Day 7/100 — Julianne Zimmerman, Managing Director, Reinventure Capital
Who is Julianne Zimmerman?
For more than 25 years Julianne, who is Managing Director, has been putting technology to work for the greater good in the US and abroad. Along the way she has contributed in a variety of roles: Co-Founder of a seed-stage investment firm; VP of Communications at a utility-scale energy storage company; Co-founder and Director of Business Development of a biofuel company; VP of Engineering at a water purification company; and trusted mentor, board member, advisor, or consultant to many more. Julianne invests heavily in cultivating community, including as a mentor with the MIT Venture Mentoring Service and life deacon in her church; she recently concluded a three-year term as Co-chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum Innovation Series. As an author and speaker for domestic and global audiences, she has contributed to GreenMoney, GreenBiz, Sloan EMBA, GIST Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, All-Russia Innovation Convention, and the MIT Nuts & Bolts Course, among others; she also frequently serves as a judge for technology and entrepreneurship competitions, and as a connectrix for innovators around the world.
Julianne earned two undergraduate degrees from MIT (Aero/Astro Engineering and Literature / Humanities), an MS from the University of Maryland, and an executive certificate in sustainability management from the Presidio Graduate School; she previously volunteered as a certified Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland (PGFD 1) and Massachusetts (Boston Marathon finish line medical services); she served as a research diver at the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory. She was twice a finalist in the NASA astronaut selection process.
Her motto: Putting technology and capital to work for the greater good.
Learn more about her here.
What’s Her Funding Tip?
As Founder of your company, it’s your job to set the strategic vision and map out the key milestones and action plans to make that happen with your team. Knowing your ‘why’ as Julianne says in her tip, is crucial, because it can help set you apart from others in the same field, and especially when the going gets tough, coming back to your why (like Simon Sinek says), will help you remember why you got started and why you should keep going.
Recruiting team mates, partners, advisors and investors are key to helping your company grow. For each type of stakeholder, remember it’s important to get very clear on the person and how their values and objectives align with yours. Especially, when it comes to finding the ‘right’ investors. It can take time, and you sometimes have to “kiss a lot of frogs, before you find the right prince”, as one early-stage female founder once told me. I never forgot that one!
Have you created your Investor Persona, the same way you do for different users or customer types? This is a key tip I share a lot with founders who sometimes overlook this crucial step and dive right into lists of investors and sending out cold emails. Make sure to do your investor homework and get feedback from other founders on what it’s like to have them on your board — do your due dilligence on them, the same way they are doing it on you.
Why You Should Listen to Her Funding Tip:
Julianne Zimmerman is a very experienced investor, founder, startup advisor and judge. She’s seen startups from all angles of the table and is resolutely dedicated to helping bring about change in venture capital, by investing in women and people of colour. Like me, she is convinced this is a great arbitrage opportunity, to help fund the companies that solve real problems and have real impact. Julianne has a very sharp, technical mind and a strong heart and backbone. I’ve known her for many years and seen first hand how she competently handles challenging situations. If ever you have the chance to have her as an advisor or investor — you’ll be very lucky indeed! She is on a mission to help change the funding world — one we deeply share — and is in it for the long run. You won’t meet many other investors who have been a finalist on the NASA Astronaut program twice, gotten several degrees and is a Mentor at MIT Venture for many years!
About Reinventure Capital
Reinventure Capital invest in early stage scaleable startups led by divers founders, namely women and people of colour.
“We see an untapped pool of founders who are
pursuing scalable business opportunities,
addressing challenging social and environmental issues,
yet lack the capital to grow. We are accomplished at seeing value where others see none.
We have deep experience in impact investing, innovation and technology development and cultivating community. We are serial pioneers that have led successful “firsts” across diverse sectors and geographies.”
They typically like to get to know founders around first revenues or so, sometimes even earlier; they will contemplate an investment around breakeven and they typically invest $500k-$5M per company, always in syndication with other investors. So if you are a U.S. based company founded by a woman or person of colour and at breakeven stage — they’d love to hear from you!
More Funding Tips from Julianne:
Don’t get too hypnotized by venture capital. Use all the available forms of capital at the timing and in the amounts that are best suited to your business and your ultimate goals.
Julie shares some good advice again here. We often think that funding or fundraising only includes equity based sources such as angel investors, VCs, equity crowdfunding sources. There are so many other sources of funding out there, including bank loans, client revenue (often forgotten as a source of funding!), grants and much more. Get creative to create your own funding menu to suit your stage and type of company you want to become!
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Day 8/100 coming soon!
About the Author: Anne Ravanona is Founder & CEO of Global Invest Her, a recognised international Gender Diversity Advocate and Consultant, and TEDx Speaker. She’s passionate about getting 1 Million Women Entrepreneurs Funded by 2030.
Learn more about Anne here: