10 things to know about SISTAFUND
What is SISTAFUND?
Launched in October 2022, SISTAFUND is a European investment fund with a target of €100 million whose mission is to accelerate equality by funding exceptional women founders and gender-balanced teams. Initiated by Tatiana Jama, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the SISTA collective, and in collaboration with 50 Partners, a start-up accelerator and entrepreneurial fund in Paris, SISTAFUND’s DNA is deeply rooted in entrepreneurship since its inception, drawing on the expertise of a unique community of successful French entrepreneurs.
What are the links between SISTAFUND and SISTA?
SISTAFUND is deeply connected to the SISTA NGO, first of all through Tatiana, who was the initiator of both SISTA and SISTAFUND.
Since 2018, SISTA has been on a mission to bring forth a generation of diverse leaders by reducing the funding gap between female and male entrepreneurs. Some of SISTA's actions consist of supporting and federating entrepreneurs, but also of producing data to shed light on the reasons for this funding gap. The creation of SISTAFUND marks a further step in SISTA’s mission - after reflecting, data structuring, and bringing entrepreneurs together, SISTAFUND goes further to participate directly in the reduction of this funding gap by financing bold entrepreneurs. Both SISTAFUND and SISTA share the same vision, mission and ecosystem.
A percentage of the profits generated by SISTAFUND will be allocated to SISTA NGO, ensuring its long-term viability but also towards non-profit organizations that promote and accelerate equality.
Why was SISTAFUND created?
SISTAFUND was created because the game is changing. Gender equality is fueling discussions everywhere, yet it is not enough. Today, we take a stand to answer female entrepreneurs’ calls and raise Europe’s largest fund dedicated to supporting female and gender-balanced teams. We take action to further prove what studies have already shown: an egalitarian investing approach is linked to better financial performance. Precisely, companies with a female founder performed 63% better than those with all-male founding teams.
What we also noticed is that entrepreneurs who raised a pre-seed, seed or later stage rounds now want to have a committed fund on their side. We are this mission driven fund. On the other hand, LPs, entrepreneurs, C-Levels but also corporates want to invest in impact and gender equality. We are the ones doing it.
It is for all these reasons that SISTAFUND was created. To help write new stories and create value.
How do you ensure your criteria are met?
Few funds, including SISTAFUND, have a quantified gender balance criteria. SISTAFUND will systematically analyze the captable and will only select companies with at least 30% of women in the cap table (at pre-seed stage).
The 30% figure matters as this 30% threshold moves from tokenism to critical mass in a gender-balanced approach. It is unlikely that having 1% of a captable held by a woman will result in a fair and equitable decision-making process during a board meeting. Furthermore, it would not provide the better representation that we seek and work for. However, 30% is not a magic number above which you get a gender diversity dividend and below which you get nothing. 30% is a number that allows us to quantify gender dynamics.
Can an exogenous criterion really have an influence on performance?
We are firm believers that diversity is a driver of performance. Turns out we are not the only ones. Lot of resources indicate that women-led companies perform better.
To name a few, a BCG study (Why women-owned startups are a better bet) shows that while startups founded by women have more difficulty getting funded, they perform better over time, generating 10% more revenue over 5 years ($730,000 compared with $662,000).
In concrete terms, start-ups founded or co-founded by women have better returns on investment. For every dollar funded, these start-ups generate 78 cents, compared to only 31 cents for start-ups founded by 100% male teams.
What is the type of project you invest in?
SISTAFUND invests in companies founded or co-founded by women mainly in France, in the rest of Europe (including the UK), and the United States. While we follow an agnostic approach, we have a few key investment sectors at heart: the future of Healthtech and Wellbeing, Next-generation Finance and Insurance, Sustainability at large and Frontier Tech. We have hand-picked those sectors for two reasons: firstly, we all have a particular fondness for these themes; secondly, our community of investors-entrepreneurs as we like to call them also have a wealth of expertise in these areas - and we love nothing more than connect you with like-minded fellow entrepreneurs to exchange best practices and generate sparks!
However, if your company’s sector is not listed here, that does not mean we are not willing to discuss and invest if there is a match. So… looking forward to receiving your deck.
How much do you typically invest?
Our sweet spot is leading or co-leading pre-seed, seed or early A rounds, investing alongside our VC peers.
We invest early and work with our community of founders and advisors to help companies go further and faster from the very beginning. Our initial investment ranges from ~500k€-3m€ depending on your stage.
What does your investment process look like?
Our decision-making process is full part of our unique value proposition. We need “4 eyes” within the team (partners & associates) to move forward in the process. Then, we connect the brilliant entrepreneurs we are meeting with our expert entrepreneurs-investors (LPs) to start building bridges and challenge the project of our potential portfolio teams. This brings more meaning and a special something to the traditional mechanic.
From there, a more classical process follows between an advisory committee and an internal investment committee. Et voilà!: a collegiate decision is made. And because we see ourselves as a long-term partner, we reserve part of our funds to follow you on your next rounds.
How do you work with your portfolio?
As entrepreneurs ourselves and as a mission-driven fund, we are committed to supporting the startups in our portfolio, whether we have a board seat or not. In any case, we aim to be the egalitarian companion of the captable.
While our community is really part of the “SISTAFUND Product” we offer, we also like to get very hands-on in some areas, usually overlooked by investors:
1. Communications, PR & branding to help you navigate this crowded tech ecosystem and get your voice heard;
2. Public affairs to work together to make the world and our societies a better place by moving further and faster;
3. Sales strategy to help you reach the right person at the right time with the right product.
In short, we like to remind that while investment is about financial impact, it is also about societal impact. We will do everything we can do to help you follow that road. That’s what we like to do at SISTAFUND.
Who are the investors behind SISTAFUND?
We are a team of passionate investors who share the same values and mission: reveal founders who overcome adversity, shake up conventions and summon the future to challenge the present. You can meet the whole team on a dedicated page : https://sistafund.com/#team
Furthermore, SISTAFUND relies on a community of exceptional entrepreneurs, experts on each of their themes. Steve Anavi (Qonto) and Jean Daniel Guyot (MemoBank) speak on the Fintech side, Nathalie Balla (La Redoute) and Adrien Nussenbaum (Mirakl) support the Consumer-related start-ups. Clément Buyse (PeopleDoc) and Nicolas Hernandez (360Learning) support entrepreneurs on the SaaS theme, and Céline Lazorthes (Leetchi, Resilience) and Jonathan Benhamou (PeopleDoc, Resilience) lead conversations for the Healthtech portfolio.