market gaps,” Sapir says. “And I realized you get outsized returns by investing in this space.”
Amboy Street has deployed $4 million of that fund with eight investments so far, backing startups including telehealth abortion access startup Hey Jane, vaginal microbiome testing startup Evvy, menstrual products company Aunt Flow, sexual wellness brand Dame, and audio erotica app Dipsea.
While several firms invest in women’s health or focus on female-founded companies, Amboy Street is the only firm to explicitly invest in solely women’s health and sexual wellness, Sapir says. She says she’s heard criticism that her firm’s focus is too niche—which she rejects.
“What most VC funds are doing is trying to predict future trends,” she says. “What we’re doing is trying to invest in companies that are filling immediate needs. We know these companies have strong growth opportunities.”
Sapir says she is seeing the most deal flow in six verticals: maternal health, menopause and aging, sexual health and pleasure, hormonal health, abortion access, and LGBTQ+ gender-affirming care. Those verticals place some of Sapir’s potential portfolio companies square in the eye of GOP legislators, who introduce anti-abortion legislation and bills that oppose access to LGBTQ+ health care.
“We think about legislation as a risk when we’re making investments, but we also know that this is a massively underserved need,” Sapir says. “And we know that solutions that are catering to this space will be major white spaces in the market and will grow despite legislation or restrictions.”
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- SVB fallout. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) has emerged as a chief critic of Silicon Valley Bank's downfall. She blasted former SVB CEO Greg Becker for abdicating "basic responsibilities" after winning the rollback of bank regulations and is urging Congress to reverse Trump-era bank deregulation. Axios
- Big Four break-up. Julie Boland, head of EY U.S., is leading the professional services firm through its attempt to split in two, separating its audit and consulting arms. Boland reportedly blindsided partners last week by saying the deal was on hold and that she has concerns about the health of both businesses post-split. Financial Times
- Forecasting. Childcare costs are beating out retirement costs when it comes to women's short-term career decisions. Fifty percent of women thought about how staying home would impact their childcare costs compared to approximately 30% who considered how it would impact their retirement savings. Fortune
- Lip Kits and Fenty. Celebrity-owned beauty brands are under threat due to consumers' shifting preference for skin care and quality products. While many aim to be acquired by bigger brands, Coty's $600 million purchase of the majority stake of Kylie Cosmetics is the only celebrity beauty brand acquisition in North America in nearly 30 years. Bloomberg
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Leah Belsky is joining the board at Oyster.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Menopause innovation. With increased awareness breaking down stigmas, menopause technology is becoming a hot industry for innovation. From body-temperature reading cooling bands to apps that help track symptoms and treatments, leaders in the industry hope that the money spent on these products will go towards science-backed solutions. BBC
- Unladylike. Yumi Narushima, the youngest executive officer at education conglomerate Benesse Corporation at the time, showed a raw ambition at the beginning of her career that was frowned upon for being unladylike. But her early success grew into a long-term professional partnership with the company, an example of Japan's lifetime employment pillar of labor. The Japan Times
- Six digits. More men than women apply for jobs making more than $100,000 a year. Part of the reason could be that more women want to be 100% qualified for a job before applying, but they also tend to accept jobs quicker, potentially reducing their negotiating leverage. Women who apply are more likely to get the job. Bloomberg
ON MY RADAR
TikTok is changing what it means to be ‘old’ Wired
The failed promise of having it all The Atlantic
What true justice looks like for sexual violence survivors Time
How Miley Cyrus got her groove back Los Angeles Times
"If you feel like you are an overambitious, perfectionist, anxiety-ridden person who is working yourself to death, try adjusting the goalposts a little bit. Then, I’d suggest that you think about goals entirely differently."
—Jenny Odell, author of Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock
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