Founded in 2021, Cake Ventures invests in areas where the future of technology is being shaped by major demographic changes. It focuses on startups that harness these demographic shifts in the Internet user base: the large population of aging boomers, the increased spending power of women, the growing number of people of color and shrinking number of the white population, said founder Monique Woodard.
“There are massive marketplace opportunities to age in place or manage later stage life finances, or the future of work if people decide not to retire,” she said.
As the U.S. demographics shift to a growing Black, Latino and Asian population, those customers want change in the technology they use and to have greater influence on various internet platforms, Woodard said.
Cake Ventures, based in San Francisco, funds early-stage startups by providing pre-seed and seed funding. Woodard believes that is where “you can have the most impact on a company as an investor.”
“This is the most exciting time to get involved – at the beginning of their journey,” she said. “You can guide them in the direction that leads to them building a successful company.” Founders need advice on their products, introductions to potential customers and a myriad of other topics.
Cake Ventures writes checks for $200,000 to $750,000 and more than half of its portfolio companies are located outside of San Francisco/Silicon Valley. So far, Cake Ventures has raised a $17 m fund, investors include: Pivotal Ventures, Cendana Ventures, Foundry Group, Bank of America, Plexo Capital and Screendoor.
For the past 15 years, Woodard has been an entrepreneur, founder and venture capitalist. Prior to launching Cake Ventures, she worked as a venture scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners and as an advisor to foundations and VC firms like SoftBank, where she continues to advise on the Vision Fund’s Emerge program. Woodard was also a venture partner at 500 Startups where she invested in early stage companies in the U.S. and Africa.
“Diversity is ingrained in our fund, but we don’t have a mandate,” Woodard said,. “We see opportunities in lots of different people.” According to Woodard, 40% of the companies Cake Ventures invests in have female CEOs and 40% have black founders/CEOs.
While venture capitalists remain dominated by white men, change is occurring slowly.
“In order to see diversity in VC-backed startup founders, we need to see diversity in fund managers,” she said. “The numbers continue to be dismal and disappointing, but as we see more Black investors starting their own funds those numbers will shift.”
Cake Ventures has invested in 13 companies since it launched, including Pamper, Rares, Joshin, Most Days, Serif, Snack, Guaranteed, Bright, MedTruly, Gerald, Shop McMullen, and Culina Health and Eli Health.
Name: Cake Ventures
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: Cake Ventures raised a $17 million fund.
What it is: Cake Ventures invests in consumer businesses and, B2B and that focus on the aging population and issues around longevity, the increased spending power of women and demographic shifts based on race.
These three groups of growing internet users represent over $18 trillion in annual market share and are an “increasingly lucrative opportunity for investors,” Woodard said.
What kinds of companies does it invest in? Cake Ventures invests in generational technology companies that will address the needs of a world undergoing massive demographic changes, from consumer products to workforce training.
“We are excited to collaborate with companies using immersive tech to change training and skill building or using tech to change end of life hospice care,” she said. “Companies taking big swings at really big markets.”
Leadership: Monique Woodard, founder and managing director
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