The Lip Gloss Gap: Cristina Nuñez, True Beauty Ventures
19/06/2023 by The Red Tree
"We need to engage our male counterparts in the same mission to elevate female entrepreneurs."
Cristina is a Co-Founder and General Partner at True Beauty Ventures, an industry specialist Venture Capital dedicated to scaling emerging brands exclusively in beauty and wellness. True Beauty Ventures leverages decades of beauty-focused institutional investment experience as well as first-hand operating expertise and a network of industry insiders to provide much needed capital to beauty brands with a portfolio including K18, Crown Affair and Moon Juice.
Why do you think the female fundraising gap is so stark ?
There are many factors contributing to the stark gap in fundraising for female founded companies today. There are major contributors to this inequity that I try to focus on in my role as an investor. One of these is changing the face of what a “typical” VC investor looks like. As a Latina co-founder and GP of a VC firm with an 80% female investment team, one way to close some of the fundraising gap for women is to employ and accelerate the careers of other women in the VC industry. In this way, there is representation and relatability on both sides of the table.
Another factor that can help close some of this gap is access and example. Access to a network of other female founders who have battled the same challenges and who can provide guidance, empathy, and resources for newer entrepreneurs as well as examples of what success looks like is so crucial.
What do you think needs to happen to help close the female fundraising gap ?
I mentioned more representation on the investor side and greater access and visibility to other female founder communities. I also think that we need to engage our male counterparts in the same mission to elevate female entrepreneurs. This isn’t just about rallying women together, although that is quite powerful. In order for us to be successful in closing the gap, we need the full support of both men and women in the workplace and the home to create the environment that fosters more entrepreneurship for women overall.
What advice would you give to female fundraisers ?
Fundraising is challenging no matter what gender you are, though it is clearly even more difficult for women. My advice would be to treat fundraising like a marathon and not a sprint. It will take longer than you think, so pacing yourself and building up your stamina for the many “no’s” you will receive is key. Try to secure a quick “no” where possible so you can move on and focus on the next prospect. Stay top of mind with investors and keep them updated on your progress. You have an opportunity to gain from every single conversation, even if it is a pass. Ask for feedback, a referral, or a resource. Tap into your determination and grit to fuel you, but don’t be afraid to lean on your support system when needed.
What is your experience of working with female founders?
The vast majority of our brand founders are women, and it has been such a rewarding experience to partner and support them as they build some of the most incredible brands in the beauty and wellness industry. The female founders I have worked with have inspired me with their passion and determination to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Many of them have battled with inequity fundraising, particularly as women of color. To see them not only survive but thrive has been undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career.
The Lip Gloss Gap is a series by The Red Tree shining a light on the role that the beauty industry plays in closing the female fundraising gap. The series will feature interviews with founders and fundraisers which will be released monthly. We invite you to share your experiences as we continue the conversation.
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Any company entering The Beauty Accelerator™ competition must be based and registered in the UK.
The scheme by which investment into the winning brand will be made is the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). You must be eligible for SEIS to enter The Beauty Accelerator but you do not need to be registered for SEIS. You can be in the process of applying for SEIS and receiving Advanced Assurance from HMRC, which is free of charge to obtain and certifies to investors that the criteria necessary to qualify for SEIS have been met by the company at the time of the application. You do however need to be SEIS registered at the point of investment.Click here For further information about SEIS
As is the case with all equity investments, the winning brand must be willing to provide equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree. In addition, the winning brand might be required to pay a monthly fee for the duration of the 12 month period of assistance from The Red Tree. The size of the equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree are unknown at this stage and will be based on the valuation of the business at the time of investment. The value of the monthly fee to The Red Tree will be determined by the scope of work required by The Red Tree and will be agreed in consultation with the winning brand. The equity stake, monthly fee and scope of work will be discussed in further detail with short listed brands during the interview stage.
Brands that applied for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2022 can apply for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2024.
Applicant brands should ideally have proof of concept – the business should ideally be in operation with at least one product currently retailing on the market, an existing website in operation and a number of months of trading.
Under exceptional circumstances, brands that are at concept stage will be considered.
There should be a team in place or a willingness to take on a co-founder at an early stage.
A business plan must be in place and submitted as part of your application to demonstrate the revenue that can be delivered.
The business should not be valued at more than £1,000,000.
All R&D should be completed as funds invested will only be used for marketing and commercial activity.
If you are short listed, you must be available to attend the virtual shortlist interview. It is likely that short listed brands will be required to attend more than one virtual interview.
If you are a Finalist, you must be able to attend The Beauty Accelerator™ Final, either virtually or in-person.
You cannot apply for or already be in the process of applying for another accelerator or incubator during the period December 2023 to December 2024.
If you are selected as a finalist, and if you go on to win The Beauty Accelerator™, you must agree to exposure of you and your brand through The Red Tree’s, SFC Capital’s and Freeths online and social channels and a possible marketing campaign.
Confirmation of the winning brand is subject to SEIS eligibility confirmation, agreement on equity stake and The Red Tree fee, and completion of due diligence.
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