All Raise, founded over three years ago to accelerate success for female founders, has expanded its board beyond the venture community.
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The nonprofit, which raised $11 million in funding in 2020, announced new board members Jessica Ross, Salesforce’s1 EVP of finance and chief transformation officer, as well as Lever co-founder Sarah Nahm, and Deirdre Findlay, Condé Nast’s global chief marketing officer.
“Our mission as an organization goes well beyond diversifying venture capital,” Lefcourt told Crunchbase News via email. “We are here to create change throughout the entire technology ecosystem—that includes support for startup founders, VC investors and tech executives.”
Historically, the All Raise board has been composed of VCs. Expanding to executives and founders reflects the launch of its new program called Board Xcelerate, which aims to help place diverse leaders onto the boards of high-growth private tech companies.
“In 2021, more than 24 women joined a high-velocity startup board as an independent director thanks to All Raise. Board Xcelerate is one of our most successful programs,” Lefcourt said.
The organization is also focused on supporting founders. It launched founder masterclasses, free for female and nonbinary founders. The organization says it reached 4,000 community members through events and panels in 2021.
“The data shows us that the gap of funding going to female founded companies is still too low and the women in decision making positions in venture is still too low—we want to continue to play a role in narrowing that gap,” Findlay said via email on joining the board.
While funding to female founders is up in 2021, per Crunchbase data, that has taken place within a record funding year to startups. The ratio of funding to female-only founded companies is flat, while funding to female and male-co-founded startups is slightly up.
“The biggest source of movement in the last few years has been reaching out to founder communities, really, focusing on bridging these two communities that in tech don’t work together, don’t build together,” said Nahm of her experience meeting All Raise as a founder and prior CEO of Lever in 2018 when it all started.
“On the one hand, we’ve made so much progress in moving the needle, on the representation of women and nonbinary people in venture capital. But we have not yet seen the same lift on the founder side, specifically in the venture capital dollars going to female-founded companies,” she said.
Ross, who leads financial transformation at Salesforce and reports to CFO Amy Weaver, highlighted the importance of female leaders. “Once I started seeing women in action that looked like me, that I identified with, it just had a huge impact on my own lens of possibility for myself,” she said.
All Raise also connects investors from associates to GPs to support careers in venture. More than 500 women are in an All Raise VC cohort. And its VC Careers program reaches 4,000 subscribers interested in job opportunities in venture. Crunchbase data shows that funds raised by female-founded venture and micro-venture firms will exceed $7 billion in 2021, an all-time record.
All Raise has established chapters in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and is launching chapters in Washington, D.C., and Miami in 2022. It is in the process of finding a new CEO, an open process to ensure that a broad set of candidates are considered.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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