When I founded Pique Ventures in 2012, it was with a curiosity about how to move money more purposefully and to find out where all the women investors were. “Impact investing” as a phrase was 5 years old. “Gender lens investing” had been coined just 2 years previously, but yet to gain widespread adoption. Pique Ventures started off as a bootstrapped advisory and impact investment consulting firm. In November 2012, I tested out a slow-pitch network format where a handful of investors had 1-to-1 meetings with entrepreneurs. I co-founded an impact venture accelerator before launching Pique Fund. To keep the lights on and cash flowing, I was a senior executive on a consulting basis for an entrepreneurial US-based business for a couple of years.
In 2019, I embarked on Pique Ventures’ most ambitious year. Pique was selected to manage $5 million of capital from an anchor investor, that was meant to catalyze Pique’s second fund (Pique Fund 2). I fundraised solo, all while facing the very biases, barriers, and discrimination that Pique Ventures fought against on behalf of entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, I forged new relationships, won the support of existing Pique investors, and attracted new investors to Pique Fund 2. I fought other business challenges and dealt with the repercussions of people close to me letting me down. Trust was built and broken through this tumultuous year.
All of that to say that 2019 was a tough year. Despite best efforts, determination, creativity, and attempted pivots, Pique Fund 2 did not materialize. I feel incredibly sad and frustrated. The good news is that it wasn’t fundraising itself that was the challenge – I got close.
I gained new skills and confidence around finding fund product-market fit, attracting investors, evaluating risks and opportunities, and making tough decisions amidst changing circumstances. I am fortunate to have met a lot of supportive people and emerging fund managers, many of them women, from around the world. This effort was not in vain and I endeavour to share the insights I’ve gained and the stories I’ve heard along this journey (hint: I’m writing another book). But I cannot ignore how persistent and pervasive biases and barriers exist within our institutions and economic systems. The kind of innovation and action needed to change systems is not to be undertaken alone.
Pique Ventures still manages Pique Fund, the inclusive angel fund founded in 2014, and will continue to support the pioneering investors and entrepreneurs that played a critical and pivotal part in bringing an integrated approach of investing to life.
I may post the occasional update to the Pique Ventures blog, but in the future, I’ll mainly be writing on my personal website. I endeavour to write about gender lens investing, impact investing (and how these lenses can and should be integrated into day-to-day investment and business practices), but also more broadly about integrated decision-making (integrating analysis, emotion, body, and intuition into decisions). I’ll likely weave in work from the books that I’m thinking about or writing. Follow me on Twitter for my latest thoughts and writing.
A great big thanks to Pique Fund investors, Lally Rementilla, Tania Lo, Susan Washington, Jill Earthy, Madeleine Shaw, Amy Robinson, Lisa Princic, Lauren Bacon, Valerie Mann, Thealzel Lee, Christine Ho Miller, and Connie Raddatz and Pique Fund entrepreneurs Catherine Dahl, Christine Sommers, Kirsten Koppang Telford, Jennifer Li Chiang, Jessica Regan, Alexandra Greenhill, Rob Attwell for all their support and encouragement during Pique Ventures’ development. Thank you as well to friends of Pique like Laurel Douglas, Christianne Wilhelmson, Vanessa Lebourdais, Alexis Eizinas, Sophie Marette, Karen Schulman Dupuis, Suzanne Siemens, Paulina Cameron, Alli Riese, Michelle Hoar, Janet Moore, Alicia Medina, Lynn Corrigan, Joy Anderson, Rikia Saddy, Julia Chung, Edoye Porbeni, Stephanie Sang, Stan Hanks, Shawn Smith, and Carey Chow. I’m sure I’m missing some people – I’m sorry if I did and thank you – it takes a village to make change possible.
About Pique Ventures
Pique Ventures is an impact investment and management company. Pique Ventures enables a diverse community of investors to pursue integrated investing. Integrated Investing is a proprietary investment decision-making methodology that we use to help create a better world and was developed specifically to evaluate impact and early-stage ventures.