Northwestern Mutual to dedicate $20 million in VC investment for female-founded startups

The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons
The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

Last updated on October 18th, 2019 at 04:11 pm

As part of its Future Ventures initiative, Northwestern Mutual will dedicate $20 million in venture capital investment to startups founded by women, the company announced Thursday.

The funding allocation will advance the company’s investment strategy of engaging startups whose technologies have the potential to transform how clients experience financial security, as well as increase focus on technological disruption, according to a press release.

“Women play an essential role in financial decision-making for themselves and their families and by investing in women-owned startups, we can create more opportunities for women through a dedication of funds, but also gain strategic insights to better service our clients,” said Souheil Badran, chief operating officer and executive vice president, Northwestern Mutual.

Being based in the Milwaukee area is not a requirement for a startup to receive an investment, a company spokesperson said. Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures investments in startups are typically up to $5 million and are targeted to Series A and Series B rounds.

The Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures fund has invested more than $50 million in 18 startups since it was launched in 2017.

Startups founded by women receive less than 3% of the approximately $80 billion annually generated in venture capital, according to a press release. Companies founded by both men and women receive around 8% of the total capital, which is second to male-founded companies that secure 89% of venture capital invested globally each year.

In the news release, Badran said the VC investment is only the first of many investments, adding that Northwestern Mutual is committed to supporting female entrepreneurs and providing access to capital and resources needed to grow their business.

“Allocating $20 million is only the beginning – we will continue to invest in and provide opportunities for female founders,” Souheil said.

The investment criteria is aligned with Northwestern Mutual Future Venture’s key strategic areas of focus, which include building for consumer’s changing financial preference, re-imagining the client experience, the digital health revolution and transformation analytics and technologies, according to the press release.

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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