The Billion Dollar Brew (Austin 2024 Edition) in partnership with Dell Technologies

We were thrilled to return to Austin in partnership with Dell Technologies, Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell For Startups, and Intel, to convene some of America’s leaders in both venture capital and entrepreneurship to kick off SXSW and International Women’s Day.

Against the backdrop of a decline in VC funding to all-women founding teams in 2023, funders and founders convened to discuss key strategies to continue to address what needs to be done.

Led by Co-Founders and Managing Partners Shelly Porges and Sarah Chen-Spellings, Beyond the Billion (BTB) mobilized over US $1billion in its first nine months from their original 86 Fund Partners who today number 123 including Texas-based True Wealth Ventures, Ajim Capital, and the Artemis Fund. Within the first two years, BTB’s Fund Partners around the world invested over US $638million into almost 800 women-founded companies (WFCs), with fourteen of those now having been identified as unicorns, including a notable few with Austin roots: Everly Health and Canva. As importantly, a subset of those almost 800 deals (479) went on to raise almost US $4billion, demonstrating the catalytic effect of breaking the funding barrier for so many early-stage WFCs.

“Austin is officially our most-visited tech hub. We are thrilled to be here in Austin in the lead-up to SXSW and to partner with Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and Dell Technologies,” said Shelly Porges.

“Building on our first pledged funds investing in female founders and the oversubscribed event consisting of 100+ founders and investors gathered here today, we are confident that the Austin community will be one of our strongest in the U.S. We are excited to see what we can all do together to address the egregious gender venture investment gap to ensure we can fuel women-led innovation for the benefit of all.”

“The continued outperformance of female founders points to the missed opportunity by investors who do not have diverse teams in their portfolio,” said Sarah Chen-Spellings.

“Further in a time of crisis, women CEOs and female founders have shown themselves adept and resilient, warranting more, not less, investment. Closing the gender venture investment gap will require a concerted effort from all in the ecosystem – and crucially at the LP level backing funds that invest into female-led innovation, to ensure a robust pipeline of capital exists. This is where we believe Beyond The Billion will continue to play a role in mobilizing a global community of mission-aligned investors, and why an important part of our convenings are the private LP-GP Roundtables where systemic discussions take place.”

“As someone who has spent 20+ years in asset management, I am not surprised by the difficulties talented female and under-represented founders face in raising capital and scaling their businesses. The funding landscape is changing, but way too slowly. The statistics are clear—diversity has demonstrable value add to the scalability of startups, and we are committed to expanding capital for female founders” said Lizanne Atherly, Beyond The Billion’s newest Partner.

In Jude’s (Sr. Director at Dell Technologies) summary of the Dell Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Cities Index, she looks at Austin’s ranking in the overall Index as well as within the dedicated pillars – like the innovation / technology pillar:

“Over the last couple of decades, Austin has really established itself as a technology powerhouse and Austin now ranks in the top 10 for technology. So given the criticality of technology to your businesses it’s good to know you are living in a city where that pillar [technology pillar] is growing.”

Some Notable Quotables:

“This is the tangible way we put women in successful positions driving successful companies around our world. It starts with ideas and it starts with action.” — Kristen Nolte, SVP, Dell Technologies

“Austin now ranks highly for technology and culture— making this a great place for founders to feel supported to scale.”
—Jude Davidson, SVP, Dell Technologies

“80% of the data we work with in healthcare and life sciences is unstructured, comes from multiple sources, and is prone to human error—that is a major problem we are solving to reduce the time and resource to get life-saving drugs to market leveraging AI.”
— Dr. Lana Feng, Founder & CEO, Huma AI

“You just have to get in there, you don’t have to know all the answers but you must be willing to learn.”
— Lisa Song Sutton, General Partner, The Veteran Fund

“The world is changing rapidly: it’s hard to imagine a time where I was rejected by people who didn’t believe plastic waste is a problem. Figure out who your stakeholders are, and their stakeholders.”
—Dr. Molly Morse, Founder & CEO, Mango Materials

Here are some of our key takeaways from the event: (including highlights from the private roundtable!)

