M12, Mayfield, And Pivotal Ventures Set Up $6 Million Fund For Female Founders Competition

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 27, 2019
  • M12, Mayfield, and Pivotal Ventures recently announced it set up a $6 million fund for the second global Female Founders Competition

Microsoft’s M12 venture capital arm along with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures recently announced the second global Female Founders Competition, which will accelerate funding for women entrepreneurs who are developing B2B SaaS and deep tech solutions. The application process already began and four winning companies will receive a total of $6 million in venture funding along with access to technology, resources, mentoring, and several other benefits.

“Last year’s competition helped highlight that there are innovative female entrepreneurs developing enterprise tech solutions, and they just aren’t getting equal access to capital,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft. “The tech industry can’t afford to keep leaving women’s good ideas on the table. We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition.”

According to Pitchbook, companies founded solely by women received only 2.3% of the total capital invested in startups. And venture capital funding is critical for powering ideas from incubation to the go-to-market process.


“As a firm with a 50-year history of people-first investing, we are always looking for new ways to discover bold entrepreneurs,” added Navin Chaddha, managing director, Mayfield. “We are thrilled to partner with M12 and Pivotal Ventures on this innovative Female Founders Competition, through which we will find and invest in women creating built-to-last enterprise companies. In addition to providing funding, we plan to share our playbook with competition winners on how to accelerate their journey from idea to iconic company.”

Despite the venture capital disadvantage, female founders are continuing to deliver outsized returns. According to a study conducted by MassChallenge and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), women-founded companies delivered over 2 times as much revenue per dollar invested in their male counterparts.

And if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, BCG estimates the global economy could experience up to a $5 trillion boost.

“I am delighted to partner with M12 and Mayfield on this important competition,” explained Melinda Gates, philanthropist and founder of Pivotal Ventures. “Enterprise technology is shaping our world in countless ways, but it will never reach its full potential unless women and their ideas are equally represented within the field.”

The submissions are being accepted until December 15, 2019. And applications are being accepted from entrepreneurs across Europe, India, Israel, Canada (excluding Quebec), and the United States. The companies will be eligible to apply if they have at least one female founder, have raised no more than $5 million in combined equity funding and/or debt loans upon date of application, and and offer or intend to release a product, service, or platform addressing a critical business problem for a global market.

From there, a live finals pitch competition will take place March 18-19, 2020 with the announcement of winners to follow shortly thereafter. Two enterprise software companies will earn investment awards of $2 million each and two deeptech startups focused on substantial scientific and research advances will earn investment awards of $1 million each. You can find more info at FoundersComp.com.