Why Melinda Gates Invested In This Women-Led VC Firm


Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw - Aspect Founders
Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw

Aspect Ventures, a women-led venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, has raised a $181 million second fund to invest in early-stage startups. They are now the largest VC fund run by women.

Aspect was founded in 2014 by Silicon Valley industry veterans Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw and raised its first institutional fund of $150 million in 2015. The firm boasts an impressive roster of over 25 portfolio companies.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins led this round.

“Jennifer and Theresia are extremely talented investors. They see opportunities where others don’t – including backing diverse entrepreneurs whose potential the venture capital industry has long been blind to,” Gates said in a statement.

“We’ve seen that teams that are more diverse in tech have outperformed. If everyone looks the same and goes to the same two or three schools, they’ll have a lot of overlap. You look at Aspect, and there’s probably a lot less overlap,” Theresia Gouw told Forbes.

According to Techcrunch, “40% of their investments have a female co-founder, compared to an industry average of just 13%.”




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