Understanding the Capital Allocation Landscape

Despite existing statistics, there is still a significant discrepancy between investments in women-led businesses (<3%) and the total assets managed by women or women of color (1.4%).

  • To address this, there’s a call to support innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly initiatives led by women.
  • Encouraging investments in women who establish venture capital (VC) funds is seen as a way to reshape the investment landscape and create more opportunities for women in finance.
  • Emerging Managers are often as challenged with fundraising as are Female Founders. As such, connecting them to aligned Limited Partner Investors (LPs) is essential.
  • New opportunities for investments are key, e.g., the Treasury Dept’s new $3B SSBCI allocation to venture funds via the States.

Investing in Women for Better Returns:

  • Data has demonstrated that women tend to generate higher returns per dollar invested, especially with earlier exits in various sectors. This makes a compelling case for increasing investments in women.
  • The fact that investing in women is a good business decision challenges the notion that such investments are purely charitable acts.
  • Positive outcomes observed in women-led businesses, such as higher staff retention and better financial performance, highlight the tangible benefits of diversity in business.

Changing the Approach to Investment:

  • Involving limited partners (LPs) and family offices in diversity initiatives is crucial. This emphasizes the importance of including a diverse range of investors in driving change.
  • Encouraging different questions for change implies that, to alter the status quo, it’s essential to challenge traditional investment practices and paradigms.

The Role of Dell:

  • Dell through its establishment of Dell For Startups, Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) reflects the commitment of some major corporations to continue to fuel women led-innovation, and build out the ecosystem.

The Upcoming Wealth Transfer:

  • The impending wealth transfer, driven by the boomer generation, presents a significant opportunity to promote diversity in capital allocation: by 2030, $30 trillion overall in the US, with $22 trillion of that are expected to go to women.
  • Anticipating that a considerable portion of this wealth will go to women, there is an opportunity to change the landscape for funding women-led companies.
  • It’s important to keep investing in female founders—as female founders undoubtedly exit their companies and/or build billion dollar businesses, this wealth creation has led to them re-investing their in female founders and female led VCs: a virtuous cycle we need. 

Measuring Progress:

  • Tracking the amount of money invested, the number of women-led businesses, and the level of gender diversity in investments are crucial to gauge progress

Listen to a Snippet of the Panel from the Event:

A Thank You from Intel

Drive Returns Through Diversity with Us #investinwomen

Take the Pledge: [email protected] 
Partner with Us: [email protected]
Invest with Us: [email protected] 
For more data points on the WECities Report by DWEN, click here

Some moments from the event:

In Partnership with Dell Technologies, Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network & Intel

About The Organizers


Dell Women’s Entrepreneur’s Network — join the network that helps you advance your business. For more than a decade, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) has brought women entrepreneurs together from around the world to help them connect with each other, scale their businesses, and ultimately succeed. The DWEN community welcomes all levels of entrepreneurs, from start-ups to scale-ups.  Joining DWEN will give you access to women entrepreneurs from around the world and valuable resources to grow your business – including the latest technology, access to funding resources, and best practices from a global network of members.

Beyond The Billion is the world’s first and largest consortium of venture funds pledged to invest over $1Bn into women-founded companies. Beyond the Billion’s (BTB) first pledge campaign was launched as The Billion Dollar Fund for Women in October 2018 with an audacious goal of catalyzing $1 billion into the hands of women founders globally, addressing the gender venture investment gap where women were receiving only 2.2% of all venture capital funding. In under 2 years, $638 million of the first billion pledged was deployed by our partner funds into close to 800 women-founded companies, of which 11 have been recognized as unicorns— from Canva to EverlyWell. To continue to build on this momentum, we launched Beyond The Billion, to catalyze capital deployed to and with these venture funds, ensuring their continued capacity to invest by bridging LPs and GPs, building a community of institutional investors, sovereign funds, IFIs, DFIs, family offices, wealth managers and high net worth individuals; driving the agenda collectively. 

From Our Past Events