Anu Duggal, the founder of VC firm Female Founders Fund, backs a company founded by former VC Lisa Skeete Tatum and Care.com CEO Sheila Marcelo, telling Women’s PE Briefs that she was “really attracted” to the problem that the duo is solving: how to re-engage women who left the workplace. Landit, which creates a personalized career playbook so women can unlock their full talent and skills, secured $2 million in seed funding from a group that, in addition to Female Founders Fund, included NEA, Cue Ball Capital and XFund. Lisa tells Women’s PE Briefs that the company’s investors also include some women angels — including one prominent private equity investor — but their names are not being disclosed at this point.
Beyond helping women return to work, Landit also seeks to help women looking to transition to a new opportunity or excel in their current role. Lisa, a former general partner with health care venture firm Cardinal Partners, said that “the key inflection point” that ultimately led to the creation of Landit “was the process of deciding if I was going to stay in traditional investing or find a path that also allowed me to bring my passion for creating access and opportunities for others.” This decision, she added, was “not as easy as one would think!” Lisa said that, during this period, she encountered “so many experienced, talented women who were also trying to figure out what was next for them.” These women, she explained, often “weren’t sure where to start or where to go.” The “opportunity and the numbers are massive,” she said. “On the one side, you have women seeking opportunity and wanting to excel, and, on the other side, you have companies who have challenges recruiting, developing and retaining diverse talent. From our perspective, this is a market failure with huge potential.”
Landit estimates there may be more than 40 million professional women who find themselves at such a crossroads and face the same question: Where do I start? Landit offers users resources, personalization, and, perhaps most important, a human touch. Landit users will receive insight on relevant opportunities and skill development, ways to define one’s brand, access to resume reviewers and coaching.
Lisa was a classmate of Sheila at Harvard Business School and the two were members of the 2012 Class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute. Sheila, who spoke at last year’s Women’s Private Equity Summit, founded Care.com and took it public on the New York Stock Exchange in early 2014. The Waltham, Mass.-based company has developed an online service for hiring nannies and other at-home caregivers. Lisa said that Sheila “is the perfect thought partner,” and is serving on Landit’s board, but that her “work responsibilities” are with Care.
Anu said she liked the fact that Landit’s platform helps women “assess their skills and opportunities to return back to work.” F Cubed, as Anu’s firm is more commonly known, focuses on female entrepreneurs. The firm recently added a second partner: Sutian Dong. F Cubed has been investing from a $5.82-million fund raised in 2014. Its investors include Sheila. Anu created the fund to prove the thesis that, when you invest in women, you get great returns. F Cubed’s investments include: Viyet, Inc., an online site selling curated, pre-owned furniture that was founded by Elizabeth Brown; ELOQUII, an online plus-size apparel company headed by Mariah Chase; Lover.ly, a wedding site founded and run by Kellee Khalil; Maven, a women’s health company founded by Katherine Ryder; Culinary Agents, a job-matching, networking and mentoring site for food service and hotel professionals that was founded by Alice Cheng; Zola, an online wedding registry whose co-founder and CEO is Shan-Lyn Ma; and InVenture Capital Corp., which was founded by Shivani Siroya, and makes it possible for people in Africa to make loans and get loans via their cell phones. https://beta.landit.com/.
This article originally appeared in Women’s PE Briefs on March 4, 2016.