Office Hours: I’m Anu Duggal, founding partner of the Female Founders Fund. I’ve led FFF in three funds totaling $88M and invested in over 50 of the fastest growing female-led companies nationwide. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Anu Duggal, the founding partner of Female Founders Fund, the first early-stage fund for female founders.

Before starting Female Founders Fund in 2014, I spent time in the culinary world, attending cooking school in France and later opening the first wine bar in Mumbai. I later co-founded Exclusively.In, a flash-sale site for fashion, jewelry, and home décor by Indian artisans, and sold to in 2012.

I’ve had the honor of being listed in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list and Crain’s “Notable Women in Tech” list. I’ve also been included in Business Insider’s “Ultimate List of Female Startup Investors” and “Top 4 Venture Firms Investing in Women.”

I’ve made appearances on The TODAY Show, Bloomberg TV, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC Squawk Alley, Fortune, Inc, Yahoo! Finance and host my own podcast “The Two Percent”.

I’ve lived all over the world including India, Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo, and New York and in addition to my passion for uplifting and supporting female founders, my favorite hobbies include cooking and interior design.

Ask me anything about navigating venture capital, podcasting, being a global nomad, web3, the creator economy, crypto, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @anuduggal!Elphas – please ask @anuduggal your questions before Friday, January 14th. @anuduggal may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
^ Hello Elphas - Just a quick update: @anuduggal will be answering your questions on Friday, January 21st - so you have a few more days to get your questions in! ⛄️
Thank you for this update @Josefina! Well this is amazing news - we have extra time with Anu! cc @HSchust @CitizenJennifer @SmritiKrishna @joclark @NaraKimMilano @rachelserwetz @sajanibarot @Pat2Kairn @ThereseLCanares @npn, @agnesog @taylorcapito @selintamer @hoda, @chelseajpaige, @shabnyc @MonikaStarzyk ICYMI - Anu will try her best to address all of your questions on Jan 21st thank you for your patience!
Hi @anuduggal, Thank you for taking the time to have this conversation. As a foodie, I want to ask you about your favorite restaurants around the world. But I digress. I am the founder/CEO of HUSSLUP (Techstars ‘21), a searchable community that connects creative talent in Enteratinment to each other and to companies that need them to democratize access to the industry. We have raised $600k on a SAFE from strategic industry angels and are launching our invite only beta this month. What kind of KPIs and metrics would you be looking for to invest in our next (priced) round? And are there other signals, such as hiring a CTO, that are important for you? Thanks much, H Schuster
@anuduggal Thanks so much for doing this AMA, Anu! I had the pleasure of chatting with you in 2020, well before my startup (CLAIRE Fertility) was considering a raise. We're presently raising our seed this quarter, so this is a full circle moment. My question: Thematically speaking, what is the most common characteristic and/or habit you've witnessed in founders who successfully scale their companies vs. those whose companies fail to grow past seed stage?
@ashleighmariebrown love this question! A few of the most common traits: (1) resiliency (2) very strong product vision (3) ability to hire very strong talent.
Thank you so much for this response! If I can quickly piggyback on #2 for clarification - would you say that the strong product vision is constituted by a specific long-term product goal they're committed to methodically enacting, or more of a strong GTM and early-stage product development perspective?
Hi Anu, why do you think women do not invest as much as men do? There has been a lot of talk about it but not as much progress. There are not as many women investors - stock market, crypto, start-ups. There are not as many women in finance, there are not as many women fund managers, and not as many women creators.
@Hoda - I agree, there has historically been a big gap between how men and women invest. However over the past ten years, things have changed. There are now female investors at almost all of the large VC funds, more women have also started funds as well as angel groups. We are also seeing Gen Z women participating in public market investing at a significantly higher percentage comparatively speaking. Overall, still a long way to go but we are definitely seeing progress.
How can we benefit from the fund I am expecially interested in phychosocial support for Gender Based Violence Survivors expecially. Mental health Matters and unfortunately , were I come from in Nigeria bit has been an issue with very few expensive services like that .can you support me to train more volunteers so we can give free services.
Hi @anuduggal Thank you for your time! I am sure you are inundated with emails from female founders wanting to connect with you for fund raising or just advice. I am also one such person who tried to connect with you when I heard of you. I was extremely excited with the prospect of what you were doing not just for myself but also for the community of female founders. Given all the pressing needs on your time, I want to know what criteria you use to decide who to respond to and whose business to support ? Many thanks and all the best for your noble venture ! Wish you much success.
