San Francisco

Fifteen of London’s fastest growing women-led technology startups are being given the chance to pitch to Silicon Valley investors.

The female founders will take part in a trade mission to the Bay Area, on the West Coast of the US. The aim is to explore investment, export and expansion opportunities in the area.

The four day event is part of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s #BehindEveryGreatCity initiative and Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK).

The women will be able to pitch to West Coast venture capital firms, learn from US founders about scaling their businesses globally and meet with executives at Google, Facebook and Box.

Some of the businesses attending include: Abigail Rappoport, CEO of Emoquo; Anne McNamara, co-founder and CEO of Shine Bid; Darina Garland, co-founder and chief experience officer of Uuni; Devika Wood, founder and CEO of Vida; and Ella Goldner, co-founder and general manager of Zinc.

The companies were chosen based on average growth rates of 75% per annum and having, collectively, 400 employees.

The impending trade mission announcement comes alongside investment data from London & Partners which shows that 2017 was a record year for venture capital funding into UK tech companies from Bay Area investors. Investment in British tech firms reached over £1.6bn, compared with £908m invested in 2017 and almost three times the £538m raised in 2016.

This is significantly more than other countries in Europe last year, where France received £214m, Germany bagged £394m and Sweden hit £263m.

The #BehindEveryGreatCity initiative is a gender equality campaign to mark the centenary of the first women in the UK winning the right to vote.

Sadiq Khan said: “London’s tech ecosystem is one of the most diverse in the world and the women in tech on this trade mission to Silicon Valley offer further proof that you can grow a successful tech business in London regardless of your gender or background. I am pleased that my International Business Programme is able to help them maximise their investment and networking opportunities in North America, creating further jobs and growth for London.

“As two of the world’s leading tech hubs, there is a great opportunity for London and Silicon Valley to lead the way in promoting greater diversity for the global tech community,” he added.   

Analysis of PitchBook’s investment data showed that the 46 female-led companies that participated in the SVC2UK trade missions have raised more than £300m (£304.7m total) in VC funding, with four of the companies being acquired after their participation in the programme.

Joanne Smith, founder and Group CEO of Recordsure & TCC, one of the companies travelling on the trade mission, said: “To represent London as one of the UK’s most exciting high-growth companies is a tremendous honour. As well as an exciting opportunity to expand our international network, the trade mission provides a unique platform to share knowledge, ideas and insights with some of the leading minds in the world of tech, and I look forward to discussing the innovative solutions being applied across such a diverse range of industries.”

This is the fourth SVC2UK trade mission to the Bay Area. Debbie Wosskow, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of AllBright; Jess Butcher, co-founder of Augmented reality startup and UK unicorn Blippar; and Emily Brooke MBE, founder of Blaze, have all previously taken part.