UBS raises $110m fund to invest in female-led firms

UBS’ wealth management division has raised $110 million to put into a US venture capital fund that will invest in firms in the health, environment and education sectors that are headed or co-managed by women.

The impact investing fund will be managed by Rethink Impact, a venture capital house that invests in entrepreneurs and technology companies and is “particularly focused” on supporting firms that have women in management roles.

UBS cited research showing little capital investment goes to female-led firms. Only three per cent of venture funding goes to companies with a female CEO, despite women-led businesses outperforming others.

On average, firms with 30 per cent female leadership have net revenues that are 15 per cent higher than firms with no female leaders.

“We prioritise financial returns above all else for our clients,” said John Amore, managing director of UBS Wealth Management Americas.

“Yet fundamentally, we believe in companies whose social impact enhances their financial returns and whose financial returns fuel their social impact.

“Our clients increasingly want financial advice as well as innovative solutions to utilise their wealth and resources to address societal issues. As the world’s largest global wealth manager, we are well positioned to guide them and felt that Rethink Impact was a compelling solution given our clients’ investment and impact goals.”

Half of the money for the fund came from UBS clients.

Impact investing can be defined as an investment that is designed to generate a specific positive social or environmental impact as well as a competitive return.

Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, said: "My partner, Heidi Patel, and our team believe that the next generation of extraordinary companies will find success through their diversity coupled with relentless pursuit of mission, for the benefit of all communities.

“There has never been a better time to enter the field of impact investing.

“The problems that these companies address are still so vast, but now we’re seeing more and more seasoned entrepreneurs partnering up with top engineering talent to tackle these issues head on, in a scalable and sustainable way. This creates a ripe opportunity for investment for firms that really understand the sector.”

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