Houston VC leaders to empower female founders in fintech, commerce, and care with new $36M fund

Diana Murakhovskaya and Stephanie Campbell are co-founders of The Artemis Fund, a Houston-based, female founder-focused venture capital firm that just announced its $36 million fund II. Photo courtesy of Artemis

In 2019, Stephanie Campbell saw an opportunity in the market — investing in women-led startups, something that wasn't happening at the volume it should have been.

"When we looked around, we really wanted to solve the problem of why women only receive 2 percent of venture capital," Campbell says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

As angel investors, Campbell and Diana Murakhovskaya, co-founders and general partners of The Artemis Fund, saw tons of promising women-led businesses.

"We were finding these incredible female founders who we felt deserved capital to bring their innovations to the market because they're solving big markets and big problems But there was a disconnect in terms of their access and network," she continues.

The other issue, as Campbell explains, was that firms that did have a female-focused angle weren't leading these early-stage rounds. That's where Artemis comes in.

"Our goal was to be the leading firm for these overlooked, underserved markets that have the ability to deliver outsized returns," Campbell says.

Almost five years and around 20 investments later, The Artemis Fund has announced its second $36 million fund to continue to fund female-led upstarts with a tech solution within fintech, commerce, and care — the three pillars The Artemis Fund invests in.

"We really wanted to solve not just problems for women, which is a lot of what we do, but for families, small businesses, and immigrants, which is how we came around to these three verticals," Murakhovskaya says.

She goes on to explain that a significant percentage of adults are a part of the "sandwich generation" — caring not only for their own children, but for their aging parents. Innovations within caregiving can help this generation with their caregiving and maintain their role in the workforce. Additionally, over half the United States workforce is employed by small businesses, but these companies usually lack access to innovative technology.

"We're thinking about what founders are building in these industries to help these businesses thrive and leave these legacy assets to their children," Murakhovskaya says.

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