Hi @SmritiKrishna - we have a few key areas of focus. Firstly would be founder/team background, industry focus (if it aligns with our area's of interest), signs of early traction, and a great opening note as to why the business opportunity is compelling.
Hi & thx for doing OH. What advice do you hv for needing micro capital ($50-100k) pre-seed to cover IP filing, a developer and some prelim market testing of a prototype? I reached out to Angels and they have the same criteria as VC’s (need revenue).
Hi @anuduggalI am a first-time founder in the process of raising pre-seed funds. (1) I have looked at submitting my pitch deck to funds that invest in pre-seed startups and most of them ask for my startup's valuation. How do you estimate this at the pre-seed stage? (2) My co-founder and I have been self-funding our startup. Is pre-seed too early to use the funds to cover cost of living expenses or a basic salary for founders? Thank you!!
@anuduggal Hi! Excited to chat with you. I'm a founder of a bootstrapped startup for 4+ years and always told myself I'd delay raising as far/long as I could. Sometimes people say "raise when you don't have to." I'm curious how you can help a founder decide when the right time to raise is? I see a world where I could bootstrap for a long time but it'd be a long, slow, patient process (Mailchimp etc) but I'm also anxious to do more faster since we have SO many ideas and already proof of progress and value. Thoughts? Thanks!! (Website here for reference --
Hi! I would love to connect with you about your company and also get some insights into launching our subscription model ( how did u all set up the functionality of it from your website to do monthly billing , on back end how does it work to book appts etc ) my company is www.theskinconsult.Com and we are working to launch a subscription model for skincare services/ consultations as well .
we use on our website to create monthly subscription (only b/c webflow didnt have that monthly recurring feature already) and that connects to our stripe account.... for booking appt's, after payment it redirects to my calendly link ( makes it easy to redirect the person after paying)... hope that helps!
What was the biggest challenge for you to build the fund?
Hi @AgnesOg - our biggest challenge has been and continues to be raising capital for the female founder strategy.
Hi, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask questions. I would love to know what numbers are the most important to you in a pitch deck at the seed stage for high growth tech companies. What sells you most in the first few minutes that the problem is worth investment?To add more context, I’m curious specifically regarding B2B software companies that don’t have revenue yet but do have a working MVP solution and some customer traction. Do you have any tips on how you like to see it presented?
Hi @anuduggal!Thanks for being here with us! My question is what's the best way to build strategic relationships and find great partners in India? I’m looking to build out my network and eventually a team there and would love to hear how you went about doing so in your previous venture and any advice on where to start.For context, I’m building a marketplace exclusively focused on Indian fashion and lifestyle products, something similar to Etsy, but more curated and focused on accessability.
Hi @anuduggal, thanks so much for being here! I'd love to learn more about your podcasting journey. I love the focus of your podcast and I'm curious what your ultimate goal was when you started it? How does it support the mission of Female Founders Fund today?
Hi @shaunaarmitage, great to hear from you! We started the 2% as a way of drawing attention to the historical numbers around funding for female founders. In terms of guests, we primarily feature both founders and investors - all of whom are passionate about this issue. We at FFF invest heavily in our brand/community and the podcast is a way for us to share more success stories of female leaders.
Hi @anuduggal great bio! I am the founder of a productivity app ( and we have some great VCs interested in our next round. We're currently focusing on a party round with operator angels pre-public launch. I'm trying to keep funds updated for the next round. What are the kind of news you like to be updated on a quarterly basis for a SaaS early-stage business? (Currently sharing sign-ups, WAU, WAU/MAU, viral growth). Thanks and cheers, Pat
Hi Anu, thank you so much for doing this! It's amazing to hear that you've lived in so many different places. I'd love to hear more about your experiences as a global nomad -- what does it look like to work remotely in different countries in terms of visas, taxes, and more? Do you have to move after a limited time before having to fill out some of this paperwork? What's your favorite place that you've lived so far and why?
@anuduggal thanks for this opportunity ! I have admired your work and passion to build women led companies especially in the digital health space . I am fund raising right now and have raised 1/3 already My question is - if I wanted to approach FFF for funding, are you looking for a working prototype/ product + traction or is it sufficient to have some traction using “manual “ systems and a basic prototype but knowing most of the work is being done behind the scenes by the founders or the team ? For context, My company is www.theskinconsult.Com and we have a MVP platform for marketplace of providers to join and list their profiles, get virtual bookings , video appts , machine learning to make product recommendations and now we are looking to expand to in person services and change things up a bit to expand our growth faster .
