SoGal Ventures closes debut $15m fund, eyes second vehicle in 2021

Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut of SoGal Ventures.

US and Asian female-focused venture firm SoGal Ventures has fully closed its $15-million debut fund as of late 2019, according to its Singapore-based founding partner Pocket Sun. The venture firm is eyeing a second fund in 2021 but declined to share specifics on its fundraising targets.

Sun told DealStreetAsia that the firm raised capital from 99 investors comprising a mix of family offices, venture capital firms, corporates and industry associations across the US and Asia. SoGal Ventures is associated with SoGal Foundation, a global network and platform aimed at educating and empowering female and minority entrepreneurs and investors.

Sun, who co-founded SoGal Ventures with her US-based partner Elizabeth Galbut, shared that female representation in the venture community has come a long way since the fund’s inception in 2016. Many more female-led venture firms have been launched in Southeast Asia such as Teja Ventures and Her Capital. There are, however, many areas of improvement.

“There has been a lot of news about big firms promoting women to be partners. But in closed-door conversations, I still hear about women not having cheque writing abilities or only being able to write smaller cheques compared to their male counterparts. A lot of it is lip service or for PR purposes. Many women who are raising their own funds also find it really difficult because LPs are slow to change,” said Sun over the phone from Singapore.

SoGal Ventures invests in early-stage, female-founded companies that focus on improving the quality of life for women and under-represented groups. It writes cheque sizes of $100-300k going up to $1 million with room for follow-on investments.

Its first fund has deployed in 35 companies globally, most of which are from the US. SoGal Ventures has only made one Asian investment to date, even though Sun has been based in Singapore since 2015. This was in Singapore-based fitness and gym subscriptions service GuavaPass, which was acquired by its New York competitor ClassPass in January 2019.

Sun explained that the lack of strong consumer-facing startups in Asia led to SoGal’s low investment activity in the region. The team had also found more unique and scalable companies in the US, which led them to invest more heavily there instead. Apart from ClassPass, SoGal also secured an exit via US workplace analytics startup Werk, which was acquired by The Mom Project in March this year.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.