Female Founders Finally Find an Even Playing Field
We all know that fundraising for your startup is never easy. Especially today in a world of warm handshakes and in a world where you can no longer even shake hands.
Even though today there is more capital available than ever before how does one navigate this competitive landscape?
These are questions many first-time founders ask themselves but for female founders it’s even more complex, how do they even get a chance to secure some of this capital when in 2019 only 2.7% of venture capital dollars went towards companies with female entrepreneurs, thats 3.54 billion out of 110 billion invested globally. So the question remains - How does a female founder select the right VC firm that will allow her a fair piece of the VC pie?
In the face of a global pandemic and not being able to meet in person, founders, VC’s and the entire startup ecosystem is shifting and having to breakdown previous walls to create new alliances to find opportunity and synergy.
Well the good news is that such VC firms such as Playfair Capital make the selection process easier for founders especially with their female founder office hours that allows women founders access to mentorship, capital and growth than ever before!
Across two events — June 4th and June 24th — Playfair Capital and Tech Nation hosted 800 one-on-one office hour meetings for 200 female founders with 60 VCs. It’s the largest event of its kind for female founders across the UK and they hosted it all fully remote.
Our ParlayMe founder, January Barnes was lucky enough to be invited along to the June 24th session and it did not disappoint! We were able to sit in on a session with Cynthia Nadal Managing Director and Head of Fin-Tech at Founders Factory as she listened, mentored and gave exceptional advise to a female founder.
It’s no surprise that Playfair Capital has put together a virtual event of this calibre considering they have Angel DNA at their foundation and during the past 7 years they have been very hands on and pro-active with their portfolio of startups. It was a perfect collaboration with Tech Nation who provide coaching, community connections, insights and reports for the global startup community - together Playfair Capital and Tech Nation are building a solid and robust startup ecosystem with the size and scale of this event being unprecedented.
And if doesn’t stop there - Playfair Capital have ambitions to take this program and mission global to facilitate opportunity for all under- represented founders as 37% of founders identify as BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic). They are offering their playbook to anybody in the ecosystem who wants to put on similar events for underrepresented founders. As they have already supported events in the US (Anthemis) and SE Asia (Cocoon) to help take the movement global and they are committing to doing 3 large scale female founder office hours events each year Also importantly they select a high calibre of applicants to help ensure female founders can scale their startups with the right VC’s and at the right time.
This article summaries a quick summary of everything they set out to do, what they achieved, what they learned in the process, and what’s coming next. What they set out to do The full mission statement for Female Founder Office Hours can be found in their original post, but can be summarised here: There are two key problems: A lack of funding and wider support for female founders in tech A lack of access to investors, especially outside of London This is their solution: . Access . No warm intros needed. . Remote . Geography is not a barrier. . Collaboration . All investors, groups and initiatives working together. . Founder driven . Ask for feedback, pitch for funding or anything else. What they achieved This is the impact of our two Female Founder Office Hours events in June 2020: 800 office hour meetings 200 female founders 200 hours of mentorship, support & pitching 60+ VC investors from the UK’s leading funds 93% of founders would recommend to another female founder They started Female Founder Office Hours in October 2019 with the same aim, just on a smaller scale, with 45 female founders and 11 investors joining us in our offices at Warner Yard (pre-Covid 19).
Since then, they have grown the initiative and the office hours events in response to the overwhelming demand from founders, investors and the broader ecosystem. After our February 2020 second edition, they met the team at Tech Nation and they decided to go nationwide and part-remote to render geography a non-issue.
Covid-19 pushed us to go fully remote and they’re so glad they did.
Going fully-remote, via Zoom Breakout Rooms, gave much-needed structure to the scale of 800 one-on-one meetings and allowed founders to share materials more easily. It also enabled us to host a second event at short notice to accommodate huge demand from another 100 founders and 30 VCs.
What they learned in the process (Feedback) Feedback We have received some humbling positive feedback across our two events from founders: “Hands-down one of the best remote events I attended in the last 30 days...Super efficient and fit-for-purpose. Amazing job.” — Shiti @ Breathe Happy
“This is a great initiative and surely a milestone in terms of promoting female founders and giving them avenues to strive and thrive.” — Priya @ Intelliaqua “This is very efficient, I love it” ; “we don’t waste people’s time and they don’t waste ours, it’s great” — Anonymous founder “Highly recommend the Playfair Capital Office Hours to #femalefounders. Such a well organised event that I got so much value from. Huge thank to you Emma Steele, Erica Young, Katie Kim, and Simon Blakey for taking the time to chat with me and give super valuable insights.” — Sam @ Moneyed “[Female Founder Office Hours] is one of the few industry events I’ve attended which grants a fair playing field for female founders at any stage of the startup journey. Pre-Covid, I would never have had the chance of so easily accessing and pitching to a main partner of a large VC firm let alone four within one hour. Office Hours not only gave me and my business great exposure but I also took away solid advice, which I consider pivotal at such an early stage of my startup journey.” — Chanella @ On Beaute