AWS Startups Blog

Venture Garden Group’s Nichole Yembra on Why Investors Should Bank on Female Founders

Nichole Onome Yembra is the CFO of the Lagos, Nigeria-based Venture Garden Group and the managing partner for Greenhouse Capital, VGG’s investment arm. She’s also the founder of Greenhouse Lab, Nigeria’s first female-focused tech accelerator. Yembra says she founded the Lab after looking across VGG’s portfolio and realizing that few of their investments had female co-founders.

“If you look at the data, women-led businesses produce at least 30 percent higher ROI,” says Yembra, noting that women are able to “do a lot more with a lot less” funding. The issue, she calls out, is not unlike what women founders experience in Silicon Valley and other parts of the world. Women simply don’t have access to the same country clubs and other networking-friendly group settings that men do, she says, so the goal of Greenhouse Lab is to help bridge the gap for female entrepreneurs. Yembra says they also help the women with their confidence, their strategy, and their numbers—”all of those areas that investors are going to drill down on to determine if they’re actually bankable.”

On the other side, Yembra says she also works with investors to do implicit bias training and make male investment partners more conscious of the types of questions they are asking male co-founders versus what they are asking women co-founders.”

As a result, Yembra says, “The women are now more confident, know their numbers, know how to articulate that a business is bankable—but investors are also now more open and more receptive to being able to see how they fit into their portfolio.”

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung currently works in startup content at AWS and was previously the head of content at Index Ventures. Prior to joining the corporate world, Michelle was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, the founding Business Editor at the Huffington Post, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, a columnist for Publisher’s Weekly and a writer at Entertainment Weekly.