ALIAVIA Ventures, a venture firm founded by tech veterans Marisa Warren and Kate Vale, is making strides in closing the funding gap for female founders in Australia and the U.S. The firm’s mission is to invest in female-led startups and help them bridge the gap between the two markets. Today, ALIAVIA announced the close of its first fund, amounting to $13.5 million AUD ($8.7 million USD). Notable investors include Trawalla Group founder Carol Schwartz, Tattarang (the Forrest Family Office), the Wollemi Capital Group, Euphemia, Up Bank founder Dom Pym, and Zip Co managing director and group CEO Cynthia Scott.
ALIAVIA Ventures, a venture firm founded by Marisa Warren and Kate Vale, is addressing the gender funding inequalities faced by female founders in the U.S. and Australia. Its first fund, worth
3.5 million AUD ($8.7 million USD), aims to invest in and support female-led startups, particularly those looking to bridge the Australian and American markets. ALIAVIA provides funding, guidance, and assistance in navigating the complexities of scaling and expansion, helping these startups succeed in a male-dominated tech landscape.
Investing in Female-Led Startups
Since its launch in 2021, ALIAVIA has invested approximately AUD $8.4 million into nine female-founded startups. These include at-home genetic testing startup Eugene, online training platform HowToo, culture AI startup Othelia, and art-streaming startup Loupe. The focus is on Australian and American pre-seed and seed stage startups with at least one female founder building a B2B or B2C tech company. ALIAVIA specifically looks at verticals such as health tech, fintech, edtech, HRtech, media, and entertainment. With the typical check size ranging from US $250,000 to $750,000 for its first fund, ALIAVIA also offers follow-on funding. Lead deals are preferred by ALIAVIA, as they understand the challenge many female founders face in finding lead investors who can help attract other investors.
Supporting Expansion and Navigating Challenges
ALIAVIA’s investment approach goes beyond funding. The firm provides advice and guidance to their portfolio companies, assisting with market expansion, fundraising, and exit strategy plans. For example, ALIAVIA has supported Sydney-based online training platform HowToo in their expansion into the U.S., helping the team navigate the complexities of the American market and secure key customers like Hubspot. ALIAVIA’s expertise and network aim to give Australian startups the necessary traction and presence in the U.S., which often piques the interest of American investors.
A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Marisa Warren, co-founder of ALIAVIA Ventures, is driven by her belief that diversity and inclusion are crucial for the growth and innovation of the tech industry. Warren’s previous experience in the corporate world highlighted the lack of female mentorship and support, inspiring her to create opportunities for women in tech. In 2015, she launched ELEVACAO, a pre-accelerator program in New York that supported women tech founders. The program saw 175 graduates who collectively raised over $120 million and achieved three exits in the U.S. and Australia. ALIAVIA Ventures was born out of the realization that funding for female tech founders had dried up during the pandemic and the desire to provide support and opportunities for women in the tech industry.