As this summer’s news cycle has shown, one reason why female founders receive so little funding is because there aren’t enough women on the other side of the table. A Toronto-based organization called SheEO is trying to change that dynamic by, well, setting up its own table. Following a successful pilot, it’s now opening up its funding model to women in the United States.
“The reality is, the vast majority of women don’t need venture financing,” SheEO founder Vicki Saunders wrote in a letter announcing the expansion. “We need a different model of support and funding. ”
Launched in 2015, SheEO does exactly that, bringing together 500 women—dubbed Activators—who each put $1,100 toward the fund. (Saunders describes this as “radical generosity.”) The group then chooses five women-led “Ventures” to invest in, each of which must generate revenue and have social impact.
The goal, Saunders says, is to build a $1 billion fund pooled from 1 million Activators—which she claims SheEO is on track to reach by 2025.