By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
It’s been a good start to 2018 for the women behind The JumpFund. While some of the good news was contained in our just-completed outlook series on angel and venture capital, we wanted to separately highlight a couple of the items.
As many of our readers know, the women-led angel investment group was established in Chattanooga four years ago with a focus of investing in early stage, female-led, high-growth ventures. It was a bold move for the region and a fairly early trendsetter for the nation.
“We raised our initial fund of $2.5 million based on dual assumptions – there are untapped resources that women investors can bring to the table and there is a strong pipeline of women-led companies for which a wide gap in access to capital resources exists,” Kristina Montague, Managing Partner, says. A total of 18 investments were made.
At the time, the founding partners were part of a small cadre advocating for a gender specific focus on investing. Today, the chorus has expanded significantly as more and more investors see the potential.
“Reports and articles confirming the investment thesis of The JumpFund abound and investing with a gender-lens is a recognized subset of the impact and traditional investing continuum,” Montague says. The validation has also produced two notable developments.
“We have been approved and listed on the GIIN Impact Base,” she says. GIIN is short for Global Impact Investing Network, a non-profit enterprise established in 2009 to create a platform to increase the scope and potency of impact investing globally. The organization has been providing impact investor groups with access to research, knowledge of hundreds of funds, and a metrics system to review performance.
The GIIN network is comprised of many of the world’s most influential investors and foundations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Soros Economic Development Fund.
“As a featured fund on the GIIN Impact Base, The JumpFund will now be able to access these connections as it builds its second fund,” Montague said of the effort to raise between $5 and $7 million. “GIIN offers our fund access to a much wider network of investors interested in investing through a gender lens.”
The second significant development comes through Project Sage, a joint effort of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) and Veris Wealth Partners, a wealth management firm focused on sustainable and impact investing. The two organizations released this special report late last year.
“The JumpFund is included in a baseline of 58 funds from around the world as a starting point for exploring the expanding gender-lens investing opportunities for investors, advisers, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Montague said.
As its focuses on the future, The JumpFund has raised $3.75 million for its second fund.
“We are gaining new investors from Atlanta and Knoxville and existing individual investors continue to join in on JumpFund II,” according to Melissa Aldridge, Fund Director. “Interest also continues to build from institutional investors including foundations and family offices as well as wealth advisors.”
Because of the expanded interest, she says The JumpFund has extended the deadline for raising JumpFund II through June 30. Meanwhile, with new funding available, there are currently six companies comprising the JumpFund II portfolio. Four – Stony Creek Colors, Emrgy, SweetBio, and NX Prenatal – represent a continuation from Fund I, while two new start-ups – Utilize Health and Dev/Con Detect – have been added.