Venture Capital Pool Opens for Women Entrepreneurs

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

VCIf you are an entrepreneur seeking capital, the path to venture funding could be getting a little easier. Earlier this month, the House Financial Services Committee took action on two bills that make venture investments more attainable for entrepreneurs – The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act and the Main Street Growth Act. As women entrepreneurs only receive 7% of venture dollars, improving access to venture capital is a top priority in the women’s business community.

Due to ambiguities in the law, pitch events or demo days that are sponsored by angel investors may or may not be legal. Yet, these events are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get themselves – and their products – in front of a room full of potential investors. The HALOS Act makes this easier by clarifying this ambiguity. Currently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prohibits “general advertising” and “general solicitation,” but the HALOS act would clarify that these events are permitted for groups of angel investors and not subject to the prohibition on general solicitations. The bill’s sponsor, House Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), remarked, “clarifying the law to give entrepreneurs and investors more certainty and opportunity is a step in the right direction.”

To further incentivize investment, The Main Street Growth Act (H.R. 4638) will create securities exchanges specifically for venture capital investments. Existing stock exchanges could create a new tier to specialize in venture capital investments or entirely new exchanges could be established. These securities exchanges will bring together buyers and sellers of venture capital and create a more liquid market, which will incentivize investors to support startups.

While no single policy change or piece of legislation will break down the barriers that prevent women entrepreneurs from accessing capital, these incremental improvements show that Congress is committed to leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs. WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, continues to gain traction with legislators and WIPP is dedicated to growing women entrepreneurs’ share of venture capital funding.

Meet the World’s Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire: Elizabeth Holmes.

by Annie Wilson, InternEH

According to Forbes, Elizabeth Holmes has been named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Earlier this month she was named as Time Magazine’s List of 100 most influential people. Her billion dollar idea?: a revolutionary way to make blood testing accessible for anybody. Holmes’ company, Theranos, created a system that brings together a minimally invasive and needle free method of blood withdrawal with hundreds of low cost tests that almost anyone could afford. Holmes’ intention is to restructure our healthcare system to be more preventative as opposed to a reactive:

“The current health care paradigm is one in which diagnosis often takes place after symptoms are already present, and diseases have begun to progress. We’re committed to changing that. We’re pioneering a new paradigm in which lab testing is accessible and affordable for everyone. When cost is no longer a consideration and people no longer have to be symptomatic in order to get a test. Meaning your patients can get the tests they need, and you can get the information you need, early and in time for therapy to be effective.” – Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos website

Holmes attended Stanford University but dropped out at the age of 19 to start Theranos in 2003. Since then, Holmes has impressed investors with the potential commercial, military, and humanitarian applications of her idea. Holmes has also acquired a very impressive board of directors, including former cabinet secretaries George Shultz, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger, two former Senators, a retired CentCom commander, a retired Navy admiral and a former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She has rapidly developed her company since 2003 and has notably partnered with Walgreens to build thousands of Wellness Centers for Theranos to carry out its testing. To date, Theranos has also accumulated $92 million in venture capital funding from investors like Larry Ellison and Draper Fisher Jurvetson with her first venture capital funding worth $5.8 million in 2005 at the age of 21. Holmes owns 84 patents to her name and Theranos is estimated to be worth $9 billion with Holmes owning half of its stock.

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Holmes:

  • Click here for a video about how she came up with her business idea.
  • Click here for a timeline of Theranos’ conception
  • Click here to watch a TED Talk given by Holmes about the importance of early detection

6 Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Raised VC Funds

VCIf you are a woman entrepreneur trying to raise venture capital, this article, written by Vivian Giang, will certainly guide through the majors difficulties. It will let you succeed in the “Jungle” of raising venture capital funds, or at least it is going to give very useful advices. This article (Hyperlink) shares the stories of six women entrepreneurs who have successfully acquired funding in this complicated system.

Sure statistics prove that the method of financing still has some challenges, especially when you think that male entrepreneurs are 40% more likely to get VC funding than female founders, but change is on the horizon, and these entrepreneurs are certainly an example of tenacity and sharpness.

Get to know Nicole Sanchez, founder of luxury hair distribution company, VIXXENN ; Jessica Richman, cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a platform for microbiome sequencing; Mada Seghete, cofounder of developer tool, Branch Metrics; Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of JOOR, a private online fashion marketplace for wholesale buying; Fern Mandelbaum, entrepreneur, managing partner at Vista Venture Partners and lecturer at Stanford Business School; and Umaimah Mendhro, cofounder and CEO of VIDA, an e-commerce platform that aims to connect designers, artists, producers, and consumers.

Read the article here.