By Neal St. Anthony
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
The Sofia Fund, an investment fund run by women and focused on woman-led firms, has received $3.925 million of capital commitments for its Sofia Angel Fund II.
Sofia invests equity in early-stage, female-headed growth companies that operate principally in information technology, clean technology, health and wellness, and business products and services. The fund expects to concentrate its investing in Midwest companies, and plans to bring resources and expertise to help the businesses in which it invests.
“The Sofia Angel Fund was created because the management team believes, based on its extensive investment experience in growth companies, that there are many exciting women-led growth companies that might otherwise have difficulty finding funding and will therefore benefit from a focused angel fund,” Sofia CEO Cathy Connett, said in a prepared statement.
She added that a recent Babson College study showed that just 9 to 13 percent of venture capital investment goes to women-led, early stage companies. “The Sofia Fund wants to lead the way in changing the pattern of investment in women-led companies.”
A second closing for the new Sofa fund will be held within several months and is projected to bring the total to more than $5 million. The investors are more than 50 individuals, primarily Minnesotans. An original, smaller fund launched by Sofia several years ago is still invested in seven female-headed firms.
In addition to Connett, the management team at Sofia consists of veteran investors and business executives Lisa Crump, Joy Lindsay, Barb Stinnett, and Dee Thibodeau. Connett has an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Harvard.
She is founder of CorConnections, which guides businesses through new initiatives, equity infusions, ownership transitions, and the building of alliances and partnerships.