Women-focused True Wealth Ventures raises $35m for second fund

The seed-stage venture firm focuses on backing women-led startups that improve human and environmental health.

women-led venture fund
True Wealth Ventures general partners (L-R) Kerry Rupp and Sara Brand

In a sign of progress for women-led venture funds, True Wealth Ventures has closed on $35 million for its second fund, noting that the vehicle was oversubscribed.

The Austin, Texas-based firm makes seed investments in women-led startups that improve human and environmental health. It previously raised $19.1 million for its debut fund in In 2016.

The fact that Fund II was over-subscribed is an encouraging sign in itself in light of the greater difficulties many emerging venture funds typically have in raising capital, let alone funds led by women GPs. Many female fund managers say they encounter both unconscious and explicit bias from many of the LPs they approach, who are predominantly white men, Venture Capital Journal has previously reported.

True Wealth founding general partner Sara Brand told VCJ that women represent 75 percent of the LPs in Fund II by dollars and about 80 percent by number.

“When we closed Fund 1, 80 percent of our investors were women, and that wasn’t something we were pro-active about or even aware of when we started raising Fund I,” said Brand. When she and general partner Kerry Rupp polled their female investors, “the vast majority had never invested in venture before, and the vast majority of those had never been invited to invest in a venture capital fund before.”

In a statement about the new fund, Brand said: “While our primary mission continues to be getting early-stage capital to female founders whose core value proposition is improving environmental or human health, our secondary mission has been to facilitate more women investing into this asset class as LPs.”

In the VCJ interview, Brand said, “Given the lack of funds going to women entrepreneurs and the lack of women at VC funds leading investment decisions, it seems kind of obvious in retrospect that there’d be so few women investing in this asset class because it’s so male-dominated.”

Fund II will invest in seed-stage deals, with Brand and Rupp assuming board seats. The fund will target software, hardware and consumer packaged goods startups.

First checks typically range between $500,000 and $1 million. True Wealth Ventures LPs often co-invest an additional 50 percent on top of the fund’s investment, with total rounds most often ranging up to $3.5 million and $4 million.

True Wealth already has made three investments from Fund II since its first close in May 2021. It backed Aeromutable, which applies aerospace technology to the trucking industry to improve vehicle efficiency and safety; De Oro Devices, which makes mobility devices to assist people with mobility disorders; and Flourish, which educates women about how to build sustainable healthy habits in nutrition, hydration, sleep, stress, relationships and movement.

The firm intends to invest in 15 companies from Fund II. Those startups must be women-led, meaning at least one woman with significant decision-making power must be on the founding or executive team.

True Wealth’s total assets under management are now about $60 million.

With women projected to control two-thirds of investable assets by 2030, “We realized there are a lot of reasons that it’s important that we get more women investing in venture,” Brand said.

Iris Dorbian contributed to this story