Ulu Ventures is a venture capital firm founded in 2008 by married couple Clint Korver and Miriam Rivera in Palo Alto, California. The firm invests in companies at the seed stage, believing it is "the highest leverage point to help people by creating valuable technology, generating profit, and leaving a dent in the universe." Ulu uses decision analysis tools that reduce implicit human biases when making capital allocations. Ulu Ventures is the first Latina-led venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. As of June 2022, the firm has almost $1.2 billion in assets under management (AUM).
The idea for Ulu Ventures originated from three key observations that led to three big ideas. The first observation was that founder-led companies have played a major role in shaping the world around us. This formed the idea that changing the world starts by investing in early-stage founders who possess the insights and energy to do so. The second observation is that nearly all of the capital and support needed by start-ups is managed by white males, a factor that can limit opportunities for potential founders of diverse backgrounds. Ulu Ventures combats this through its second idea: looking for founders where others don't. The third observation is that while there is an accepted and validated body of practices for evaluating standard investment decisions, early-stage venture capital investment decisions are best made through pattern-matching and following previous formulas for success. This gives way to the third big idea, which is to use the same proven practices for making big decisions in environments of uncertainty to make venture capital decisions in the same environment.
The name "Ulu Ventures" was created by cofounders Korver and Rivera in honor of Hawaiian culture. The two had personal memories in Hawaii together and wanted to choose a meaningful word from the culture to name their company. They chose ulu, the figurative meaning of which is "to grow, to inspire, to be possessed as if by a spirit or god." The company is located on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.
Ulu Ventures uses data analysis tools to make its investment decisions. The firm creates a market map with its entrepreneurs that shows quantifiable measures, such as their target market, competition, and expected changes over time. Ulu also uses an internal decision model that accounts for factors like the company's market share, revenue potential, and team risk. This provides Ulu with a weighted Multiple on Invested Capital (MOIC), which it uses to make its decision. As of May 2021, Ulu has 160 active investments. As of 2022, it has almost $1.2 billion in AUM. More than 75 percent of the entrepreneurs of Ulu's investments are members of minority groups.
Ulu primarily invests in companies providing enterprise information technology (IT), including in the FinTech, EdTech, and legal fields. Ulu's investments include Ellevest, Taulia, HEVO, Allocate, Hey Jane, Pontoro, Ioogo, Dwellsy, Wholesail, SALT, Onuu, MarkovML, Beam Impact, Juice, Guild Education, Rever, Welcome, Syndicate, Lex Machina, NovoEd, FairStreet, Coding Dojo, Ketch, VerImmune, OCHO, and Genesis Therapeutics.
Associated Investment Funds
Funding Rounds Participated In
Investor Series - Miriam Rivera, VC, Ulu Ventures - RBL1 Live
June 26, 2020
Q&A: Managing Director and Founder of Ulu Ventures on diversity in VC
September 14, 2020
Say Bye to Bias: Why Ulu Ventures Relies on Analytics for Better Portfolio Picks
October 17, 2018
Ulu Ventures Soars Above its Target By Raising $138 Million As One Of The Largest Latina-Led Firms
May 17, 2021