A new female-focused fundraising programme has launched today with backing from some of the UK’s leading venture capital (VC) firms as it looks to take on the UK’s gender funding gap.
The 200bn Club, named after the economic contribution female founders could make with better representation, has rolled out a 12 week programme designed to accelerate financing directed to female founders and connect them with leading VCs from the seed stage to Series A rounds.
The new scheme has the backing of 43 leading VCs with over £900bn in assets under management, including Balderton Capital, HSBC Ventures and Augmentum Fintech.
Dr Amber Ghaddar, co-founder of the 200bn Club, told City A.M that the programme was inspired by her own fundraising experience and would educate founders in “everything I wished I had known earlier”.
She said: “As a female founder, I’ve experienced first-hand the pains of raising funds and understanding the real reasons VCs reject investment.
“With the help of our VCs and corporate partners, we are backing women to adapt, conquer and change existing paradigms within private equity financing.
“Female founders currently receive five times less funding than their male counterparts, with this number falling even lower among minorities, so The 200Bn Club aims to arm females with the expert-led support they need to succeed.”
The 200Bn Club programme will initially run online, consisting of five hours of classes and workshops per week, with corporate partners including CMS Law and Mishcon de Raya offering courses and training on Legal, IP and Regulations.
Weekly sessions with VCs will see investors give frank feedback on why they would not invest in a firm, Ghaddar said, with the aim of ironing out issues in pitches and business models.
Female-founded startups across Europe face a dearth of venture capital investment with women securing the lowest share of investment, despite generating more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested when compared to male-founded companies, according to research from the State of European Tech.
Ghaddar told City A.M. that unconscious bias in the industry still prevented female-led businesses from attracting funds
She said: “Research shows investors feel most comfortable with a male founder aged between 30-40.
“If you are a woman with a high voice and pink suit pitching a financial services company, it is very hard for investors to see you as a leader in the sector.”
Ghaddar said that it was crucial for VC investors to begin seeing more successful founders so they could challenge these biases.
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