Women Investing in Women: Closing Chattanooga’s Wealth Gender Gap

As founder of The JumpFund and AegleWealth, Stefanie Crowe has dedicated the last nearly 10 years of her career to empowering and investing in women. A banking and wealth strategy veteran, Crowe began her career advising affluent families through financial institutions such as Bank of America and Capital Mark Bank & Trust (now known as Pinnacle Financial).

She left a position at a national bank, aiming to make Chattanooga the epicenter for female entrepreneurship in the Southeast.

“I got to a place in my career where I was at the top of a company. I had 20 years of working with, advising and supporting very successful men. There came a moment when I thought, ‘women need to have a doorway opened. Maybe, women need to be introduced to what angel investment looks like. Women need capital to start small companies.’ So, I decided to invest in women,” says Crowe.

Crowe co-founded JumpFund in 2013 alongside Tiffanie Robinson, CEO of SVN | Second Story Real Estate — a recent Chamber Awards recipient — and five other partners including Kristina Montague, Managing Partner. As an all-female, general partner group of angel investors, JumpFund provides capital for female founders across the region.

Taken from the company’s website, studies reveal that organizations with at least one female founder perform 63% better than all-male founded teams. Yet, only 3% of capital in the Southeast is allocated toward women-led companies.

Crowe sought to rectify this gender gap in venture capital, making it easier for women-led companies to secure funding. While gender lens investments have grown across the country, as Crowe explains, this wasn’t always the case.

“There were men that told me that women did not want to invest this way. That it was too risky. That women really wanted to focus on philanthropy, they didn’t want to be involved in investment decisions,” says Crowe. “When I heard those biases, I felt hugely motivated to show that women don’t want to just be philanthropists. They want to be engaged as angel investors. There are women who will be successful in leading companies, and I’m going to find them!”

Since its launch, JumpFund has invested in over 30 women-led companies — growing its portfolio to include a number of high-growth ventures in 11 states from Florida to Arkansas and Virginia, as well as Tennessee.

In 2020, Crowe’s launched a second venture, AegleWealth, incorporating a shared vision of empowering clients through financial and investment services. Inspired by the Greek goddess of radiance and good health, AegleWealth measures client success by balancing wealth and well-being. Though not female exclusive, the company sets to work with clients through their specific financial and life goals — democratizing finance by focusing on the everyday behaviors that create wealth.

“The industry sometimes creates an aura of exclusivity. People don’t know if they’re wanted or can meet the minimums. People feel judged. When you’re talking about money — which is so personal, so private and confidential — the thing that will shut down any client engagement is for someone to feel judged.

Through these ventures, Crowe encourages others to see financial opportunities as a brush to paint one’s future. Through capital, advice and financial support, Crowe and her team of angel investors help pave the way for female entrepreneurship in Chattanooga and beyond.

“Women are doers. At the end of the day, I don’t need somebody with a lot of confidence beating his chest saying he’s got a big vision to rule the world,” says Crowe. “I want somebody with hustle, who’s working hard, who’s willing to work. What I see in female leaders is work ethic, and I’ll invest in work ethic.”

Learn more about JumpFund, here.

Learn more about AegleWealth, here.

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