By Nancy Dahlberg
On a mission to help build an equitable tech ecosystem, All Raise has launched in Miami.
All Raise is a national nonprofit aimed at accelerating the success of female and non-binary founders, investors, and operators. The organization partners with GET Cities, another nonprofit focused on raising up women in tech that launched last year in Miami and announced its GET Champions program this month. All Raise’s Miami chapter will also arm female and non-binary leaders with access, guidance and support to advance their professional growth. The Miami chapter joins existing chapters in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
During her remarks at the All Raise launch Monday night at Superblue, All Raise Interim CEO Paige Hendrix Buckner said she was “surprised and proud” to learn of the Miami metro area’s progress raising at least $5.5 billion in venture capital last year and landing in the top 10 metro areas, while other tech hubs saw declines. Miami is on the upswing, she said, and there’s no better time to bring the chapter here and get to work.
“Our work at All Raise is more important than ever. We all know what the economy looks like and what happens in economic downturns: Opportunities for women and underrepresented people are slashed. That is not the world we believe in and the evidence shows that is actually the wrong way to go,” said Buckner, referring to research that shows diverse teams perform better than all-male peers.
All Raise, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded six years ago, born out of the grassroots “Me Too” movement, and publicly launched in 2018. It’s now an organization of over 24,000 female founders, investors and operators strong across the country. Miami is also All Raise’s first chapter city where the population is not predominately white male and there could be a real life case study for creating pathways to success for those who are historically left out, said Alexandra Pinckney, Director of Marketing at All Raise, in an interview with Refresh Miami prior to the launch event.
Pinckney said GET Cities shepherded All Raise to Miami. “If we really want to have diverse representation in tech, it’s not the Bay Area. Recognizing that throughout the country there is a huge pool of talent both on the VC and founders side, GET Cities has been our true partner in identifying tech hubs that are budding and burgeoning because it is easier to establish an equitable tech ecosystem from the ground up.”
All Raise has two primary goals. One is to double the percentage of female checkwriters to 18% by 2028, and the second is to increase the amount of early-stage funding going to female founders from 11% when All Raised launched to 23% by 2030. On both goals the organization says it is already more than halfway there, acknowledging that “it takes a village” and there are many other organizations also doing work in this area. All Raise has raised $15 million to pursue its mission.
Still, it’s a formidable challenge, particularly in the Miami area. Nationally in 2022, just 17% of venture capital went to teams with at least one female founder. For all-female founded teams, it was only 2%. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area last year, those statistics were even worse: Just over 11% of the VC capital raised by South Florida companies went to teams with at least one woman founder, and less than 1% went to all-women teams.
It’s something that Laura Maydon, Ascendo Venture Capital Partner, has witnessed first hand. After stepping down from the helm of Endeavor Miami in 2019, she advised startups during the pandemic and noticed how female founders were having a much tougher go of it – even raising $500K when males were seemingly closing deals on WhatsApp. When she began raising money for her own VC firm as a female investor, she experienced that inequity again from the other side. As a big believer in the continued growth of the Miami ecosystem, it’s why Maydon was drawn to support All Raise and become a Steering Committee Ambassador. “We’re already diverse naturally, but we need to be inclusive. Supporting All Raise and GET Cities will be key.”
All Raise now plans to dive right in with programming and chapter events and begin to build out services and resources, said Buckner. “We’re coming to help amplify and boost and to seek and learn from those individuals, those investors, those organizations that have been on the ground the last 10 and 15 years and partner with them. We’re huge on connectivity.”
“The bigger network you can build, the more growth you can see, that’s what I’ve learned in my experiences,” said Marilu Livermore, Partner at Founders Circle Capital in San Francisco and a member of the Miami chapter steering committee. She is a Miami native who moved away 20 years ago to pursue her tech and VC career. As of six months ago, “I’m back and I feel the energy.”
Sharon Holm, founder of Miami-based Sisterverse and also on the steering committee, said she’d love to see All Raise not just expand in Miami, but also to the rest of the South Florida and partner with other organizations there as well as the universities. “I think we’re going to build something really great here.”
All Raise celebrated the launch Monday night with nearly 300 founders, investors, operators and advocates. The event included a panel discussion that featured Francesca de Quesada Covey (Advisor to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Partner at TheVentureCity), Carolyn Groobey (Investor with Florida Funders, Miami Angels and New World Angels), Beatriz Ayala Muniz (Founder & CEO of Musicasa) and LaToya Stirrup, (Co-founder and CEO of KAZMALEJE).
Groobey, a venture capitalist relatively new to Miami, encouraged women in the audience to get involved in angel investing. She herself is part of three local VC or angel groups. Both Stirrup and Ayala Muniz are fundraising, and the Miami entrepreneurs emphasized what Miami’s female founders most need right now are checks. Said Ayala Muniz: “Build your mafia.”
ALL RAISE MIAMI STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- Sharon Holm, Founder and CEO of Sisterverse
- Marilu Livermore, Partner at Founders Circle Capital
- Maria Derchi Russo, VP, Platform and Community at Florida Funders, and Executive Dorector, Refresh Miami
- Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, Sr. Innovation Strategist and Organizational Psychologist; Formerly Cambridge Innovation Center
- Jeanine Suah, Founding Partner at Rezilyent Capital; Expert-in-residence at Brex
- Ali Aly, VC Associate at Black Venture Capital Consortium
- Alexis Alston, Principal at Lightship Capital
- Chisom A’Marie, Vice President/Investor at New Voices Fund
- Sindhya Valloppillil, Co-founder/CEO of Skin Dossier
- Roya Pakzad, Co-founder & Partner at Feminade Inc.
- Laura Maydón (Ambassador), Co-founder and Partner of Ascendo Venture Capital
- Jody Thelander (Ambassador) Founder & CEO of J. Thelander Consulting
- Camille Manso (Ambassador), Principal at Silicon Foundry
HOW TO GET INVOLVED: Sign up here.
All Raise Interim CEO Paige Hendrix Buckner addresses the crowd at the Miami launch before a panel discussion of local founders and VCs. Photo at the top of this post, provided by All Raise, is All Raise team members and its Miami steering committee.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]
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