In a field heavily dominated by men, it’s newsworthy when a venture capital firm led by women raises $64 million with financial backing from several of the world’s biggest banks.
That’s what happened in early January with TMV, a New York-based VC firm led by Soraya Darabi and Marina Hadjipateras.
TMV, formerly known as Trail Mix Ventures, has gotten all kinds of recent attention for its female leadership and the second fund it launched on January 10, whose financial backers include Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Asset Management. That round of funding will allow TMV to transition from an “indie rock VC” to an established institution, in the words of Darabi and Hadjipateras.
The firm has already invested part of the $64 million in maritime digital technology start-ups Portcast and Shipskart. Now it is on the hunt for supply chain and logistics startups – a timely move as the ongoing supply chain crisis continues to result in clogged ports around the world.
In addition to getting financial backing from major banking corporations, TMV has drawn media attention from the likes of Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur. Much of that has to do with the fact that the firm is an outlier in an industry ruled by men – both in terms of management, and in terms of where the investment money goes.
As recently as 2019, only 9.65% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms were women, Axios reported. A separate report from Harvard Business Review found that in 2020, only 2.3% of venture cap funds went to women-led startups.
Darabi and Hadjipateras, who founded TMV in 2016 and now serve as general partners, aim to help change that. According to a Forbes report, about one in three businesses in TMV’s portfolio are co-founded by females. A majority of these businesses are co-founded by someone from an “underrepresented” background based on gender, race, or ethnicity.
TMV’s portfolio includes a wide range of companies that provide everything from pre-marital counseling and organic wine to specialty patient care, swimwear, parenting advice, and student debt services. The firm has more than 40 investments in its current portfolio, of which its main investment areas fall into the following categories:
- Care. TMV invests in companies that provide everything from elder care to pet care, and which also work to ensure that care services are accessible and equitable.
- Financial Inclusion: The focus here is on companies that enable wealth creation, education, and literacy for everyone.
- Logistics: TMV’s logistics investments mainly go to companies that create transparency and efficiency around global supply chains and mobility.
- Future of Work: In this category, TMV invests in companies that aim to create better outcomes for both workers and employers.
- Sustainability: Sustainable investments go to companies that adopt eco-friendly practices throughout the supply chain.
Although Darabi and Hadjipateras come from similar education backgrounds – they were college classmates at Georgetown University – the two bring diverse professional experiences and skillsets to TMV.
Darabi served as Manager of Digital Partnerships & Social Media at The New York Times early in her career. She later co-founded the Foodspotting app, which was acquired by OpenTable and then Priceline, and has been involved in various other entrepreneurial ventures as well.Prior to TMV, Hadjipateras served as VP of Investor Relations for Dorian LPG, a Stamford, Connecticut-based liquefied petroleum gas shipping company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange. While there, she led the in-house roadshow for a $135 million round of financing. She has also worked in venture investments and has spent eight years as vice-chair of the INTERTANKO Environmental Committee, which focuses on environmental issues facing the tanker industry.