Fund focused on female startups offers up to £10m this year
AN INVESTMENT fund focused on female founded start-ups is hoping to plug the gap that sees women receive just 1pc of all venture capital funding.
Female Ventures Fund, a new vehicle chaired by City lawyer Lesley Gregory, is hoping to deploy up to £10m this year in start-ups led by all female or female co-founded teams.
Studies of Britain’s venture capital sector have found that 89p in every £1 goes to teams led exclusively by men. Meanwhile, only around 1pc goes to teams led exclusively by women.
The Female Ventures Fund will be part of Innvotec, an alternative investment fund manager, as an open-ended fund with the aim of attracting high net worth investors to back female founded firms.
Ms Gregory will lead the fund’s advisory board, made up of female business leaders. Ms Gregory, who is chairman of law firm Memery Crystal, said the fact that just 1pc of funding went to allfemale start-up teams was “not new and yet it is, nevertheless, staggering to me”.
She added: “What is more obvious is that it must be addressed. In my profession, I come across a wide range of female entrepreneurs who have solid business models yet don’t receive the funding they need.”
The fund will be managed by Innvotec, which has around 25pc of its portfolio invested in female-led teams, around double the industry average.
The Female Ventures Fund will initially include holdings in 35 companies from Innvotec’s main portfolio. These include a cancer research firm building technology for radiotherapy drugs, a company building smart home tools to tackle fuel poverty, and a green technology firm monitoring shipping fuel emissions.