One of the first all-female venture capital funds in the South has raised another $5.2 million for investments in women-headed companies.
The JumpFund, which was launched in Chattanooga in 2013, has invested its initial $2.5 million in capital in 18 businesses headed by women leaders from Louisville to Memphis to Atlanta. The JumpFund launched its second fund in early 2017 and has already made investments in nine women-led ventures, five of which are follow-on investments in current portfolio companies.
JumpFund II was raised to continue to highlight the large gap in access to capital for women-led ventures, as well as to increase the number of women as "angel" investors.
"We are investing in the change we want to see by engaging women's capital to invest in women-led ventures with a vision to ultimately level the playing field for women building successful, high growth companies," said Kristina Montague, managing partner for the Chattanooga-based venture fund."
While initial funding for the JumpFund came only from women investors, JumpFund II has a "few good men" investing who also see the return potential and market gap for women entrepreneurs, Montague said.\
The Boston Consulting Group recently reported a 19 percent increase in innovation revenue from companies with diverse leadership and a 2016 study by First Round Capital found a 63 percent higher success rate of their portfolio companies with at least one woman founder.
JumpFund II has investment from individuals and institutions across the Southeast and as far away as Denver, Seattle and Boston.
Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta's economic development authority, is one of those institutions participating in JumpFund II and was specifically seeking funding partners to enhance the economic competitiveness of Atlanta businesses and stimulate the creation of jobs and wealth through investments in innovative early-stage businesses.
"For more women-owned businesses to take the leap, they need to have access to the same venture capital opportunities as their male counterparts," said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. "Too often this hasn't been the case, which is why we're working to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. By partnering with the JumpFund through the Atlanta Seed Equity Initiative, we can help narrow this gap and bring new investment to more women-led ventures in the city of Atlanta."
JumpFund experienced early success with its investment in Partpic, an Atlanta-based company founded by CEO Jewel Burks, which sold to Amazon in 2016.
JumpFund II will continue to work with accelerators, incubators, and funding partners throughout the Southeast to find early-stage ventures with strong women leadership.