Pivotal Ventures LLC





Independent funding organization




Melinda French Gates

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Pivotal Ventures is a private company created and led by philanthropist Melinda French Gates oriented around investing in organizations that support women’s issues.


The company’s investment activity is divided into six initiatives, all related to women’s issues: Women in Technology and Innovation, which seeks to increase the number of women graduating and investing in tech; Women in Public Office, which seeks to recruit and support women running for public office; Women and Girls of Color, which seeks to specifically support ethnic-minority women and girls; Paid Family and Medical Leave, which seeks to support legislation on the federal level mandating that businesses provide employees paid family leave; Caregiving, which seeks to invest in emerging corporate and nonprofit childcare initiatives and alternatives; and Adolescent Mental Health, which seeks to connect young people, particularly belonging to ethnic and sexual minorities, with mental health services. 1

Generally, Pivotal Ventures takes two approaches to investment: directly investing in early-stage ventures and investing in already established organizations aligned with its aims. 2


On July 29, 2021, Pivotal Ventures announced that it would continue its Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, launched the previous year with support from MacKenzie Scott (formerly MacKenzie Bezos) and her then-husband Dan Jewett, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and administered through Lever For Change. The first year’s awardees, each receiving $10 million from Pivotal Ventures, were Building Women’s Equality through Strengthening the Care Infrastructure, an advocacy coalition that supports government-funded childcare; Changing the Face of Tech, a project of Ada Developers Academy to expand its free software coding bootcamps for women; Project Accelerate, a project of Girls Inc, which aims to provide professional development programming to young women aspiring to corporate careers; and the Future is Indigenous Womxn, which will provide funding to native-women entrepreneurs and training programs “grounded in Indigenous matriarchal cultures.” 3

In 2020, Pivotal Ventures launched its Techstars Future of Longevity Incubator, which invests in and provides professional development programming to startup companies that aim to provide market solutions addressing the demands of the elderly and their caregivers. Recipients of funding through this program include Candoo Tech, which provides educational support to elderly individuals trying to work with new everyday technologies; Braze Mobility, which develops sensors to enhance wheelchair safety; and ConnectCareHero, which offers social activities and classes by a digital platform to the elderly with the aim of reducing elderly social isolation. 4

Melinda Gates

Melinda French Gates (born Melinda Ann French) is an American software developer, philanthropist, and former wife of software entrepreneur Bill Gates, with whom she had founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major grantmaking organization for left-of-center causes. As an executive at the latter, Gates managed initiatives oriented around education, health, global poverty, and access to digital information. In 2021, Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were divorcing. A Bloomberg report speculated that the divorce would result in a divergence of the two’s philanthropic priorities; in that vein, Pivotal Ventures published a reiteration of its commitment to promoting left-of-center policies related to women’s issues. As of October 2022, Gates’s net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $6.3 billion. 5 6 7 8 9


  1. “Our Work.” Pivotal Ventures. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  2. “About Pivotal.” Pivotal Ventures. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  3. “Awardees Announced for $40 Million Equality Can’t Wait Challenge.” Pivotal Ventures. July 29, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  4. “Pivotal Ventures and Techstars Launch Year Two of the Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator.” Pivotal Ventures. May 11, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  5. Melinda Gates. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  6. Carly Roman. “Gates’ divorce partially motivated by deals with Jeffrey Epstein: Report.” MSN News. May 9, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  7. Sophie Alexar and Ben Steverman. “Gates Divorce Speeds Divergence of Separate Investing Goals.” MSN Money. June 28, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  8. “About Our Founder.” Pivotal Ventures. Accessed May 9, 2022.
  9. “Melinda French Gates.” Forbes. Accessed October 19, 2022.
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