Why W Fund?

Our team knows two things really well - the tech startup space, and inclusion in that same tech startup space. Both of them need changing, and at many different levels.

The W Fund is structured to make the biggest impact it can on as many of those levels as possible. A few ways we do this:

-- Directly investing in outstanding companies led by innovative leaders from underrepresented backgrounds

-- Supporting portfolio company diversity and inclusion of employees, workplace, board, advisors and investors

-- Establishing VC-in-Residence, carry-holding investment positions to open a path to VC for people who would otherwise not have that access

-- Diversifying our own Limited Partners, providing them with investing, operating and leadership skills-building programming, and equipping them to be inclusive in activities outside our fund

We've seen firsthand the power of underestimated founders, and we know our next $1B companies will be led by women and underrepresented people. We have a singular focus on fueling a more powerful and representative future for the world, and access to the best-of-the-best.

Our investment thesis

We invest in traditionally underfunded founders who build innovative, profitable technologies and companies that will generate big returns.

 

We focus on Pre-Seed through Series A companies, with the bulk of those being Seed. We also reserve a portion of our capital to invest in proven portfolio managers who share our mission and vision, and have a successful track investment track record.

 

At least 70% of our investments will be in women-led startups. Of that 70%, at least half will go to women who also come from another traditionally underestimated group.

 

The remaining 30% must have one of more of the following characteristics:

-- Founder from a traditionally underestimated group, such as race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ identity, socioeconomic status, nationality, age, or location.

-- Solution focused on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion.

-- Solution focused on solving problems for traditionally underserved people.

Our portfolio strategy

We care about profitability over hockey sticks, healthy growth over stacked venture rounds, and don't rely on a small handful of our portfolio companies to contribute to positive fund performance.

 

We look for technology founders who have a confident path to profits, are excited about the contributions our investment team, our advisors, our LPs and our network could have on their startup, are 100% committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and care about the well-being of themselves and their team. After all, people are truly the biggest asset a growing company can have.

 

We invest in technology companies that are ethically-forward and are working to make the world better - whether it be by providing more access (that's a big word for us), creating solutions for underserved markets, promoting the positive use of data, or what have you.

-- Some of the things we're excited about: FinTech, EdTech, Health and well-being, AI (with some caveats!), Sustainability and Environmental Tech, AgTech, Big Data (more caveats!), LegalTech.

-- Some of the things we're less excited about: Basically anything that suggests a questionable data and privacy moral compass, Social Media (unless you've got the next, non-evil version of Facebook... we'll take a look at that), HR Tech, AdTech, BioTech.

Investment Team

Founding Partner

Kate Brodock

:: Founding Partner of W FUND
:: CEO of Women 2.0
:: EIR for LaunchNY
:: Mentor for Techstars

Kate is Founding Partner of W Fund and CEO of Women 2.0. She’s lived in the tech startup world for over 15 years, and has played an active leadership role in the women in tech ecosystem for over a decade, having led a global organization focused on women in technology and entrepreneurship as its President for several years.

She’s also COO at Atribute, a corporate EdTech startup based out of San Francisco, an EIR at LaunchNY, and a long-time mentor for Techstars. She enjoys putting her 15-year experience in the tech industry to work advising and mentoring startups.

She was recently CMO of untapt, an AI-driven tech talent marketplace based in NYC and has held the role of Adjunct Professor in PR and Marketing at at Syracuse University.

Kate has spoken at and been featured in numerous places, including SXSWi, Collision Conference, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored, IBT, MSNBC, TechCrunch and Al Jazeera America and writes for Forbes.

She has a BA from the University of Rochester, an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University and an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

When she’s not doing all *that*, she’s a very non-professional (but adventurous!) athlete, an equally as non-professional musician, can be found outdoors in any weather — skiing, biking, hiking, sailing — loves a good meal with bubbly, craft beer and good friends, hilariousness and life. She tries hard to read when she can, non-fiction only. Her husband is a startup-web-developer-turned-beer-guy and they now live on a hops farm in Upstate, NY. She can be found on Twitter at @just_kate.

Founding Partner

Allyson Kapin

:: Founding Partner of W
:: Founder and CEO of Women Who Tech
:: Indie VC Scout

Allyson is Founding Partner at W, and Founder of Women Who Tech. She’s been named one of the “Most Influential Women in Tech” by Fast Company, a “Tech Titan” by the Washingtonian, and “one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter” by Forbes for her leadership roles in technology and social media. Allyson also a VC scout for Indie VC, and the Co-Founder of Rad Campaign, and has helped the largest and smallest nonprofits, foundations, and philanthropists build websites, apps, and national campaigns to power fundraising and grassroots movements.

