Wed, 09/03/2016 - 09:38
Blackrun, a non-traditional investment platform, has launched a new investment vehicle, Half the World Holdings, which supports businesses that target women as their end consumer.
As part of the launch, Blackrun has signed two term sheets: EmbraceHer, a maternal health technology company, and Siren, a modern-day relationship platform.
Blackrun Ventures Co-Chairman Mark Pawley, sees the clear opportunity: “We recognise the multidimensional nature of women’s lives and that the pragmatic solutions they seek at different life stages often come from companies founded by women who themselves experienced a similar problem. We have a strong pipeline of complementary investments on the horizon, and we believe the markets will respond positively to the collective power of ventures that address critical issues for women globally.”
Women comprise 49.6 per cent of the world’s population, yet make more than 80 per cent of household buying decisions. This represents USD20 trillion in annual consumer spending, rising to USD28 trillion by 2020. Women’s take-home pay of USD13 trillion per year is expected to grow to USD18 trillion in the same timeframe. Yet, according to research from Boston Consulting Group, women continue to feel underserved by companies developing products and services. Added to this, women-led companies, which invariably focus on the woman consumer, have historically struggled to access venture capital funding.
Co-Chairman René Schuster, partner, ilion holding, says: “Repeated studies have shown that women-led businesses increase profitability. When women entrepreneurs are brought together, their natural collaborative leadership style has a multiplier effect on business activity. The Half the World platform leverages this by providing the capital, advisory and international networks needed for accelerated growth to reach women everywhere.”
The first two investments announced offer inventive solutions to meet consumer needs. EmbraceHer CEO Denise Terry, a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, co-founded the maternal health company in 2010 with Chief Medical Officer Dr Jan Rydfors, an assistant adjunct clinical professor at Stanford University Medical Center. EmbraceHer empowers mothers with personalised maternal health guidance through its app, Pregnancy Companion MD It is used by more than half a million pregnant women and recommended by thousands of US. OB-GYNs.
According to Terry: “Pregnancy can be a stressful and unpredictable medical condition for many expectant mothers. Unfortunately, many women see their doctors once a month for a short period of time. All moms can benefit from having 24-hour access to the world’s top maternal-foetal doctors, directly from their smartphone.”
Siren was co-founded by CEO Susie Lee, a Yale and Columbia-educated entrepreneur, and COO Katrina Hess, a seasoned management and design consultant. Based in Seattle, the application delivers a more seamless online-to-offline experience. By posing conversation starters, Siren encourages authentic personality insights generating stronger compatibility signals.
Lee notes: "The time is right for an engaging technology that creates the real life connections that matter, and we see this confirmed by our community's enthusiastic support and satisfaction. As a business, we are excited about the US and international growth opportunities ahead to generate strong returns for members and investors alike."
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