Monique Woodard, founder and managing partner at Cake Ventures, a seed-stage fund based in San Francisco, was inspired to start her own fund when she noticed a puzzling pattern in venture capital: the demographics of internet users were shifting—especially among aging populations, people of color, and women—but investment trends weren’t shifting along with them. These three demographics (women, people of color, and aging populations) wield significant influence on the economy and represent the three layers of the “cake” that has become the focus of Cake Ventures.
Monique’s own research report, Grey New World, conducted a survey of Baby Boomers that busted the common VC myth that people over 55 are difficult to reach online. According to the survey data, those nearing retirement age aren’t slowing down; they are speeding up, and so is their affinity for and interest in technology. The Grey New World survey found that 39% of Baby Boomers identify as early adopters of technology. Cake Ventures is looking for new business models and technologies that will meet the needs of this aging consumer demographic across fintech, personal care, mobility, and the future of work.
As Monique states in the podcast, “These demographic changes are really changes to the internet user base; changes to who uses the internet become [changes to] the users of the products that we are building every single day. For a very long time, the technology industry has built products toward one group of people. The fact is that the group of people that we should be building toward is evolving, and we need to evolve our investments along with it. Cake Ventures is happening now because these changes are happening now.”
In this episode of The First Close, we cover:
- Monique’s career as an entrepreneur and investor, including the moment she decided to start her own fund.
- Cake Ventures’ focus on investing in technologies aligned to the demographic shifts in society, including aging populations, women, and the emerging majority-minority U.S. population.
- Why Monique believes now is the time for institutional LPs to figure out strategies for investing in diverse emerging managers in venture capital.