“Not surprisingly, one of the attributes that we found that was correlated with a higher rate of company success was having a female founder or co-founder, and my suspicion is that it’s not about women vs. men, it’s about diversity and at the end of the day, diversity is a great business decision.”
In this episode, Sally Hubbard introduces us to Victoria Fram, Co-founder and Managing Director of VilCap Investments and Allie Burns, Managing Director of Village Capital, diversity champions who are funding startups that change the world – companies that make a profit and a difference. They’re focusing on sustainable agriculture and energy, and increasing affordable access to education, financial services, and healthcare to create the world they want to see.
“There are great ideas and founders who want to build businesses that can really solve the challenges we see across those 5 realms, but they don’t always have access to the opportunity or connections or financial capital to build those businesses.”
Village Capital dedicates resources to finding founders and supporting them with connections, programs, and a network of mentors. VilCap Investments is the other side of their business, which supports founders with financial resources.
“I think that there has been a real pendulum swing on the downside towards profit at all costs. In the US, in particular, we have a fairly short-term mentality. The way that the stock market works encourages a short-term mentality…there’s definitely been a swing in another direction.”
Allie and Victoria are dedicated to diversity in their programs and their portfolio, using a peer selection process to allocate capital which has resulted in 40% of their companies being founded or co-founded by women. When they invest, they look outside of the 3 states that get 75% of all venture capital funding and ensure that those companies have ethnic and gender diversity.
“It’s important that we all look at what we’re contributing to the problem.”
They believe that it’s not only possible but it’s important for for-profit companies to do social good. Their business has proven that it’s possible to achieve both strong financial returns and a compelling social and environmental impact to people.
“Don’t waste your time with people who don’t believe in you.”
In this episode, they also discuss how power dynamics in early-stage investing and entrepreneurship prevent investors from realizing the best outcomes they could have and how we can raise consciousness about sexism in male-dominated industries.