Majority Female Venture Capital Firm Closes Record $500M Fund
The largest ever venture capital fund raised predominantly by females was closed in June of this year. The VC fund of $500 was raised by Oak Investment Partners new launch: OakHC/FT – a venture growth fund specializing in investing in healthcare information and services (HC) and in financial services technology (FT).
Of the three general partners of OakHC/FT, two are women: managing partner Ann Huntress Lamont and general partner Patricia Kemp. The other general partner is Andrew Adams. The fund was raised as part of Oak Investment's strategy of developing capital for investment in specific sectors to build companies that are the top in their specific sector.
This might be regarded as a breakthrough for women in the venture capital business where gender diversity is extremely uncommon. Dow Jones VentureSource and the National Venture Capital Association carried out a survey in 2011 that showed 89% of investors to be male. Recent analysis indicates that only just over 4% of VC partners were female – that is even lower than the 4.6% of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies!
Mainly Female Venture Capital Firm Bucks the Trend
The new launch by OakHC/FT might not indicate a sea shift in this situation, but it certainly bucks the trend of top VC companies failing to employ female venture capitalists in the top jobs. A majority female venture capital company has been unheard of until now, so this is a step in the right direction. Fortune has taken note and states that this is the largest ever first funding round to be raised by a firm with females as the majority of the general partners.
Managing partner Ann Lamont stated that there are currently unprecedented opportunities in the field of healthcare and financial services technology. These have come about through changes in regulation and cost pressures, she said, and global innovations in technology have had a significant impact on these sectors. She goes on to say that OakHC/FT can help to fund this transformation and build on the investment legacy of Oak Investment.
OakHC/FT General Partners
Ann is known as a highly respected investor, and has been with Oak Investment for over 30 years and a general partner since 1986. Patricia Kemp joins her in proving that venture capital is no longer an all-male domain. Patricia joined Oak in 2002 from New York business and consumer services firm, Cendant Corporation. Co-partner Andrew Adams joined from mezzanine capital company Capital Resource Partners a year later. It was 2010 when he became a general partner
Female VCs at partner level appear to be few and far between. Theresa Gouw (Accell Partners) and Jennifer Fonstad (DFJ) had lunch together on Stanford University campus last fall when Fonstad suggested the go into business together. Gouw immediately went with it, and the ultimate result was Aspect Ventures that was launched in February.
The result of this is that Silicon Valley's VC boardrooms are now almost female-free! Not only that, but Aspect Ventures is focusing predominantly on mobile technology, a fact that reflects on the current trend for Silicon Valley firms and products.
It has never been a big secret than women lag well behind men in venture capitalism, although the gap is likely larger than most men believed it to be. Thankfully, there are women such as those above who are bucking the trend and refusing to accept what is believed to be their allotted place in this business!