By Nicole Cobler Austin American-Statesman
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut co-founded SoGal in New York, Singapore and China and have invested in more than 50 consumer tech, enterprise software and tech health companies. This week they added 2 Texas chapters to their list.
SoGal, a network of young, diverse entrepreneurs and investors, is launching an Austin chapter.
SoGal is an organization aimed at promoting investment in startups operated by diverse owners.
The organization's investment arm, SoGal Ventures, calls itself a "female-led millennial venture capital firm." SoGal Ventures invests in early stage startups, including Austin-based health care startup EverlyWell.
Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut co-founded SoGal in New York, Singapore and China and have invested in more than 50 consumer tech, enterprise software and tech health companies. SoGal also launched a Dallas chapter on Wednesday.
The group will host an event at Capital Factory's office in downtown Austin on Thursday, which will include a panel featuring SoGal's Galbut and EverlyWell CEO Julia Cheek.
The pair will discuss tips for fundraising and what company founders can do to gain market traction, according to a news release.
The SoGal Austin chapter will connect diverse entrepreneurs to the wider startup ecosystem and host events, according to Shaydi DeJesus, one of two city leads for the Austin chapter.
Most of SoGal's work is done virtually, and the group will not have an office in Austin, DeJesus said.
"SoGal Foundation is really excited by the diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem in Austin and given our non-profit mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, we couldn't be more excited about working alongside the ecosystem players to increase opportunity in this space," Kelley Henry, SoGal executive director, said in an emailed statement.
And as the group works to improve diversity in the venture capital industry, they're up against stark diversity data.
A 2018 analysis by Richard Kerby, a partner at Equal Venture, found that in 2018, 70 percent of the industry's investors were white, compared to 74 percent in 2016. And Kerby found that women make up 18 percent of investors in 2018, compared to 11 percent in 2016. A majority of female investors are white women, according to Kerby's data.
Sun, SoGal's co-founder, told Fortune in 2017 that the organization began as a community group in a University of Southern California classroom when Sun noticed that there were rarely female guest speakers in her entrepreneurship classes.
Since then, SoGal has founded chapters around the U.S. and Asia, and the group offers a "Gal Boss Bootcamp" and conference series.