Trish Costello, founder and CEO of investing platform Portfolia, holds the giveaway up high, offering the 60-plus conference attendees gathered in this Boston ballroom a chance to take a look. Dubbed vSculpt, the product is a vaginal rejuvenation device designed for women who suffer from low bladder control and other pelvic floor issues, post-childbirth. At any other conference, vSculpt might prompt some awkward throat-clearing (“leakage,” anyone?). But here, in a room full of women angel investors, the crowd lets out a whoop.
Costello knows her audience. After leading the prestigious Kauffman Fellows (a career development program for venture capital investors) for over a decade, she launched Portfolia five years ago with the goal of convincing affluent women to think beyond traditional philanthropy and begin investing in startups. “There are 5 million accredited women [investors] in the U.S.,” she says. “Our goal is to touch every one of them.”
But Costello doesn’t want to simply engage more women in investing; she wants to fundamentally change which ideas win venture support. vSculpt, designed and developed by a woman entrepreneur who experienced pelvic floor issues firsthand, embodies that type of product that she believes traditional investors have too long ignored. “This is all about how we shift the world when we put our money behind the solutions that we want to see,” she says.
That message has resonated with hundreds of women. Already, Portfolia has created funds devoted to aging, consumer, enterprise, and women’s health. If it can…