Her campaigns have been recognized with several prestigious web awards and featured on several top media networks ranging from CNN to NPR to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is passionate about the intersection of social change with online technologies and social communities, a topic she deeply explores in her nonprofit bestselling book Social Change Anytime Everywhere, co-authored by Amy Sample Ward of NTEN. The book is an action-oriented guide that shows nonprofits how to build and mobilize their communities through multifaceted campaigns, and by integrating online channels with offline tactics.

As the Founder of Women Who Tech, she launched one of the largest global programs, the Women Startup Challenge, in partnership with Craig Newmark of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies to disrupt up a culture and economy that has made it exceedingly difficult for women entrepreneurs to raise capital. She’s on a mission to close the funding gap. 

Allyson sits on the Board of Directors for the Women League of Voters. She’s also been on the Advisory Board for the Anita Borg Institute and NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference Planning Committee. She’s a jury member for the Webby Awards and speaks at conferences across the U.S. ranging from SXSW to Personal Democracy Forum, NTEN, and BBCON. Allyson is a contributor to Fast Company and Forbes focusing on trends in technology. 

Partner

Lindsay Karas Stencel

:: PARTNER AT W FUND
:: COO AT LAUNCHNY

Lindsay is a Partner of The W Fund. She is a seasoned dealmaker and true venture fund operator, having managed six venture funds during the course of her career. In negotiating and structuring over 1000+ deals in her VC tenure, she now works to ensure that all W Fund deals are tracking to market standards to put the W Fund in the best possible position to have influence over the portfolio companies’ progress and to permit strong participation in future investment rounds.

As a licensed attorney in multiple states, Lindsay began her venture career on the pure deal side working in big law in in New York. After she obtained her MBA from THE Ohio State University, she shifted to a true venture role in 2008 when she joined NCT Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm based out of Columbus, OH. There she worked her way up the ranks from associate and in-house counsel, to become one of the managing partners and chief legal counsel, making her one of the first female venture capital partners in the State of Ohio. There she has worked with the firm to structure 100s of transactions and proudly assisted the firm in being the top performing venture firm in the Midwest for its vintage years (2008 and 2013, respectively), according to PitchBook. 

Then, in 2016, Lindsay, who is born and raised in Buffalo NY, became engaged with Launch New York, Inc., a Buffalo-based 501(c)(3) venture development organization that works to provide mentorship and funding to seed stage businesses, industry agnostic, in the 27 westernmost counties of the State of New York. During Lindsay’s tenure with Launch NY, the firm has become the most active seed fund in the State of New York (and one of the most active in the nation), with over 60 transactions in less than two and a half years, resulting in Lindsay being awarded the Early Stage Dealmaker of the Year by the Upstate Capital Association of New York for 2018. 

Lastly, Lindsay is an Adjunct Professor at THE Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, teaching 2L and 3L students about venture capital and venture deal structuring. Lindsay also is an active speaker nationally, advocating for diversity and inclusion of women and minorities in finance, as well as instructing licensed attorneys and business people across the country on the establishment of venture firms and venture deal structuring.

In her limited spare time, Lindsay enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her husband and slew of rescue dogs, and doing CrossFit at the gym she co-founded and owns with her husband, CrossFit Westerville.

VC-in-Residence

Corey Ponder

:: VC-IN-RESIDENCE AT W FUND
:: FOUNDER OF EMPACT STRATEGIES
:: POLICY LEAD AT GOOGLE
:: FORMER FACEBOOK AND CIA

Corey Ponder is an empathy practitioner and educator who works with innovative companies and individuals to build safe spaces for inclusive and diverse experiences.  

 Corey believes in the power of human connection and how that drives real impact.  Over his 10 years of professional experience as a policy analyst in the public sector and a program manager and policy professional in the private sector, Corey knows that an emphasis on emotional intelligence—self-awareness, empathy, and interpersonal skills—leads to a more committed, productive, and engaged workforce creating a real impact in the workplace and spaces they occupy.

 Corey has scaled diversity programs across several companies, including with CIA and Facebook, and has developed and facilitated over 50 workshops on allyship, bias, privilege, and building empathy across the tech industry.  He has also spoken on allyship for several organizations, including Chan Zuckerberg initiative, Fitbit, MomWarrior, and Diversability.  He continues to publish on these topics as well, most recently being featured in Fortune Magazine’s raceAhead newsletter.  

 Corey holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Vanderbilt University.

Advisors

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