Singapore-based Her Capital has launched its debut women-focused venture capital fund to invest in startups founded and/or led by women in Southeast Asia.
The VC firm aims to raise about $10 million for the fund and has already secured close to $1 million from 8-9 angel investors in Southeast Asia. Her Capital seeks to hold a first close for the fund — which would allow the firm to start making investments — at $3.5 million around September this year, said managing partner Tanya Rolfe.
She said that Her Capital is open to raising capital from development finance institutions (DFIs) and pension funds but would prefer roping in female investors as limited partners (LPs) to make investing more accessible to a historically under-represented segment in venture capital.
There is a lot of focus on the gender pay gap. However, true wealth is rarely created through salary alone. Our focus therefore is on encouraging women to invest at the same rate and level as men. We want Her Capital to be that platform to engender wealth creation for female investors and female founders, whom we specifically target in this fund,” said Rolfe.
Her Capital has the mandate to invest in startups led by at least one female founder and/or startups which develop products or services leveraging the “she economy.” These would typically be tech-enabled opportunities leveraging the growing middle-class in Asia, a region where women make 90 per cent of purchasing decisions for a family.
Women-led businesses typically tend to be highly capital efficient, added Her Capital managing partner Gail Wong.
A report by Boston Consulting Group found that companies founded by women generate 78 cents for every dollar of funding compared to just 31 cents for those led by their male counterparts. Wong also highlighted a strong correlation between the presence of women leaders in business and profitability, investment performance and returns.
Her Capital is a sector-agnostic firm that targets early-stage opportunities. It will invest around $100,000 to $500,000 in pre-seed to seed companies and $1 million in those at Series A stage of funding.
Wong and Rolfe, who co-founded Ladies Investment Club (LIC) in Singapore in 2017, are relying on the connections and investment experiences built at the angel investment network to source deals for Her Capital. Under their leadership, LIC invested in 14 pre-seed and seed startups in Southeast Asia.
They decided to set up Her Capital in response to a growing need for a dedicated and institutionalised fund to provide better support to female investors and entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. Apart from Her Capital, several funds target women-focused opportunities, but few focused explicitly on this region. Some well-known ones are SoGal Ventures, Teja Ventures and The Billion Dollar Fund for Women.