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Unlocking the power of women investors




Unlocking the power of women investors

Investments in women’s healthcare innovations have increased, in part due to Portfolia’s efforts to empower women to invest in the sector. Since launched its first fund in 2015and pioneering a FemTech fund in 2018, Portfolia has worked to demystify venture capital for women-accredited investors, driving investment in traditionally underfunded sectors.

However, challenges remain, including inadequate funding from venture capital funds and limited partners, along with regulatory barriers that could hinder progress. To continue advancing innovation in women’s healthcare, it is critical to educate and engage more women as investors while advocating for inclusive regulation.

So while the current state of women’s healthcare and FemTech investments is promising, much work remains to realize their full potential. Portfolia’s mission, led by CEO and founder Trish Costello, focuses on harnessing the financial power of women and people of color to create a more inclusive and impactful venture capital investment landscape.

Improving women’s health and the diversity of venture capital investments

Portfolia encourages women-accredited “sophisticated” investors to invest in the innovation economy by demystifying venture capital through education that empowers women to confidently navigate the landscape. Women bring a different perspective to invest in VC, thus How women (and men) invest*.

For nearly a decade, Portfolia has helped diversify the investor base, increase the gender diversity of venture-backed founders, and focus investor attention on sectors that traditionally receive less attention: products and services that improve the lives of women, including women. ™s health.

One of the bright spots of the past five to seven years has been a movement of women and people of color investors toward funds managed by people who look like them and who understand their unmet needs. Investing in these funds offers the opportunity to create wealth for women and people of color.

The number of high-net-worth individuals investing in women’s health as venture capital LPs isn’t the only metric that’s improving. The Biden administration has approved $300 million for women’s health research, allowing researchers to explore promising but uncertain avenues with major breakthrough potential. This initiative lays the foundation for the President’s proposed $12 billion women’s health fund. Additionally, a bipartisan group of senators is focused on funding the health of middle-aged women. The recent announcement of the bipartisan Women’s Health PAC will help ensure women’s health remains a national focus.

The evolution of FemTech investments

PitchBook defines FemTech as a range of health software and technology-based products that address women’s biological needs and a subsector of women’s health. While venture capital investments increased by 14% overall between 2018 and 2023, FemTech investments increased by 58%, 121% for FemTech companies with at least one female founder and 345% for companies founded exclusively by women.

The FemTech sector has undergone a remarkable transformation. Early on, it focused on reproductive health with limited recognition. However, the introduction of the term “FemTech” has contributed to a wave of innovation in menstrual health, fertility, and other areas of women’s health. Investments rose sharply, although there was still a decline in healthcare investments. Technological advancements have fueled the development of personalized solutions. The future promises even greater personalization, data-driven insights, inclusivity and sustainability within the FemTech space.

Porfolia’s FemTech I versus FemTech III investments have evolved as the sector has taken off. Fund I’s investments were focused on very early-stage companies, because so few companies had reached later stages, and on circumstances that only affected women. Fund III invests in a mix of companies, from pre-seed to pre-IPO, that invest in diseases and conditions that:

  • Only affects women, such as menstruation and menopause.
  • It mainly affects women, such as autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Affect women differently than men, such as cardiovascular disease.
  • Improving the lives of women, even if for men, such as a daily non-hormonal contraceptive pill for men or a quick evaluation of sperm and testicles, because women often undergo fertility treatment for a year and a half before an in-depth analysis of the man’s partner .

In the beginning, there was no network of accredited investors or venture capital funds investing in women’s health. Portfolia helped build it. However, the network has not yet been fully developed.

The challenge of fundraising for innovations in women’s health care

Women make up more than half of the population, but their health care is under-researched and underfunded. We’ve only just scratched the surface on the products and services that would improve women’s health.

For example, a male founder looked at conditions that cause widespread pain. He focused on a chronic condition that mainly affects women and for which there are few solutions. Portfolia invested in it. The founder had no idea that something focused on women’s health would be so much harder to raise money than men’s.

“To put more money into women’s health care, we have to keep telling the story,” Costello sighed. “Educate and evangelize other venture capital firms to invest and take some risk by investing early.”

The truth is that the faster route to financing women’s health is activating more female-accredited investors to invest in venture capital as LPs. Their investments show larger investors the potential of the product or service. To ensure that women have good health, women must exercise their power.

“Money is power, and women have a lot of wealth,” Costello exclaimed. “We can create the world we want by consciously understanding the power of our wealth and investment capital.”

One troubling concern is that the SEC is considering increasing the income and wealth criteria required to become an accredited investor. “Anything that will prevent women and people of color from investing will hinder solutions from getting to market,” Costello said. “It behooves the political and regulatory leaders examining these issues to understand that there may be unintended consequences.”

“Sophistication does not translate into wealth – property or income,” Costello said. “Women and people of color are in some ways more disciplined investors. They’re doing more homework and due diligence and investing in what they know, just like Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch.â€

How do you exercise your investment power?