Hello from Shab!It’s so great to see you on the Elpha platform.I’m setting up a virtual friends, family and angels fundraising event to share the MVP of Leona. Do you have any advice for such an event? Best day of the week or time of day? A potential co-host? How to draw attention in invitations? Appreciate your input and thanks for being here!
Hi @ShabNYC! I would structure the event around a fireside chat/Q&A with you led by a friend or respected mentor. This can often be more impactful then a direct pitch. People will get to know you and why you are passionate about your business. In terms of invites, I would ask your friends and family to each invite one additional person that you don't know.
@anuduggal - Hi Anu, welcome to the Elpha platform! Your background is very inspiring. Could you please share a brief on the below - 1) How did you start your journey in venture capital? How did you sustain your venture from there on?2) Are you a full-time global nomad? How has the pandemic affected your nomad experience?3) Could you explain web3 and crypto in a few words and how they will impact us in the future?Thank you,Dipisha
How can we benefit from the fund as female funders
Hey Anu! Thanks so much for an opportunity ask a question :) I'm interested in getting into becoming a fractional CTO/coach/consultant in the future in order to gain some independence as well as have an opportunity to work with many companies to help them fix their early stage problems running a team, mentoring engineering leaders, etc. Being part of many DD processes when working at startups, I also found that to be a really interesting process. Do you have any advice on how could I approach building a network to be considered for that type of work and gaining some experience in that area specifically?
Hi I would love to learn more about you! I am always looking for technical talent / leaders who want to join my company to help make a difference and implement our business vision ! My company is . If health and skincare inspire you, let’s chat and you can e-mail me at [email protected]
Hi Anu!Congratulations on your extraordinary achievements and making a real change for the female entrepreneurship and wealth building. I hope I can join the ride and FFF one day!I've heard the interview with you on the Two Percent podcast: full of great insights and stories!Amongst many other, I liked the advice you've shared about not becoming overwhelmed by problems. You have also mentioned the "Power of Now" book, hence my follow up question:I've observed that most of the very successful people have some daily / weekly routines, that seem not connected to their core business at all, but are actually the routines that keep them within their inner strength, confidence, "unconditional chill" ;) , being overwhelm-proof . For some these are some mental activities, for some physical or social, for some it's a combination. ( Even a habit of re-perceiving a problem from a 3-months perspective could be a micro-routine of such. )Do you have such things? Can you share your thoughts around this topic?Thank you in advance! :)
Thanks for your question @MonikaStarzyk! A few thoughts on this. Firstly, I start everyday with a list written on a notepad. I have found over time that this is the best way for me to be able to prioritize my time and efforts daily given the distractions of emails/meetings/Twitter etc. I also have a 24 hour rule where I will wait 24 hours before reacting/responding to a frustrating email. This always gives me perspective and a helpful lens that guides the response. In terms of mental activities, I get my best ideas while doing "mindless activities" - going for a walk at the park near me after work, swimming, tennis etc.
@anuduggal thanks so much for being present with us for this AMA!I’m an early stage , first time founder of a health tech company and raising an Angel round likely in the next year. This question is 2 parts:What are some of the common (cringey?) mistakes or misconceptions first timers have with fundraising?I’m also very interested in diversity and combatting gender bias. As a female-led company I’m sure we will encounter some bias, and implicit bias is in all of us even a little although we don’t want to admit it. How do you see implicit gender bias show up these days within startups or investors, through your FFF lens?
Hi @ThereseLCanares, great questions. One mistake we see from time to time is founders neglect to include a strong unit economics slide. As investors we want to ensure that you understand what is driving your business and that you as a founder understand these levers. In terms of bias, we've seen the industry come a long way since FFF started. With large exits and growth rounds, more and more investors have recognized that diverse founders are building companies that have true growth potential.
Hi @anuduggal Thank you for your time! As female founders, I notice that we tend to address some of the similar issues (healthcare, parenting tech, fem tech), which creates some overlap in female founder focused funds. How is your approach to companies in the same industry?
Hi @selintamer! Great question. Since starting the fund, we've actually seen female founders venture into a much wider array of industries - Web3, enterprise/SaaS, autonomous vehicles etc. Our approach at the fund to ensure conflict of interest is to always check with our existing portfolio founders before starting diligence on a new company that could be a conflict. Ultimately we want to ensure we can support all of our companies without having conflict in terms of business focus.