Bank of America and Melinda French Gates back female-founded VC Cake Ventures on the new $17M fund

Cake Ventures
Image credits: Cake Ventures

Cake Ventures, a San Francisco-based Seed stage venture firm, has launched a new fund — Cake Ventures Fund I at $17M. 

The limited partners who backed this fund include Cendana Capital, Foundry Group, First Close Partners, Bank of America, Plexo Capital, Insight Partners (backed Banked), Screendoor, and Pivotal Ventures (a Melinda French Gates company).

In addition to these foundational LPs, Cake Ventures claims that over 25% of the LP dollars in this fund were contributed by female LPs, many of whom are women of color, including Bernadette Aulestia, Wayee Chu, Bulbul Gupta, Arlan Hamilton, Kimberly Marshall, and more.

“Women have been underrepresented in the financial opportunity created by venture capital — both as equity holders on cap tables and as limited partners at venture funds, and I am especially incentivised to deliver financial wins for these women who have trusted me with their capital,” says Cake Ventures. 

Plans to invest in 25 companies

With the latest fund, Cake Venture will invest in 25 companies with cheques from $250K-$500K.

Cake Ventures says it has already invested in 12 companies in the US & Canada. The company also claims that 66% of its investments have been outside Silicon Valley.

Founded by Monique Woodard, Cake Ventures invest in pre-seed and Seed stage companies in North America. The VC focuses on investing in consumer businesses and the B2B and enterprise companies building the backbone of these industries.

Woodard serves as the firm’s founding partner and managing director but plans to hire a junior investment staff and venture partner later this year.

The US VC has invested in various companies, including

  • Most Days: A behavioral health platform that helps people create healthy habits that extend quality and length of life 
  • Guaranteed: A company using technology to reimagine hospice care and end of life.
  • Bright: An AI-powered immersive training and skills development for an evolving workforce.

Initially, Woodard aimed to raise $20M, however, she chose to close the fund and move forward with less, reports Forbes. 

 “I’ve said before that raising a fund is doing venture capital on hard mode. And raising a fund as a woman is like crawling through glass, and raising a fund as a Black woman is like crawling through glass with no clothes on, and then they pour fire ants all over you,” she says. “So it was always going to be hard.”

“The companies I look for tap into a deep-seated user need or behavior and rarely ones that are ‘artificially gated’ to a surface-level user type,” says Woodard. 

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