Mastercard backs Astia to invest £73M in women-led companies

Astia Image credits: Astia

Astia, a Palo Alto-based angel group announces launch of it’s $100m (approx £73 million) early-stage venture fund to invest in startups that include women. Led by Mastercard, the new Astia Fund will invest globally in high-growth companies that have at least one woman in an executive and equity-holding position.

The funds will be used to invest globally in high-growth companies that have at least one woman in an executive, equity-holding position. 

Additional investors include Priya Mathur, past president of the board of CalPERS; Jim O’Neill former chief economist and former chairman of Asset Management at Goldman Sachs; Farvatn Venture; Portola Creek Capital; Tides Foundation; numerous members of Toniic, a global network of impact investors; and other notable LPs.  

Astia Expert Sift

Since its inception, the company has invested over $27 million (approx £20 million) in companies sourced by the Astia Expert Sift, a process developed to eliminate gender, racial, age, and geographic bias in the investment sourcing and screening process.

The Fund offers institutional investors the opportunity to invest in Sift-qualified companies and partner with Astia’s accomplished investment team, Sharon Vosmek, Victoria Pettibone, Evie Mulberry, and Omar Ali. Last year, Astia sourced companies raising more than one billion dollars. 

“There is a great deal of talk about inclusion and women within venture capital, but VCs need to do what they do best – invest,” commented Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia. “With this new fund, Astia systematically invests in under-invested, yet outperforming companies – where women are rightly in positions of power, equity and influence. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it creates better companies and delivers stronger returns.” 

Larry Bettino, Board Chair, Astia, and 30 year veteran of the venture capital industry said: “There is simply no excuse for there to be a ten-to-one disadvantage in institutional funding for women-run businesses. Limited Partners should do their part by expecting their VC funds address this issue as well as Astia has.” 

Ann Cairns, Executive Vice-Chair, Mastercard who’s UK-based, said: “I am proud that Mastercard is the lead investor in Astia’s first venture fund. Too much of our world was designed without women in mind –and without women involved. Even today, inequality and exclusion still hold women back. That’s why Mastercard is forging ambitious partnerships and championing the people, businesses, and innovations that are transforming the way our world works. We know that when women and underrepresented groups are at the leadership table these teams outperform for customers, investors, and companies.”