The technology industry’s severe gender imbalance in favor of men is both well documented and well discussed, but so too is the re-balance that’s been occurring over the past few years. Women haven’t just been entering technology fields in unprecedented numbers, they’ve been taking leadership positions as well. In fact, even female-led venture capital firms are starting to grow.
Aspect Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that focuses on making early-stage investments, has raised its first institutional fund—a significant milestone for one of the few firms led by women in a male-dominated industry. Founding partners Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw say they are investing in the mobile marketplace, focusing on security, health, and “millennial-focused” services. Today’s announcement comes slightly ahead of schedule. The two prominent investors shocked the industry when they announced in February, 2014, that they would be leaving their big-name VC firms to launch their own venture. At the time, they had been prepared to run Aspect for about 18 to 24 months with their own money, but because there was such a strong market reception, Gouw says, they felt comfortable moving that timetable up. “For me and Jennifer, Aspect is our startup,” Gouw tells WIRED. “With this fund, we’re able to keep focusing on what we’re excited about in the market.”