Emmeline Ventures launched in April 2022 with an investment in Clutch Wallet, a provider of web3 and crypto investing services for women. Led by Azin Radsan van Alebeek, La Keisha Landrum Pierre, and Naseem Sayani, Emmeline invests in women-led companies in the healthcare, femtech, and sustainability sectors. The firm is focused on businesses helping women “manage health, build wealth, and live in a cleaner, safer world.”
Before launching Emmeline, the general partners tested their operating thesis with a successful microfund. But investing out of a VC fund requires even more work. To ease the transition, Emmeline partnered with Carta to set up an operational planning model, form their fund, and teach a diverse set of LPs about their obligations as investors.
Building out an operating model for first-time GPs
Launching a debut fund takes months, sometimes years. GPs have to come up with an investment thesis, draft a pitch deck, convince LPs to take a chance on them, and legally register their fund, among other responsibilities. Emmeline and the Carta team worked together to set management fees, project fund and portfolio company budgets, and set up their waterfall distribution system.
Emmeline’s GPs also leveraged Carta’s operational planning model, which helps emerging managers develop the financial tools they need for fundraising, fund management, and liquidity events. “We knew all the [industry terms],” Sayani said. “The model took a lot of what we had and helped us make it much more tangible.”
Radsan van Alebeek said reviewing the operating plan was a “huge pivot point” in planning their fund’s launch. “We got this operating model from Carta,” she said. “It was wonderful.”
An expert guide through the fund formation process
Setting up a venture fund requires hours of paperwork and tough decisions, like whether to structure a fund using a 506(b) or 506(c) exemption. Carta’s fund formation team worked with Emmeline to form the legal entities of their fund.
Pierre said Emmeline considered hiring a lawyer to help with fund formation, given the complexity of structuring a venture fund. But fund formation services from a law firm can be costly—sometimes running north of $100,000. The group instead went with Carta, which charges $10,000 for fund formation services. And they haven’t looked back. Emmeline opted to raise money under the 506(c) exemption, which allows them to market their fund publicly via the press, social media, and other marketing techniques. The partners expect to close the fund in late 2022.
“It really matters who you partner with to get it right out of the gate,” Pierre said. “We’re really happy that we went with Carta.”
White-glove service for a large group of new investors
Emmeline courted primarily first-time LPs with their first fundraising campaign rather than pursue well-known institutional investors. Many of these LPs had never invested in a venture fund prior to their relationship with Emmeline. In the past, these obligations often kept some high-net-worth investors from allocating to VC, making the LP ecosystem less diverse.
Sayani said learning how to educate LPs will help Emmeline be more prepared to onboard investors for any follow-on funds. And it helped them reach their goal of creating a more diverse set of LPs. “Being able to educate LPs, especially new ones, about what it means to invest and what their expectations around capital can look like—that’s what enabled us to bring on the best investors,” Sayani said. “And we were able to do this because of the conversation we had with Carta.”