Playfair Capital and Tech Nation are bringing together 30 of the UK’s leading venture capitalists and 100 female founders across more than 300 remote office hours meetings on Wednesday 24th June 10-1pm and 2-5pm BST.
They received so many applications for Female Founder Office Hours that they decided to put on another event for another 100 female founders, with 30 more VCs joining Playfair Capital and Tech Nation on June 24th.
They are incredibly excited to be taking Playfair’s collaborative Female Founder Office Hours to the next level after co-ordinating a total of 400 individual meetings with 90 female founders and 25 investors across our previous two editions hosted at Warner Yard. Only by working together can we move ever closer to female funding equality.
100 female founders, from anywhere in the UK, will each have the opportunity to meet four investors for one hour of remote office hours to discuss their tech business idea, ask for advice (covid-related or otherwise) and pitch for investment.
Never before have 30 early-stage VCs come together in such close collaboration to provide this degree of nationwide access and support to female founders.
They recognise that there is no single quick fix for redressing the lack of funding for female founders; we need everyone to play their part (see more below). That is why they are hosting collaborative office hours with dozens of other VCs, diversity groups and advocates.
They hope to build on their great work, helping to connect the dots between founders and investors.
They have embraced collaboration since Playfair was founded in 2013. That same year they opened Warner Yard, one of London’s earliest co-working spaces and home to hundreds of founders and investors over the years. They have seen firsthand the power of bringing people together — both in-person and remotely — who otherwise might not have had the chance. They hope these office hours continue to encourage collaboration throughout the tech ecosystem. They hope these efforts will help level the playing field for all.
Playfair Capital thanks the Founders’ Network team at Tech Nation, to all the investors who have supported this and previous editions, and to all the female founders who have and will participate — we must all redress this imbalance together.
Managing Director at Playfair Capital Chris Smith said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to see our third female founder office hours event come together with the support of Tech Nation and what must be one of the largest groups of VCs ever assembled in one (virtual) room. We know that it’s taking longer than it should to level the playing field for female founders and we hope that by bringing the ecosystem together at scale we can give a big shove in the right direction.”
Lauren Nicholson, Founders’ Network Lead at Tech Nation, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for all our female founder Founders’ Network members and we are delighted to be collaborating with Playfair Capital on such an important initiative. Female-led companies still only achieve 1p in every £1 invested in the UK and so Office Hour events like these are crucial to breaking down those barriers and creating opportunities for those teams to be supported by the investment ecosystem. We hope that this initiative will be a major step towards changing those statistics.”
Chris went on to highlight
"Much has been written on the inequality and challenges for female founders in tech in the UK. We have summarised the issues we’re facing and our proposed solutions in more depth below:
It all started back in July last year when we were shocked to read this statistic in theVinehealthpress release:
'only 12% of VC funding going to female founders and only 2% to all-female founded companies'
This led to the first two editions of Female Founder Office Hours at thePlayfair Capitaloffices and gave us an idea for something on a bigger scale
Our first date on 4th June was attended by 100 female founders and over 30 VCs, but this wasn't enough, and today we are announcing a second date on 24th June"
What issues are we facing?
1. Lack of funding and support for female founders in tech Female founders face greater barriers to accessing and securing investment for their tech businesses than their male counterparts. Brilliant organisations such as Diversity VC, the BVCA and the BBB have pioneered research and shone a light on what needs to change. The well-recognised infographic below highlights the key stats, with the full report available here. Infographic and research provided by Diversity VC, BVCA and BBB.We were shocked and inspired by these terrible stats to take real action ourselves. Leading the largest ever raise by an all-female founding team from EF with Vinehealth also brought these stats to life for us on a personal level and we have been committed to this office hours initiative ever since.
2. Lack of access to investors, especially outside of London London may be the financial centre of the UK, but entrepreneurship can come from any corner of it. In a pre-covid-19 world, a majority of investors were physically based in London because most founders also seemed to be based there. However, 87% of the UK does not live in London and we don’t think that makes them any less able or investable.This is our solution
1. Collaborative office hours give access to anyone Privileged connections should not play a part in your chances of securing investment and building a great business; your strength and passion as a founder and the power of your technology and brand should. Relevant cold introductions ≥ Warm introductions We believe relevant cold intros can be as powerful as warm ones. We’ve already invested in two fantastic founding teams this year who inbounded us completely cold with expertly crafted messages. We hope that by bringing 30 other investors together with the same openness to meeting founders ‘cold’, we can change the odds on a grand scale.
2. Remote office hours With the world embracing remote working and meetings, we see no reason why geography should be a barrier any longer. Our Female Founder Office Hours will always include a remote option regardless of global pandemics.
3. Women and men working hand in hand Some brilliant, inspirational women such as Eileen Burbidge, Francesca (Check) Warner and Sarah Nöckel have pioneered efforts to support female founders reach equality in a male-dominated tech ecosystem. They started speaking out and working to resolve the issues before anyone else, so thank you.
They couldn’t have built better foundations. Now more than ever we need everyone — both women and men — to row together in the same boat to get over the equality line. We recognise that diversity goes deeper than just funding and that VCs must continue to make efforts on their investment teams too. We are proud to have had Georgia Taylor Foster as our former Managing Partner and worked with Francesca Baillieu and Alexandra Baranowski. We are committed to playing our part to bring investors, founders and capital together and improve our tech ecosystem. We are also passionate about improving outcomes for younger people and we are driving forward initiatives such as the Playfair Academy to effect real change from the earliest stages.
Schoolgirls from the Harris Academy in Bermondsey attended Session II of the Playfair Academy at Warner YardDetails on how to register
Our third, remote edition of our collaborative Female Founder Investor Office Hours builds on the success of our previous events in February 2020 and November 2019. Our 2nd edition of Female Founder Office Hours, hosted at our Warner Yard offices in better, pre-covid timesThis time, we’re going fully remote to broaden access to female founders across the country, supported by Tech Nation and 30 investors from the UK’s leading VCs alongside the Playfair Capital team.
The primary aim of this initiative is mentorship & support, and secondary is fundraising. We hope that with time, the two will go hand-in-hand.
How to register
We welcome applications from any UK-based female founder whose business is tech and pre-Series A. We will do our best to accommodate as many founders as possible and provide support to all regardless. Applications open today Wednesday 22nd April and will close at midnight on Sunday 24th May.
We’ll be publishing a follow-up post detailing what to expect from office hours and how to make the most of the time with investors. Keep an eye on our blog.
Please register at the link on our events page.You can follow the Playfair team on LinkedIn, Twitter, Vimeo and here on Medium. If you’re a male founder and would still like to pitch us, please submit your application on our open-to-anyone pitch page.
Female Founders Office Hours Resources