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November 21, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Pivotal Ventures changing the face of power in the venture capital industry

Founded by Melinda French Gates, it wants to transform the investment industry by investing in women-led funds and early stage, women-founded companies.

I daresay that few of our readers would not recognize the name Melinda French Gates. She is the Founder of Pivotal Ventures, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and author of The Moment of Lift.

We recently came across this article that she authored in Fortune where she talks about the work of the venture fund. “My company, Pivotal Ventures, is out to change the face of power in the venture capital industry. By investing in women-led funds and early stage companies, Pivotal wants to help transform the way that the venture capital industry looks at women of all backgrounds and unleash more market-based solutions to overlooked problems.”

One example Gates uses is how due diligence is performed.

“Since traditional due diligence processes tend to privilege asset managers with an established track record – most of whom are white and male – my team is experimenting with alternative models of evaluating investment opportunities. We aren’t lowering the bar in any way, just redefining what it means to meet it.”

Another way that Pivotal Ventures is helping is by coming in early as a first-close investor, as Gates says the firm did for Impact America Fund III. It closed its third fund earlier this year, becoming only the second early stage venture firm owned by a Black woman to cross the $100 million threshold — and no doubt carving out a path for many more to follow.


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