WXR Fund, the first ever venture fund investing chiefly in women in the extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence (AI) spaces, announces the close of its inaugural fund at $5 million. Participation included over 50 percent women across individual investors, family offices and strategic partners such as the Venture Reality Fund.
Women charting the course
Women-led portfolio companies include innovators disrupting the healthcare, entertainment, education and retail sectors through immersive technology. At this time, the WXR Fund portfolio includes shoppable virtual store platform Obsess, which announced its Series A close this week. Other WXR Fund portfolio startups include absurd:joy, Embodied Labs, Wavely Diagnostics, All3D.ai, Prisms of Reality and Scatter. WXR Fund plans to announce additional investments in the coming months.
“We started WXR Fund to establish a beacon for underrepresented founders in this growing XR community,” said Martina Welkhoff, Managing Partner of WXR Fund. “Through this first fund, we have engaged women in all stages of investing – from LP to VC to founder. We see a tremendous untapped and outsized opportunity in the XR space. The close of this fund is just the beginning.”
The pandemic undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for XR investment and adoption, stretching it beyond gaming and entertainment into all industry sectors. This includes the healthcare, education and retail sectors. The 2021 Insider Intelligence Report on U.S. Virtual and Augmented Reality reports 58.9 million people in the U.S. will use VR. Additionally, 93.3 million people will use AR at least once per month. Meanwhile, Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other technology leaders are introducing their own XR solutions to meet the demand.
Supporting women in computing
Data shows that women-led startups often outperform companies led by men, according to Crunchbase. Even so, funding to startups led by women dropped from 2.8 percent in 2019 to 2.3 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, startups led by men received more than 97 percent of venture capital dollars.
“I actively seek out opportunities to move the needle for women in the technology space,” said Cathy Hackl, tech futurist, bestselling author, and WXR Fund LP. “Getting involved in the first ever venture fund focused on investing in two of the greatest opportunities of our generation, spatial computing and women-led startups, creates so much movement for emerging entrepreneurs in the XR, metaverse and AI sectors.”
“WXR Fund has been a crucial part of our journey,” said Neha Singh, Founder and CEO of Obsess. “We started working with the team through the accelerator program in 2018 and have since closed two rounds of funding. Their support has enabled us to improve our technology and quickly grow our global roster of customers.”
About WXR Fund
Co-founders Amy LaMeyer and Martina Welkhoff founded WXR Fund in 2019. It is the first and only venture fund that focuses exclusively on what the founders know to be the two greatest opportunities of our time: the next evolution of computing and women-led startups. The organization advocates for underrepresented founders changing the VR/AR/AI landscape.
LaMeyer and Welkhoff form a nucleus of know-how and vision into the spatial computing ecosystem with uniquely complementary professional journeys. Welkhoff brings an insider’s perspective as a successful startup founder and industry luminary. LaMeyer offers an essential perspective with experience in corporate development, M&A and in artificial intelligence. She is also a globally recognized influencer. They are joined by Founding Venture Partners Malia Probst and Abby Albright as well as Venture Partner Jason McDowall.