An Austin-based venture capital firm co-founded by two women executives has closed on its first big fundraising round from investors.

Sara Brand and Kerry Rupp closed their $19.1 million first fund just over two years after Brand founded Austin-based True Wealth Ventures in September 2015.

True Wealth Ventures is a mission-driven VC firm. Brand and Rupp target women-led companies in health care or that make sustainably sourced consumer products. It has invested in two companies: BrainCheck Inc., a Houston-based maker of software that measures brain health, and UnaliWear Inc., an Austin startup that sells a smart watch to help senior citizens living independently and people with physical limitations.

They seek to disrupt a funding ecosystem in which Brand and Rupp said women-led startups account for just 2 percent of VC funding, despite evidence they cite that women make 80 to 85 percent of health care and consumer-buying decisions. Multiple studies and reports during the past seven years have found that companies led by women or with women on the executive team outperform those that don’t.

2016 Harvard Business Review report found that women-led startups that receive funding from women VCs have a 32.1 percent higher exit rate.

“In venture capital, women-led companies require less capital while delivering higher returns,” Brand wrote for Forbes in October.

Brand said it is an “economic imperative” that more women become involved in early-round funding of women-led startups. A 2014 report by the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation concluded that women will control the majority of U.S. investable assets by 2030.

More than 80 percent of the investors in True Wealth Ventures’ $19.1 million fund are women, which Brand said is unprecedented. Rhone McCall is one of them.

“It was something I couldn’t say no to,” said McCall, owner and president of ProperCare, an Austin company that provides aging adults care management services.

She decided to invest in December 2016 after learning from Brand the landscape for women-led companies and VC funding.

“This is about women-empowerment and moving women ahead,” McCall said.

Original article posted here.