BBG Ventures, co-founded in 2014 by former Gilt Groupe CEO Susan Lyne, is an early-stage venture capital fund that backs startups with at least one female founder. The firm sprang out of #BUILTBYGIRLS, a mentorship community that puts young women in touch with professionals in tech.
To date, BBG Ventures has invested $20 million in more than 60 startups, including Glamsquad and Zola. And BBG Ventures cofounder and partner Nisha Dua says the firm’s investment thesis is proving itself in 2018 more than ever before.
“There has never been a better time in history to be a female founder,” Dua said on stage at the latest Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on Sept. 20 in New York. “As an investor I think it’s one of the most exciting times. I think actually the response from female founders, particularly those that are focused on female consumers, is that it’s emboldened them… This is a consumer that is loud, wants to spend its money. And, frankly, you know when you raise Trump as part of this conversation, for that consumer it’s a disruption. And so in some ways this is a disruptive moment.”
As an example, Dua cited one of the firm’s portfolio companies, The Wing, a co-working space for women only. “I was there the night of the election, and there were 200 women in the room just shell-shocked,” she said. “And I think The Wing would have been successful regardless. But there’s no doubt in my mind that that night was a call to arms for every single woman who wanted to be part of their movement.” [Audrey Gelman, co-founder and CEO of The Wing, was a featured guest on Yahoo Finance’s Breakout Breakfast in June.]
Tiffany Pham, founder of the networking site Mogul, shared the stage with Dua and added that she’s seen a shift away from the attention on her business always being about the fact that it is female-led. According to the latest Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses are growing at double the rate of businesses owned by men. And as female-led tech companies multiply, discussion of those companies does not always need to be driven by the fact that they are led by women.
“I think early on, I definitely think a lot of attention was paid to Mogul because it was female-led and our team was largely women-run,” Pham said. “But nowadays it’s incredible that the attention paid to Mogul is for reasons that I think most businesses are paid attention for: metrics, our growth, our mission, our impact… That’s been really amazing to see the tide change towards that direction.”
To watch the full panel with Nisha Dua and Tiffany Pham at the Yahoo Finance summit, click here.
Disclaimer: BBG Ventures is owned by Oath, the parent company of Yahoo Finance.
Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.