BBG Ventures raises largest amount yet to back female founders

The women-led firm has raised $57.2m for its fourth fund, whose investors include Mizuho Americas.

BBG Ventures, which focuses on start-ups founded by women, has raised $57.2 million for its fourth and largest fund to date.

A 26 October Reg D filing shows that 16 investors committed to the fund, which has a target of $80 million and has been in the market for about a year. It isn’t clear if the fund has held a final close.

One of the fund’s investors is Mizuho Americas, part of Japanese megabank Mizuho Financial Group, which announced in May that it had committed an undisclosed amount. “BBG Ventures is an astute funder of some of the most promising and innovative early-stage companies that other investors may overlook,” Jerry Rizzieri, CEO of Mizuho Securities USA, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to add BBG Ventures to our investment portfolio and we look forward to a very successful partnership that advances transformative ideas.”

Nisha Dua, BBG Ventures, women-led VC, female-led VC
Nisha Dua, BBG Ventures

Based in New York, BBG is led by managing partners Nisha Dua and Susan Lyne. They did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Dua and Lyne founded BBG in 2014 when they were both executives at AOL (now Yahoo), convincing the company to be the sole LP for its first two funds, which each raised $10 million.

The duo broadened their investor base for BBG’s third fund, which closed on $50 million in March 2021, with commitments from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, State of Michigan Retirement System, Verizon Ventures, Nordstrom, Bank of America, Industry Ventures and Gingerbread Capital, according to a Medium post announcing Fund III.

LPs for the third fund also included more than a dozen individuals, including Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee, Acrew Capital founding partner Theresia Gouw, Owl Capital co-founder and managing partner Jennifer Scott Fonstad, former AOL CEO Tim Armsrong, Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun and ClassPass co-founder Payal Kadakia, the post said.

The firm sets itself apart by investing exclusively in start-ups with at least one founder who is a woman. “We focus on female founders who intuitively understand the dominant consumer, enabling them to address the collective or individual lived experience of the 99 percent,” BBG states on its website. “Female founders are poised to do giant things. We’re here to give them that first, crucial investment.”

Fund III has backed 22 companies, including Alula, which offers products and services designed for cancer patients; Fork & Good, a maker of lab-grown pork; and Personal AI, which has developed a kind of personal AI assistant.

Since its founding, BBG has made 110 investments and achieved 11 exits, according to Crunchbase. Two of the exits came in 2022 through acquisitions. Shine, a self-care app for people with anxiety, was bought by Headspace for an undisclosed price; and Pymetrics, a developer of AI-based software to help with hiring, was acquired by Harver for an undisclosed amount.