While it’s been observed that the pandemic dampened overall labor force participation rates for women and had a disproportionate negative impact on both female founders and investors, women have also made important gains over 2021, especially in the world of VC. According to a recent Pitchbook report, female-founded companies shattered the previous annual deal value record in just the first three quarters of 2021, and outperformed the broader market when it comes to exit size and timing. What’s more, the number of US-based female check writers has increased by nearly 3.5% since 2019, with women now holding 15.4% of GP positions – while there is much more progress necessary in this area, it’s clear that change is being slowly enacted across the industry.
Last year’s Midas List honored twelve of these leading VCs who have delivered exceptional returns following smart bets on some of the most exciting startups around the world. We are encouraged by the staying power of these women, and hope their leadership is a sign of continued industry progress. We’re pleased to spotlight these women and their activity over the last year that helped secure their place on the Midas List once again.
Partner & CEO
Key investments: Xiaohongshu, Huobi, YatsenGlobal, Meicai, Bolt Financial, DeepGlint, YIT, Nuro
As Partner & CEO of early-stage venture fund ZhenFund, Anna has invested in over 600 startup companies. Since breaking on to the Midas List in 2018, Anna’s continued leading execution and stewardship of the firm’s investments have landed her the highest placement yet at #12 this year. In 2021, these investments included a handful of billion-dollar companies, including lifestyle and shopping site Xiaohongshu. Anna led Bolt’s Series B round in 2018, and that company raised additional capital at an $11 billion valuation at the beginning of this year. Based in Beijing, Fang started her career as an investment banker at JP Morgan’s New York office and worked in corporate business development for General Electric China.
Key Investments: Airbnb, Stripe, Canva, Instacart, Spotify, Plaid, Snap, Uber, On, Pinterest, LegalZoom, DocuSign
A perennial leading VC on the Midas list for much of the past decade, Mary Meeker is a founding general partner at BOND, where she focuses on high-growth technology companies for the firm she helped found after leaving Kleiner Perkins. She’s made countless high-profile investments, including in Airbnb (which went public in December 2020), Slack (acquired by Salesforce for $27.7 billion in July 2021), and Canva, which raised funding at a valuation of $40 billion in September 2021, making it one of the world’s largest privately held companies.
Most recently, BOND closed its second fund in 2021 with $2 billion in capital and its third fund in 2022 at $2.5 billion. Since last year’s Midas List, BOND has made several investments, including Eucalyptus’ $60 million Series D round and Ironclad’s $100 million Series D round.
Cofounder & Managing Partner
Key Investments: DoorDash, Guardant Health, Gusto, Branch Metrics, Aurora Solar, Heap, Affinity, Senti Bio, Memebox
Mar Hershenson had an impressive resume before joining the Midas List in 2019 following an early bet on DoorDash made with her Pear Ventures co-founder Pejman Nozad. She received a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford, taught there for nearly a decade, and founded three successful startups. She returned to Stanford as a lecturer in 2021, but that hasn’t distracted her from her work at Pear – Heap and Branch Labs topped $1 billion valuations last year, and HR platform Gusto closed in on a $10 billion valuation in August. Most recently, Pear has participated in SZNS’ $4 million Seed round and Axle Health’s $3 million Seed round.
Key Investments: Xpeng, Kingsoft Office, Agora, Didi Global, Zuoyebang, eHang, Momenta, Keep, TodayCamera
Since Jenny Lee joined Menlo Park-based GGV Capital in 2005 as its first China office head, she has cemented her reputation as one of the most respected VC investors in the country – and the world. Her focus on hot sectors of China’s flourishing tech scene (edtech, robotics, AI and EVs) have yielded handsome returns, and portfolio companies like EV manufacturer Xpeng are giving their American peers a run for their money. Jenny’s expertise reaches far beyond China – in October, Singapore’s state-run investment firm Temasek Holdings named her to its board of directors. She also recently participated in Next Gen Food’s $100 million Series A and is expected to help the company continue its rapid international expansion.
Founder and Managing Partner
Key Investments: Chime, Faire, Warby Parker, Hims & Hers, Glossier, Curated, Prose, Flow Commerce, HotelTonight, Homebase, The Farmer’s Dog
Kirsten Green continues to ascend the Midas List through her role as founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures, which she joined in 2010 after stints in banking and angel investing. She sits on the boards of 7+ companies, including Curated, Faire, Nordstrom, Prose, and Glossier. In 2021, her investments in Hims & Hers and Warby Parker paid off, with their respective public debuts via SPAC and direct listing at $1 billion+ valuations. In addition, she was honored on Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women in US Finance list in 2021.
This year, look to Green to help consumer brands bridge the gap and jump into the metaverse – recently, she hinted that Forerunner has made a number of undisclosed investments in the space, and said “I think it’s [time to] get in there and start experimenting.” Green is also a founding member of All Raise, an industry organization looking to propel women in the asset class and change the industry from within.
