Yumi is going the special purpose vehicle route for an all-female group of investors to back the organic baby food startup. (Credit: Yumi)
Yumi is going the special purpose vehicle route for an all-female group of investors to back the organic baby food startup. (Credit: Yumi)

For companies that want to prioritize adding more women to their top ranks and investment portfolios, perhaps they can follow Yumi’s lead.

The California-based, female-founded baby food company announced last month a $67 million Series B funding round — but what makes this funding round stand out is that it features a female-led special purpose vehicle. SPVs, as they’re called, allow a group of investors to pool their money into a single company — which allows more freedom for venture capitalists to back companies that may be outside their typical portfolio.

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Yumi, which offers an array of organic and chef-inspired baby meals, is trying to use its SPV specifically to foster more gender equity in investing.

The startup’s SPV is led by an all-female team that includes 70 new investors and firms, according to Fast Company. The company plans to use the SPV to offer investing opportunities to women at a 20% discount.

“Having more women investors is wonderful for us because it expands our network, and the whole goal is to get more women involved in venture capital,” Sarah Marie Martin, chief financial officer of Yumi, told the news outlet. “Getting more seats at the table for better investment opportunities, to get more women-founded businesses funded by women.”

Investors in the SVP — led by Desiree Gruber, founder and CEO of creative agency Full Picture and co-founder of DGNL Ventures — include executives from Goldman Sachs, the NFL and Nasdaq.

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“Closing the gender equity gap is long overdue, so it’s inspiring to see a company level the playing field and flip its cap table with a powerful group of female investors,” Gruber said. “This SPV shows that there are tools and communities out there for people who want to see change in this industry.”

According to Investopedia, the most common kind of holding within a special purpose vehicle are property-based investments. But Martin said she hopes this prompts other companies to use SPVs for the purpose of closing the gender gap in investing.

“It’s such a great opportunity to make ourselves better and help solve our own problems as women,” she said. “I’m so excited because I don’t want this to just be us.”

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