InvestHER Ventures is a Chicago-based venture capital firm that focuses on investing in data-driven technology firms and seeks to partner with and invest in female entrepreneurs. Founded in 2016 in Chicago, Illinois, by Cayla Weisberg and Gerri Kahnweiler, it invests in early-stage ventures. While the firm focuses on seed stage funding, they also participate in follow-on rounds as companies look to raise a Series A. InvestHER invests between $50,000 to $250,000 per deal.
Its portfolio of companies includes PartySlate, Caribu, BallotReady, CNote, Wisr Inc, KnowledgeHound, and Artemis. As of March 2020, InvestHER Ventures has made eight investments. Their most recent investment was on January 22, 2019, when PartySlate raised $3M. PartySlate is the first digital platform designed specifically for event professionals for a better way to showcase their work.
The firm has said they do not like pitches, but prefer to have conversations and what they consider to be a less confrontational approach to investment discussions. Furthermore, in order to help the companies in their portfolio, the firm works to help with sales and business development coaching in order to show other venture capital firms that the company has the tools to scale and has built traction in the respective market.
InvestHER looks to partner with companies they feel are dynamic and creative, with at least one female executive with equity interest. They look for earlier stage investments in data-driven technology companies with a B2B component, especially companies in untapped markets. For their partner companies, InvestHER Ventures looks to provide expertise in sales development through an active role and in order to support business growth.
These investments have come about as the firm has found that around one out of three technology startups in Chicago has been launched by a female founder, but less than 3 percent of venture funding has gone to women-led startups. Meanwhile, according to InvestHER Ventures, businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have higher valuations, with 64 percent higher at first funding and 49 percent higher at last funding. These statistics, in part, inform the firm's investing philosophy.
InvestHER was founded by Gerri Kahnweiler and co-founder Cayla Weisberg. Previous to founding InvestHER, Gerri Kahnweiler worked and invested in philanthropy, including a fifteen-year involvement with the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, which culminated in a position as chairwoman of the fund and a representative to the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation-Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. She has also served as an elected official for her community.
Cayla Weisberg, previous to co-founding InvestHER, worked in the Chicago startup community and in scaling startups. This has included a record with sourcing strong female founders with technology-enabled solutions for large markets. Cayla began her entrepreneurial career at age seventeen, with a concierge shopping business that grew to win business from national retail conglomerates. She has also worked for large companies in different roles before she transitioned into venture capital.
Innovation Rally: Cayla Weisberg of InvestHER Ventures
September 13, 2019
InvestHer partner Cayla Weisberg to speak at Accelerate DSM - Silicon Prairie News
May 10, 2017
New Event for Women Entrepreneurs, InvestHER, to Host $10,000 Virtual Pitch Competition - StartUp HERE Toronto
September 18, 2020
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
Cayla Weisberg - Partner - InvestHER Ventures
May 27, 2020
Cayla Weisberg of InvestHer Ventures | Bootstrapping in America
January 26, 2018
Tech Forward: Rebroadcast: Leveling the Playing Field for Female Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts
August 14, 2019