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Bumble announces new investments, partners with virtual adviser

Bumble announces new investments, partners with virtual adviser
Bumble COO Sarah Jones Simmer (left) and President and Chairwoman of Alice, Elizabeth Gore (right). [Photos: Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch; Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Bumble]

Bumble, a social app that gained prominence by cajoling women to “make the first move,” is expanding its female-focused mandate by investing in a new round of startups founded by women entrepreneurs.

Bumble Fund, a corporate venture vehicle, today announced early-stage investments in Alice, a virtual adviser for entrepreneurs; Gixo, a digital fitness company; Translator, a diversity and inclusion training system; and Promise, a tech company working to reinvent the bail system. All four companies are founded by women. Terms were not disclosed.

Bumble and Alice also unveiled a partnership that will allow women entrepreneurs to apply for funding from Bumble via the Alice website, and receive advice and mentorship through the site.

Sarah Jones Simmer, chief operating officer, and Elizabeth Gore, Alice’s cofounder, will speak about the partnership and the rise of women-led investing at the Fast Company Grill in Austin this week.

While there are many venture firms now focused on investing in women, including BBG Ventures, Backstage Capital, Bumble Fund, and Bumble-based Female Founders Fund, female founders still garner just  2.3% of total venture investments.

Simmer says the partnership with Alice will allow both firms to support more women. “We have such a small pool of money,” says Simmer. As an early-stage investor, Bumble Fund, founded in 2018, writes checks that range from $5,000 to $250,000. By driving applications via Alice, “we can provide additional resources for these women and small businesses that are trying to scale. It is all about the resources and know-how, and knowing where to turn to get answers.” The fund is now accepting applications for a third round of investments.

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