Challenger to Watch 2017: Brava Investments

Turning gender-based investment on its head. 


“Nothing changes the gender equation more significantly than women’s economic freedom” – Gloria Steinem

It’s well known that the world of investing is a very ‘pale, stale and male’ place meaning that, as a whole, women founders of start-ups disproportionally miss out. 

There are exceptions trying to counter that imbalance, including the Female Founders Fund, Women’s Venture Capital Fund and BBG Ventures (also shout-out to those VC funds investing in underrepresented minority entrepreneurs such as The Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund). However, it is Brava Investments, who make our Challengers To Watch list through their different, but still female focussed, approach to picking their portfolio.

Brava founder Nathalie Molina Niño discovered, through her own experience of investing, that there is a fundamental trade-off being made in the market – ethical investments, including those that focus on women or minority founders, have to be selected from a smaller field of companies, which means you are less likely to reap above average returns.

The pool of possibilities is just smaller. If you have good intentions, and you say, ‘I only want to help women founders,’ you’re less likely to hit the next unicorn, the next Google.
— Nathalie Molina Niño (The Washington Post, 17th Oct 2016)

Instead of prioritizing female owned companies, Brava intends to create a billion dollar portfolio by backing companies whose output will disproportionately benefit women. They are placing bets on those ideas that will affect the many, rather than concentrating on the representation of the few at the top.

As well as putting their money where their mouth is, Brava are getting stuck in at the grassroots -  partnering with the United State of Women to provide entrepreneurship training as part of their curriculum across the USA in 2017. Having closed first investors in late 2016, including huge successful investment partners such as Howard Buffett, and recruiting an impressive board of likeminded experts such as Kathryn Kolbert, we’re interested to see how this new purpose driven model unfolds, and if the experiment pays off. 

Brava Investments was suggested by Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Conference and TEDx Speaker. Follow Kat on Twitter: @KatGordon