Bumble Fund makes investment and partnership deals with AI-driven startup platform with Houston ties
Rather than just imagining a world where investments made are representative of the diverse population, these two tech companies with Texas roots are teaming up to do something about it.
Austin-based Bumble, a social network with over 50 million users, has reached a deal with Alice, an artificial intelligence-powered platform for entrepreneurs founded by Houstonian Carolyn Rodz and Californian Elizabeth Gore, to use the platform for Bumble's next round of funding.
Additionally — but actually separate from the partnership — Bumble Fund, an early stage corporate investing vehicle focused on businesses founded and led by underrepresented women founders, has invested in Alice in its most recent round of funding.
"We are looking to invest in entrepreneurs whose company purpose solves a problem that disproportionately affects women," says Sarah Jones Simmer, COO at Bumble, in a release. "While we can't fund every promising business and entrepreneur, we strongly believe these companies and founders deserve access to grow, evolve, and thrive. Through community, access to experts, how-to guides, and more, Bumble and Alice are committed to helping women founders find the support and resources they need on their path to success."
The next cohort of fund recipients of the Bumble Fund will be applying through Alice's website, which provides education, support, mentorship and guidance to burgeoning startup founders. Even if applicants don't get funding from Bumble, they leave with a network of resources.
The partnership with Alice will allow Bumble to better connect the dots of its fund recipients using data and AI, and even help to eliminate any bias when it comes to selecting the recipients. The fund is open to all United States entrepreneurs who identify as women. It launched in summer of last year and cuts checks ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, with an average of $25,000.
"For the last several years, only 2 percent of venture capital went to women founders. At Alice and Bumble, we see that as a 98 percent opportunity," says Rodz in the release. "The Bumble Fund, powered by Alice, is that opportunity in action; together, we're going to rewrite the rules of venture capital to be more accessible, more transparent and more supportive for women founders."
Here are all four of Bumble Fund's second round of recipients, according to the release.
- Alice - founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore: an AI-powered technology helping entrepreneurs find the right path to start and grow their companies.
- Gixo - founded by Selina Tobaccowala: a fitness company founded to improve global health and activity rates by democratizing access to live workouts with professional trainers.
- Translator - founded by Natalie Egan: the world's most advanced diversity & inclusion training system for corporations, schools and nonprofits.
- Promise - founded by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins: a technology company that creates cost-effective, equitable, and humane alternatives to incarceration with a mission to get people out of jail and provide ongoing support to help them stay out.
Bumble's first round of investments were in Beautycon, Cleo Capital, Female Founders Fund, Mahmee, and Sofia Los Angeles, a winner of the inaugural Bumble Bizz Pitch Competition.