Pioneering venture capitalist and early Tesla investor named ‘Financial Woman of the Year’

San Francisco Business Times
By Mark Calvey
September 6, 2022

Nan­cy Pfund — founder and man­ag­ing part­ner of DBL Part­ners, an ear­ly investor in Tes­la and SpaceX — was named the 2022 Finan­cial Woman of the Year, an annu­al recog­ni­tion pro­gram con­duct­ed by the Finan­cial Women of San Fran­cis­co to raise schol­ar­ship funds.

Pfund and her col­leagues cre­at­ed DBL when they came out of JPMor­gan Chase in 2008. They saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a ven­ture cap­i­tal firm that could take advan­tage of more investors want­i­ng to put mon­ey in star­tups that made a social and envi­ron­men­tal impact in addi­tion to gen­er­at­ing ven­ture-type finan­cial returns. Today, investors con­sid­er­ing a company’s envi­ron­men­tal, social and gov­er­nance impact is one of the hottest trends in finance.

Nan­cy Pfund was a leader in the impact invest­ing space long before this type of invest­ing gained the wide­spread recog­ni­tion it has today,” said Melis­sa Maquilan Radic, pres­i­dent of the FWSF and man­ag­ing direc­tor of investor rela­tions and cap­i­tal mar­kets at Impact Com­mu­ni­ty Cap­i­tal LLC. “She is a cham­pi­on of social and envi­ron­men­tal change, both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly, and is an inspir­ing role mod­el for women.”

DBL, which stands for dou­ble bot­tom line, has offices in San Francisco’s Finan­cial Dis­trict and down­town Palo Alto.

DBL’s dou­ble-bot­tom line focus spurred them to invest ear­ly in Tes­la, SpaceX, SolarCi­ty and Pan­do­ra, among oth­ers. She served on the board of Tes­la, SolarCi­ty and Pan­do­ra pri­or to the com­pa­nies going public.

When I first start­ed my impact invest­ing jour­ney, it was a lone­ly place to be,” Pfund said. “Undaunt­ed, and deter­mined to bring the worlds of finance, invest­ment and social and envi­ron­men­tal progress togeth­er, I relied on the sup­port of ear­ly adopters will­ing to bet on me and on this vision. Many of these ear­ly adopters were women.”

She will offi­cial­ly accept the hon­or at an Oct. 28 lun­cheon in San Fran­cis­co.

Pri­or to found­ing DBL, Pfund was a man­ag­ing direc­tor in ven­ture cap­i­tal at JPMor­gan, hav­ing start­ed her invest­ment career at San Fran­cis­co invest­ment bank Ham­brecht & Quist 1984. Chase acquired H&Q in 1999. She pre­vi­ous­ly worked at Intel and Stan­ford University.

Build­ing my finance career in San Fran­cis­co over the years, I have always been struck by the abun­dance of pro­fes­sion­al women who lead not only in their own fields, but in proac­tive­ly help­ing oth­er women advance in theirs,” Pfund said. “I am hon­ored to join the ranks of out­stand­ing women who have won this award before me.”

Recip­i­ents include Franklin Tem­ple­ton CEO Jen­ny John­son; Hei­di Roizen, part­ner at Thresh­old Ventures,;Robin Wash­ing­ton, for­mer chief finan­cial offi­cer at Gilead Sci­ences, and Car­rie Dolan, chief finan­cial offi­cer of Krak­en Dig­i­tal Asset Exchange.

Since 1996 — rec­og­niz­ing for­mer Wells Far­go exec­u­tive Ter­ri Dial as the first recip­i­ent — the FWSF has raised more than $2.7 mil­lion to pro­vide schol­ar­ships to about 325 women.