Key investments: UiPath, Miro, Deliveroo, Hopin, Vinted, Xentral
After being a fixture on the Midas List Europe for years, Luciana made her global Midas debut in 2021 on the strength of a portfolio headlined by UiPath. The robotic automation business went public in one of the biggest software IPOs of all time, topping a $35 billion valuation in its April 2021 debut and undoubtedly helping secure her spot on this year’s List.
More recently, Sequoia named Luciana co-head of its Arc program, which seeks to identify “outlier” founders, offer them the mentorship of some of the world’s leading VCs, and back their startups with $1 million seed investments. Luciana has also worked on several of the firm’s investments, including Veed’s $35 million Series A round and Upway’s seed round, as well as the launch of the firm’s latest US/Europe seed fund.
Qiming Venture Partners
Key investments: Gan & Lee, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Venus Medtech, Zai Lab, Sinocelltech, Broncus Medical, Jacobio Pharmaceuticals, CanSino Biologics
Nisa Leung leads healthcare investments for Qiming Venture Partners, which has over $6 billion under management. She has played a central role in the biotech boom in Hong Kong and China, leading investments in cutting-edge companies like Gan & Lee, which recently began the first human trials of biosynthetic human insulin from a Chinese company. Notably, Leung helped lead four rounds of investment in New Horizon Health prior to its public offering in 2021, which saw shares oversubscribed 4,133 times, making it the most oversubscribed stock in the HKEx history. She also helped lead Qiming’s participation in Abogen Bioscience’s $700 million round last year.
Key investments: Meituan, Beike, Huochebang, Mobike, Youzan, Yitu, Bairong
Jing Hong first made the Midas List in 2021 as the highest debuting China-based investor. After entering the world of VC at General Atlantic and later becoming a partner at Hillhouse, Hong launched Gaocheng Capital, which now has over $700 million under management. According to Hong, the software-focused fund looks to invest in founders that “have a very long-term vision, are patient about building up the organization, and creating a huge opportunity for their business – not just a quick win.” She demonstrated this philosophy with Gaocheng’s recent Series B investment in GWT, a commercial water purifier developer that seeks to modernize the industry and reduce plastic.
Cofounder & Partner
Key investments: Lyft, Bolt Financial, StarkWare, Monthly, Refinery29, Accompany, Emotive
Ann Miura-Ko cofounded Floodgate Capital in 2008. After an early $1.2 million investment in Lyft, she saw a 10,000x return when the company went public in 2019 at a $24 billion valuation. She was also an early backer of Refinery29, which was acquired by Vice Media for $400 million. Miura-Ko also made early investments in fintech decacorn Bolt Financial and blockchain startup StarkWare, which hit a $6 billion valuation just this month. She sits on the board of trustees at her alma mater Yale University and serves as co-director of a tech leadership fellowship at Stanford, where she received her PhD in quantitative modeling of computer security. She is also a member of All Raise alongside fellow Midas Lister Kirsten Green. In 2021, Miura-Ko was named to Barron’s list of 100 Women Shaping the World of US Finance.
Key investments: UiPath, Revolut, Wise, Hopin, Sorare, Pleo, Wefox, Curve, Rossum
Reshma Sohoni co-founded Seedcamp in 2007 and has backed hundreds of successful startups over the past decade. Previously named to the Forbes Midas List Europe, this is her first year breaking onto the global Midas List. In 2021, Seedcamp’s portfolio companies collectively raised over $5 billion, more than 2x any other year in the firm’s history. It has invested in more than 50 companies in the past 12 months.
Recent exit highlights include UiPath, which went public in April 2021 at a $31 billion valuation, and Wise, which reached a valuation of $11 billion in its London direct listing in July 2021. In 2021, Sohoni also branched out into the world of DeFi, participating in the $680 million Series B round for Sorare, a fantasy football (soccer) platform based on NFTs.
Key investments: BOSS Zhipin, Dianping, Meituan, Three Squirrels, Chehaoduo Group, Mafengwo, Liangpin Puzi, Xiaozhu, NOME
Kathy Xu founded Capital Today in 2005 and has since made a name for herself as “China’s Queen of Venture Capital.” The more than 25-year venture veteran was an early investor in JD.com, which went public in 2017 and was valued at $59 billion in 2018, as well as Three Squirrels Snack Food, Bestore Snack Food Chain, and Meituan Dianping, all of which have gone public in recent years.
Xu’s venture firm Capital Today saw consistent gains across its portfolio in 2021, with community shopping platform Xingsheng Youxuan reaching a $4 billion valuation following a $2 billion funding round. She also made her first investment in robotics, jointly leading Gaussian Robotics’ Series C alongside Softbank’s Vision Fund.