Fund fo­cused on fe­male star­tups of­fers up to £10m this year

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business -

Matthew Field

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.

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