More often than not, problems of access for women founders and the resulting imbalance in funding have been witnessed across the globe. Trying to address this challenge has been a herculean task. However, attempting to change this and give women in technology a new helping hand is a new event. On 24 November 2021, Playfair Capital and 120 of the world’s leading venture capital funds, including Accel, Amadeus, Atomico, Balderton, Creandum, EQT, Notion, Partech, Project A and Seedcamp will be holding remote office hours for more than 300 female founders from across Europe.
Countdown begins for the sixth edition
Dispensing with the need for warm introductions and breaking down the barriers to investment, 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.
Over 300 female founders and 120 VCs this time
The event is being held jointly by Playfair Capital, Tech Nation and Google for Startups. The previous five editions saw a total of 3,000 individual mentoring sessions with 680 founders and 150 investors taking part. To date, 27% of founders have gone on to raise funding after attending an event, with success stories including Anansi, Freyda, HIVED, Vira Health, and Walking on Earth. This amounts to £184 million in total funding that has been disclosed.
This sixth event is part of a long-term commitment to redress the gender imbalance in fundraising, and will continue the use of AI matching technology. This technology improves the relevance of founder to investor matching and should increase the likelihood of funding being secured.
Addressing challenges for women founders
Chris Smith, Playfair Capital’s Managing Partner, commented: “Two years since the first edition of Female Founder Office Hours and I’m thrilled that we are seeing an increasing percentage of attendees go on to raise funding from VCs and angels. Yet the fact our sixth event will be the largest ever tells us that the problems of access for women founders and the resulting imbalance in funding remain. With our partners, investors and the support of the ecosystem we are fully committed to continue the mission we have started.”
Real equality in access to startup funding
Henrik Wetter Sanchez, Playfair Capital’s Principal, added: “Collaboration is Queen. At Playfair, we believe in the power of bringing people together to solve issues and make us all stronger. As investors, we recognise the potential for entrepreneurship to improve society, but this will not be fully realised until we achieve real equality in access to startup funding. That’s why we have always been strong advocates of the power of collaboration. We are using this principle to address the continuing headwinds for women founders in tech through our Female Founder Office Hours initiative, now in its sixth edition.”
Lauren Nicholson, Community Lead at Tech Nation, commented: “Founders’ Network is once again proud to be taking part in the 6th Edition of Female Founders Office Hours. It’s been a privilege to help support over 700 women founders over the last 2 years to take part in some of the 3,000 one-to-one mentoring and pitch meetings that FFOH have put on and witness their start-up journey. We’re excited to see the new founders and women-led teams to join us in November and see where the Office Hours takes them.”
Win-win for all
Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK said: “Access to networks and warm introductions are key when it comes to fundraising, which is why we’re so delighted to continuously partner with Playfair and Tech Nation for the Female Founders Office Hours. It’s a project where everybody wins – the VCs get access to exceptional founders, the founders get much needed cash to grow their businesses, and the customers get better, more inclusive, more competitive products, delivered by a more diverse tech ecosystem.”
To extend the impact beyond the UK, Playfair has also been making its playbook available to any other fund who wants to hold events for underrepresented founders. To date, female 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 we have 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.