As we experience it today, the modern world is possible only because of the unwavering contributions made by women towards our society. While generations of resilient women struggled to help us reach this point, there’s still ways to go. About 47% of women represent the UK labour workforce, out of that only 27% of women comprise the overall VC labour force, as per a Diversity VC report.
Women are significantly under-represented in investment teams, with merely 13% of decision-makers in the UK’s venture capital scene. The gender divide is quite evident, as pointed out by Johannes Lenard. While conducting his research with VC firms, he was greeted by a female office assistant who offered him coffee at almost every firm while almost every time, the partner of the fund turned out to be a white male that’s over 40-year old.
While this scenario is bound to change with time, some inspiring women do exist in the venture capitalist scene. This International Women’s Day, UKTN takes a look at and recognises some of the most prominent female investors in the UK VC space. These women have made a name for themselves by fighting against all odds, working hard and simply being exceptional in their respective fields.
Managing Partner at IQ Capital
With over 20 years of venture capital experience, Kerry Baldwin deeply understands what matters most. She started out with Venture Technologies, a £35.79 million deep tech fund back in 1997, which she navigated to achieve high profile exits such as Autonomy (IPO), Whereonearth (Yahoo), Trustbase (SunMicrosytems) and Durlacher (IPO).
Baldwin lends her expertise as a member on several boards, including BMLL, Bloomsbury AI, KisanHub, Apperio, and Divido. Building upon her prior work, she also led the notable Sirigen’s exit ( to Becton, Dickinson and Company). As the BVCA council vice-chairman, she is the first person from the VC sector to be nominated for the position in over a decade and sits on the BVCA Venture Capital Committee. Baldwin is also a Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge University, Judge Business School.
Founder and CEO, Astia
Sharon Vosmek is currently the Founder and CEO at Astia and the Managing Director of the Astia Fund. She transformed Astia during her tenure as CEO since 2007, having previously served as COO from 2004. She led Astia’s growth from 20 individuals in Silicon Valley to the global community of more than 5,000 investors, entrepreneurs, family offices, industry leaders and individuals that it is today.
Vosmek was one of the founding managers and members of Astia Angels, the global investment group launched in 2013 to invest directly into women-led high-growth companies. Alongside several accolades to her name, her speaking engagements include the United Nations, White House Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference and many more.
Chief Investment Officer at Beringea LLP
Karen McCormick is currently the Chief Investment Officer at Beringea. Prior to her current work, she was with the Boston Consulting Group and ran the Watch division of Swiss Army/Wenger. Unlike most VCs, she has experience with startups as both a founder and advisor. At Beringea, she takes charge of new investments and works with portfolio companies to exit.
McCormick has multiple notable investments under her portfolio: Fnatic, Watchfinder, Thread, Blis, Monica Vinader, and MatsSoft. She has an MBA from INSEAD and a BSBA from Boston University.
Dr Cassie Doherty
Investment Director at Parkwalk Advisors
Currently, the Investment Director at Parkwalk Advisors from IP Group, Cassie Doherty has worked in life sciences investment for over a decade. Prior to joining IP Group where she worked in different capacities for just over 11 years, Cassie worked in an early-stage pharmaceutical company where she led drug development programmes from academic research into Phase II clinical studies. Doherty loves science, as it is apparent from her BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and PhD from the University of Leeds. She is also a board member of MoA Technology and Dynamic Vision Systems.
VC Investor at Playfair Capital
Jeevan Sunner’s early stage career looked quite different. After studying Pharmacology at UCL, she went on to Intern at BlackRock and PwC. She soon after joined the PwC graduate scheme in the Restructuring/Insolvency department, where she also gained her ACA Chartered Accountant qualification. Summer then Moved into PwC’s Commercial Innovation team, running the corporate accelerator for early-stage startups and helping startups fundraise for their Series A.
After realising that VC was her dream career, she moved to Playfair. Since joining Playfair in September 2020, she has been focused on working closely with Vinehealth, organising Female Founder Office Hours, and new deal-flow.
VC Investor at DN Capital
Currently working as an investor at DN Capital, Maryna Omelchenko focuses on Consumer and Marketplace investments in Europe and the US, focusing on the mobility, media and wellness sectors. She has worked on several mobility deals at DN Capital, including Kyte, Weezy, and most recently, the Auto1 IPO. Alongside being an investor at DN Capital, Omelchenko is also a VP for several start-ups, University Incubators and Global Accelerator Programmes, being most recently a Mentor and Venture Partner at the 2021 Techstars Mobility Accelerator.
Furthermore, Omelchenko has an entrepreneurial background as the Founder and CEO of an EdTech venture in London and she is the holder of the exceptional talent visa in Digital Technology in the UK.
