In the current scenario, female founders face great barriers to get access to funds for their tech businesses as compared to their male counterparts. Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, says, “There’s a substantial body of research showing that diverse management teams bring superior returns and are more capital efficient. It’s shocking then that still about 90 per cent of all VC funding in Europe goes to all-male teams, and only one Black woman in the last 10 years managed to raise Series A+ funding.”
Keeping this in mind, Playfair Capital and 90 of the world’s leading VC funds including Atomico, Creandum, Dawn, Balderton, EQT, Notion, LocalGlobe, Partech, and Sequoia have announced to hold remote office hours for more than 250 women founders from across Europe.
Marta believes, “Initiatives like this one are critical to level the playing field for women founders, to include women in the wealth creation opportunities that tech brings, and to ensure that tech is built for everyone – so it can work for everyone.”
Aim of this project?
This is the fifth event that has a long-term aim to redress the gender balance in fundraising and to expand this initiative to European founders and utilise AI matching technology between founders and investors to optimise funding outcomes from the event.
In this event, each founder will have the opportunity to meet four investors during one hour of remote office hours to discuss their tech business idea, ask for advice, pitch for investment, or find a mentor.
The event is being held jointly by Playfair Capital, Tech Nation, and Google for Startups on 6th May 2021.
Chris Smith, Managing Partner at Playfair Capital, says, “When we launched Female Founder Office Hours in November 2019, we never imagined that we would be launching a European event in collaboration with such incredible partners like Tech Nation and Google for Startups.”
About Playfair Capital
The team at the venture capital firm Playfair Capital engages with founders of startups in the nascent stages and invests small pre-seed funds. It distinguishes itself from other UK seed funds as all its capital is supplied by its chairman Federico Pirzio-Biroli. After the successful initial period and leading investments, he has moved to Kenya and has the team led the second funding round. The management is now handled by Chris Smith, an active angel investor for over a decade. He has joined Playfair as a partner.
Based in London, Playfair combines the best aspects of angel investing with a focused fund, to invest in truly ambitious founders, wherever they are in the world. The VC firm takes a sector-agnostic approach and investments span deep tech, SaaS, marketplaces, and B2B companies.
“We’ve backed the founders of more than 60 companies including Mapillary (acq. Facebook), CryptoFacilities (acq. Kraken), Omnipresent, Orca AI, Ravelin, sprout.ai, Thought Machine, Trouva and Vinehealth,” the company said in a statement.
Data from the last 4 events
According to the data from the previous four events, over 18 per cent of companies, that have attended, have gone on to secure funding from VCs, angel investors, or other sources.
Jeevan Sunner, Associate at Playfair Capital, comments, “Data from the previous four editions of Female Founder Office Hours is hugely encouraging – 95 per cent of investors kept in contact with one or more founder post-event – but there’s more we can do. With the support of Google for Startups, Edition V will be the first D&I initiative in the venture capital space that uses AI matching between founders and investors to optimise funding outcomes. We’re excited to see the impact this will have and will be reporting results in the following months.”
The previous four editions saw a total of 2,000 individual mentoring sessions with 490 founders and 105 investors taking part. Some of the startup success stories include, Organise, SideQuest, Paid, Freyda, and Juno.
Lauren Nicholson, Community Lead at Tech Nation, says, “Moving forward, the use of our AI matching tool, will enable us to provide a great level of support and networking opportunities which in turn will optimise outcomes and enable us to support even more female-founded teams on their growth journeys.”
Growth of women founder-focused events
To extend the impact beyond the UK, Playfair has been making its playbook available to any other fund that wants to hold events for underrepresented founders.
To date, women founder-focused events have been held in the US with Anthemis, Diversity VC and Ladies Who Launch, and Southeast Asia with Cocoon Capital and Click Ventures.
Other events Playfair has supported include: Access All for BAME founders with Floww, Force Over Mass and Wayra UK in the UK; Ask Me Anything with Grove Ventures in Israel; and Founders Labs with the Kansas City University Venture Fund.
About Tech Nation and Google for Startups
Tech Nation fuels the growth of game-changing founders, leaders, and scaling companies so they can positively transform societies and economies. “We provide them with the coaching, content and community they need for their journey in designing the future,” the company said in a statement.
Its aim is to unlock the growth potential of 1000 scaling tech leadership teams across the UK by 2022. Also, it wants to contribute to a future in which anyone with vision and drive can access the skills and support needed to succeed as a game-changing leader.
As for Google for Startups, it believes “At their best, startups solve complex problems. When they succeed, they move us all forward.” Google for Startups builds Campuses, and supports a global network of leading tech hubs, accelerators, and diversity-focused organisations across 125 countries, and connects them to the best of Google’s resources.
The Google for Startups Campus in London was launched in April 2012 as one of the UK’s first open spaces for collaboration, workshops, and events aimed at the startup technology community.
Since opening in 2012, startups at Google for Startups Campus in London have created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290M in funding.