Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Pocket Sun, the co-founder and managing partner of SoGal Ventures. Let’s learn what’s happening at SoGal Ventures and how Pocket Sun is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Pocket, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is SoGal Ventures addressing?
Pocket: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Building the largest global community of women entrepreneurs, SoGal takes an ecosystem approach to address systematic gender inequity. When my co-founder and I met in 2015, women entrepreneurs only received 2% of all venture capital funding. Seven years later, that number remains the same. SoGal has reached 130,000+ women entrepreneurs across 50 cities, trained 150+ women angel investors, and our GPs have underwritten 150+ deals. We’ve invested in 100+ startups across the US, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Africa.
Spiffy: How impressive! What motivated you to work on SoGal Ventures?
Pocket: Our mission is to redefine the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and investors by investing in world-class women and diverse founding teams who are building iconic businesses of the future. Our motivation is to open doors and democratize access to the traditionally inaccessible high-return asset class, so the tech industry can evolve and grow into a more equitable system that rewards the top talent of all backgrounds. Our portfolio companies benefit people, society, and the planet.
Spiffy: I love helping planets too! How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Pocket: Since 2015, SoGal Ventures has been developing a new generation of investors that is the majority of women and people of color—and we’re making money for them. We’ve raised over $40M of capital in supporting women and diverse entrepreneurs, made 100+ high-impact investments that innovate towards a better future, built and supported 79 city chapters on 6 continents in the past seven years, and provided education, resources, and content for 220k+ women entrepreneurs and investors around the world.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on the community?
Pocket: SoGal has built a global community. It is making transformational changes in the venture capital industry. My co-founder, Elizabeth, and I have helped thousands of women and POC leaders in SoGal’s training programs and educational webinars that teach people about venture capital from a career/life perspective. We also make a deep impact through how we deploy capital— in our Fund 1, 95% have at least one female co-founder. Our Black Founder Startup Grant Program has awarded sixty $5-10k grants to Black women & non-binary founders.
Spiffy: That’s a lot of ideas and impact. Tell me about one inspiring startup that your organization has helped to advance its impact.
Pocket: Jasmine Jones of Myya.com inspires me. We were the first ever investor in the company in 2020.
Spiffy: I cannot wait to learn more. Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience about venture capital?
Pocket: Diversity has helped us achieve top-of-industry returns. Our portfolio is made of 100% women and diverse founders who are creating much-needed solutions for problems that matter. Our fund performs better than 90% of US venture capital funds. It’s time to shift our gaze from the typical white males that receive funding for their startups at the snap of their fingers. The strides we make at SoGal are in the hopes that one day women are a mainstay in the venture capital industry and are no longer considered the minority.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Pocket—it’s been an honor!
Pocket Sun is the co-founder and managing partner of SoGal Ventures, the first women-led, next-generation global venture capital firm. She is a visionary leader with global influence and extensive experience working with startups across the world. Pocket has been featured in Forbes, BBC, CNBC, Fortune, Bloomberg, Inc., and more. (Nominated by the Ladderworks team. First published on the Ladderworks website on September 22, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jason “Jackson” Block. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.