[Embargoed Until January 18, 2024 – 11:00 AM PST]


New investment fund launches to support traditionally under-served entrepreneurs.

[Sacramento, CA, 1/18/24] – MinervaVerse emerges as a trailblazing force in the startup landscape, heralding an era of inclusivity and empowerment. As a beacon for knowledge and progress, this startup ecosystem is redefining the investment landscape by prioritizing underrepresented entrepreneurs. Founded by Anne Descalzo and Rachel Zillner, two visionary leaders in business and finance, MinervaVerse embodies the spirit of the formidable Minerva Goddess, advocating for inclusivity and breaking barriers in venture capital.

MinervaVerse’s ethos revolves around fostering a community that supports entrepreneurs every step of the way. At its core lies the MinervaFund, proudly investing predominately in women-founded and people of color businesses. This fund, accepting applications year-round and distributing funding quarterly, stands as a testament to the commitment toward empowering underrepresented voices in the entrepreneurial sphere.

Additionally, MinervaVerse is set to launch two pivotal programs:

1. MinervaAccelerator: In partnership with FourthWave, which has proven accelerator programming focused on women entrepreneurs, the new accelerator program will provide conscious leadership coaching, business mentorship, and coaching for capital readiness. Launching later in the year this new program is poised to further bolster entrepreneurial leadership skills and new company growth. It will be an impactful addition to the existing FourthWave program run annually in our region.

2. MinervaIncubator: Set to debut in 2025, the Incubator aims to empower new and startup businesses with management training, office space, networking opportunities, and expert guidance in navigating Government RFP processes.

“MinervaVerse is not just a venture; it’s a movement toward a more all-encompassing and inspiring entrepreneurial landscape,” remarked Anne Descalzo, Co-founder of MinervaVerse. “Our mission isn’t confined to financial transactions; it’s about advocating for positive change and genuine care for education and accessibility.”

Rachel Zillner, Co-founder, added, “We’re here to bridge the funding gap that plagues many women-founded businesses. Our vision extends beyond being mere check writers; we aim to catalyze an environment that fosters growth, education, and opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs.”

Descalzo brings her extensive leadership experience from Clutch, an award-winning women-owned business management consulting services company. Her accolades include recognition as Enterprising Woman of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year by prominent organizations, highlighting her dedication to fostering women’s entrepreneurship.

Zillner, a former finance executive and Co-founder and CEO of Clutch, has been recognized for her visionary leadership and commitment to supporting startups. Her accolades include Executive Woman of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year from EY, testament to her advocacy for women’s empowerment.

MinervaVerse’s ultimate ambition extends beyond financial realms. It aspires to be a pivotal force in the Greater Sacramento Region, championing inclusivity and diversity in entrepreneurship, nurturing a community of visionary leaders, and empowering underrepresented voices to thrive.

For media inquiries, contact: Sureena Johl, [email protected]

For more information about MinervaVerse, visit minerva-verse.com.

About MinervaVerse

MinervaVerse, founded by Anne Descalzo and Rachel Zillner, pioneers an inclusive entrepreneurial landscape, prioritizing underrepresented voices. Through the MinervaFund, they invest primarily in women-founded and people of color businesses, supporting them continually. Launching programs like MinervaAccelerator and MinervaIncubator, they aim to enhance leadership skills and empower startups with resources and guidance. Anne and Rachel envision a movement beyond financing, fostering growth, education, and opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs, aspiring to make Sacramento a hub for inclusive entrepreneurship.

About FourthWave

FourthWave is a non-profit accelerator for women-led technology businesses. Our inaugural Sacramento program launched in 2017, and in 2020, FourthWave formed a strategic partnership with the Carlsen Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Sacramento State. The FourthWave accelerator program provides founders with mentorship, leadership development, and preparation for funding.

FourthWave is committed to changing the narrative around gender equity, and we believe a core part of the story is seen through an economic lens. We know that investing in women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and increase economic growth. FourthWave envisions a world in which women receive 50% of venture capital funding.



Note to Editors: For additional information, interviews, or imagery, please contact the media representative listed above.