Happy birthday to Overlooked Ventures!

Janine Sickmeyer
6 min readMay 18, 2022

Plus, a special anniversary diversity stats update.

A year ago today, we announced the launch of Overlooked Ventures and our inaugural $50MM Fund I. It’s hard to believe that 12 months ago, Brandon Brooks and I took the leap as first-time fund managers to disrupt venture capital, an industry that was (and still is) ripe for change. A year later, 25% of the fund goal committed, and 9 investments later, we can confidently say that Overlooked Ventures has made significant progress toward our mission. But there’s still more work to do.

Being a first-time fund manager is a lot like being a founder. But Brandon and I were ready to take on the challenge because of our strong conviction to fund diverse entrepreneurs. We’re former operators and startup people, a white woman, and a Black man, both of whom never successfully raised venture capital ourselves prior to this fund.

Brandon and I knew when we started Overlooked Ventures, we had to put a focus on investing in Black, Latino/a, women, and other underfunded founders. We created a fund that was industry-agnostic across tech and tech-enabled businesses to broaden our opportunity to invest in the BEST deals around.

Overlooked Ventures has made investments in NINE tech and tech-enabled businesses with one or more historically ignored founder(s) operating in industries such as FinTech, Consumer App, and Age Tech & Death Tech.

Our Dealflow

Here’s a breakdown of Overlooked Ventures’ inbound fundraising submissions (as of May 17, 2022):

In the year since we started Overlooked Ventures, we’ve received ~2500 inbound startup applications, 90% of which had one or more founders who identified as overlooked. We do not accept any warm intros and all applicants must apply via the form on our website (Learn more about our deal flow process here). With 2250 applications from overlooked founders, our findings reinforce the fact that there isn’t a pipeline problem.

Great entrepreneurs are building across the globe. Overlooked Ventures receives applications from all over the world. 30% of our inbound submissions came from international startups (Non-U.S.) while the remaining 70% were from United States startups.

Our deal flow is strong across all regions of the United States. Below you’ll find the top 10 and top 20 cities that entrepreneurs apply to Overlooked Ventures are from.

Overlooked Ventures invests in early-stage tech or tech-enabled companies to be the friends and family round some founders never had. Many of the early-stage companies that apply for funding have a working product and traction in the form of a working product or revenue! Below you’ll see the stages our applicants are in.

The Overlooked Ventures Portfolio

Our portfolio is made up of fearless founders building companies across many hot industries. We’ve backed a total of 9 startups and 12 entrepreneurs in FinTech, Consumer App, FemTech, Mental Health, Age Tech, AI/Mobility, Climate/Ag Tech, and e-Commerce. Meet the Overlooked Ventures portfolio.

  • Juan Medina of Lalo // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Rhian Beutler of Govalo // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Demetrius Curry of College Cash // Stage: Seed
  • Nima Roohi, Kavitha Gnanasambandan, and Naman Gupta of Blooming Health // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Megan Gray of Moment AI // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Naza Shelley and Sali Hama of CarpeDM // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Bea Arthur of The Difference // Stage: Pre-Seed
  • Arion Long of Femly // Stage: Seed
  • One not announced!

As a part of our thesis, we are committed to investing in entrepreneurs who are overlooked. Our portfolio makeup represents that commitment with nearly 60% women founders, 41.7% Black, 16.7% Latino/a, 16.7% Indian, 8.3% Syrian, 8.3% Iranian, and 8.3% Ashkenazi Jew.

We are conviction investors and are often the first check-in for our founders. Here are a few more stats about each of our portfolio companies and their founders.

  • 7 solo founded companies
  • 2 companies with more than one founder
  • 6 companies with at least one woman founder
  • 5 companies with at least one Black founder
  • 2 companies with at least one Latinx founder
  • OV was the first check in for 5 companies

Learn more about each of the companies and their founders Read each of the announcements here: Lalo, Govalo, Moment.ai, Blooming Health, College Cash, CarpeDM, The Difference, and Femly.

Our Limited Partners

Overlooked Ventures is fortunate to have over 26 limited partners committed to our fund, bringing us to $11.5MM total!

We are proud to have Bank of America as an institutional investor, as well as several other spectacular limited partners backing the fund. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the Overlooked Ventures cap table.

Events Hosted

We made sure to get out in front of our community IRL to meet with founders, potential limited partners, and friends! The Overlooked Ventures team kicked off our event series at a poolside rooftop in our home base of Columbus, Ohio.

Next, we traveled to NYC and enjoyed Christmas time in Bryant Park while hosting a non-traditional pitch party for New York City founders.

In March of 2022, the Overlooked Ventures team took an impromptu trip to New York City to meet up with all of our portfolio companies! We brought along our favorite photographer to give our founders new website and headshot photos. We also hosted a portfolio brunch and wrapped up with an intimate dinner where all founders pitched their companies and announced their latest milestones.

The OV Team

We’re a team of passionate and dedicated startup people, operators, investors, and analysts. The Overlooked team takes a boots-on-the-ground approach to venture capital. We scout the best deals, meet with founders, and work to make sure our portfolio founders get the help they need to take them to the next level.

Meet the Overlooked Ventures team! (left to right)

  • Adam Grant — Venture Analyst
  • Chauntelle Lewis — Inclusive Communities Manager
  • Jaime Houssami — Head of Marketing & Brand
  • Janine Sickmeyer — Co-founding Partner
  • Brandon Brooks — Co-founding Partner

We’re forging ahead…

It’s been an exciting and eventful year, but our journey doesn’t stop here. The Overlooked Ventures team is on the ground continuing to raise capital for our Fund I, investing in incredible founders, and doing our part in putting our words into action by providing value to our founders and the startup + VC worlds as a whole.