Partner at Sweet Capital
Pippa Lamb is currently a Partner at Sweet Capital. She focuses on a wide range of consumer technology investments ranging from software and next-generation social communities to fintech. Prior to Sweet, Lamb worked in private equity at LVMH-backed L-Catterton, where she was part of the investment team that worked on a $175m co-invest with JD.com into China’s largest luxury e-commerce player. She previously spent five years at J.P. Morgan in London and Hong Kong as a part of the global equity strategy team
Pippa’s first job out of college was with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where she worked on the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and on Prime Minister David Cameron’s first state visit to China. Pippa grew up in the UK with a half-inventor, half-engineer father, who instilled in her a deep curiosity for building things from the ground up. Pippa sits on the Board of Trustees for the British Friends of Harvard Business School, and represents Sweet Capital on HM Treasury’s Investment in Women Code. She holds an BA from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.
Emily Brooke MBE
Partner at Revent, NEC at Beryl
Emily Brooke is the Founder of Beryl, one of the UK’s leading micromobility companies and she’s currently a partner at Revent. Beryl began as Emily’s final year university project in 2011, she founded the business a year later with the sole purpose; ‘to build a better world by getting more people in cities on bikes.’ Beryl came into the limelight for its Laserlight safety innovation, which was adopted by all of the 12,000 Santander Cycles in London. Brooke invented this life-saving technology.
Emily has won numerous awards for her contributions. These include the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman New Gen Award and the Everywoman Woman of the Year, Bloomberg Innovator. In 2017, she was awarded an MBE from the Queen for her contributions to Transport and the Economy.
Founding Partner Seedcamp
Reshma Sohoni cofounded Seedcamp in 2007. Her firm has backed hundreds of companies, including notable unicorns such as Revolut, TransferWise and UiPath, the robotic process automation company that achieved a $10 billion valuation in July 2020. She also led the fund to exits such as Stupeflix (acquired by GoPro), Holvi (acquired by BBVA) and Brainent (acquired by Teads).
Sohoni always combined technology and business, starting from her university days. After obtaining a degree in both Engineering and Business (UPenn M&T), she cultivated a path to bring business and technology together. Early on in her career, during the height of the dot com boom, Reshma worked in M&A and venture capital across B2B Software and Internet services businesses in the US and India.
Sohoni went to INSEAD and earned her MBA. Starting Seedcamp in 2007 was a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that she jumped into with a strong desire to help the European founder realise global success.
General Partner at OpenOcean.vc
Ekaterina Almasque is a General Partner at OpenOcean. She invests in unique technologies enabling our future data-driven economies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, data infrastructure and more. Ekaterina is on the board of IQM, the European leader for superconducting quantum computers, as well as several other companies.
Before joining OpenOcean, Almasque worked as a Managing Director at Samsung Catalyst Fund in Europe. This is Samsung’s multi stage investment arm that focuses on cutting edge technologies. She led investments across Europe in companies such as GraphCore, Mapillary, Sentiance, Quobyte, AIMotive, and several venture funds.
For over a decade before that, Almasque was part of several corporate and independent venture capital funds in Silicon Valley and Europe, including EMC and Siemens Venture Capital. She was an entrepreneur from a young age as she founded her first software business at the age of 17. Ekaterina has academic background in AI/ML and cutting edge software solutions for data and information processing.
Partner at EQT – Growth
Carolina Brochado joined EQT Partners in June 2020. Before EQT, Brochado was a Partner at Softbank Vision Fund, where she invested in Growth stage companies globally, and prior to that, she invested in Series A and B rounds as a Partner at Atomico. Her recent investments include notable companies such as Gympass, Hinge Health, Rekki, Ontruck, Behavox, Memphis Meats and Farmdrop.
Brochado gained massive experience by previously working as Head of Ops to a now defunct gifting e-commerce start-up, as an investor at Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and within Consumer/Retail Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch in New York. Originally from Brazil, She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
CEO at Amadeus Capital Partners Limited
Anne Glover is one of the notable names in the VC space. She co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners in 1997 with Hermann Hauser. Building on her scientific training and operating experience, Anne has been an active venture capitalist for over a whopping thirty years. Early in her career Glover lived in the US, working in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company and in strategy consulting with Bain & Co.
She started investing in early stage companies when she returned to the UK and joined Apax Partners in 1989. She became Chief Operating Officer of one of her investee companies, Virtuality Group, after it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, and then returned to investing as a business angel before founding Amadeus in 1997.
A former Chairman of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (2004/05) and Invest Europe (formerly EVCA) (2014/15), Anne was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Court of the Bank of England in 2018 and in 2019 became a member of the Investment Committee of Yale Corporation, which is responsible for oversight of the Yale University Endowment.
Anne holds an MA in Metallurgy & Materials Science from Clare College, Cambridge, and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management. She was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to business and is an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.