utah may not be the first state that springs to mind when we think of women-owned businesses, but it certainly draws some attention.
Founded a group of all female angel investors The Artemis Fund having closed their first fund in 2021, they have since moved into their second round of funding. The group is led by three female powerhouses –Diana Murakhovskaya, Stephanie Campbelland Leslie Goldmanwho come to the fund with many years of experience and are active both as company managers and as family caregivers.
In Greek mythology, Artemis is the protector of women and the goddess of the hunt. The name “The Artemis Fund” seems appropriate, given the group’s original inspiration to address the lack of funding for women-owned businesses. In 2021, just 2 percent of the $300 billion in venture capital went to women-owned companies, and just 0.34 percent of the funding went to black women-owned companies.
“People didn’t think there were enough female founders. But in reality, we see upwards of 2-3,000 deals a year made by women,” says Goldman. “Once we get over that hurdle, people are like, ‘Well, what are you starting? Could they make the same returns?’”
A Study 2018 on 350 startups from Mass Challenge and BCG found that female-led companies produced more than twice per dollar invested in higher revenues than their male counterparts. This is of enormous importance in view of the disproportionate distribution of resources between the two sexes.
According to Goldman, the Artemis Fund’s mission is to democratize access to wealth. “We want to enable the leader of the family to pursue her professional dreams and goals while at the same time taking care of her aging parents or her children,” she says.
It was not easy for the founders of the fund at the beginning. “One of my partners grew up in Ukraine, where her family lived on breadcrumbs,” says Goldman. “She fled the country when she was seven. My other partner grew up with a single mother and raised the children herself. At 22, she had 11 jobs. You had to be very resourceful. You saw the fight firsthand.”
When it comes to what they’re looking for in a company to invest in, Goldman is very specific. “We look for companies that fit our mission and are in the sectors we invest in, particularly fintech,” she says. “This is one of the most obvious ways to create financial inclusion. Another is Care Tech – being able to care for aging parents. The third is e-commerce technology as it affects small businesses to monetize the creator economy, like small businesses that need access to smaller tools to generate revenue and keep the business going.”
But not every woman-led company needs venture capital, says Goldman. “Venture funding is when you want to build a scalable business that would create a billion dollar business. Many women-owned businesses are lifestyle businesses—the bagel shop or the hair salon. These are important businesses for our society, but they generally don’t need risk financing. Many small businesses only need bank loans to get started. We are looking for scalable companies.”