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Verve Super taps investors for $2.6m raise

The start-up superannuation fund has raised $2.6 million, with Carol Schwartz coming on board as one of the investors.

Verve said the raise attracted female investors including philanthropist and AI Media chair Deanne Weir, human rights lawyer Dalit Kaplan, Without Fear or Favour founder Pam O'Connor and TWOOBS founders Jess and Stef Dadon.

Who Gives a Crap founders Simon Griffiths and Ned Griffiths were also investors.

"I am a longstanding supporter of female founder-led businesses and have been so impressed by Verve's ethos of founded by women, led by women, and tailored for women," Schwartz said.

"Christina [Hobbs, chief executive of Verve Super] and her team have developed a highly commercial business that is tackling the economic inequity so many women face - both at the individual and systemic levels. I am excited to join this journey as an investor and as an advocate for more female leaders in Australia," Schwartz said.

Verve Super said its board is committed to reinvesting all profits over the next five years into servicing and growing its membership base.

It currently has $180 million in funds under management, on behalf of 5000 members. The fund said this implies an annualised growth rate of 170% and 150% respectively since it started in December 2018.

The raise comes as Verve eyes $600 million and 11,000 members in three years. It declined to comment on the asset level at which it will break even and the timeline to do so.

It plans to use the $2.6 million to enhance financial coaching and support services, build out new products, and marketing  of its our existing superannuation offering.

Hobbs said she hoped the investors in Verve's raise will continue to invest in other female-led startups.

"In the initial stages of the capital raise, we encountered VCs and networking events filled with investors all looking for the next billion-dollar business. There was often little interest in our purpose as a mission-led business or the unique nature of how we're supporting women to close the gender wealth gap. It was often impossible to find a common language," Hobbs said.

"So, we pivoted, we sought out Australian businesswomen and impact investors who we thought would specifically be interested in what we were doing. Many of our investors had never invested in a startup before.

"It took a lot more work as we were often explaining how start-up investing worked and what the terms all meant. However, the conversation with these investors was totally different - they were drilling us on our impact, what we wanted our legacy to be and they were much more exciting conversations for us."

Read more: Verve SuperCarol SchwartzChristina Hobbs