Oct 29 Pauliina Alanen
At Slush, we firmly believe that entrepreneurship belongs to everyone. Diverse teams perform better. That’s a fact. But it’s not only a matter of efficient performance but creating technology and products that serve the needs of as many people as possible.
The mission of All Raise is to double the percentage of women in VC partner roles over the next ten years and to increase the VC funding received by female founders from 15% to 25% in five years. Economically speaking, studies have shown that in just UK alone, a £10.1 billion boost could be unlocked to the economy just by supporting female entrepreneurs.
“Female Founder Office Hours is fundamentally about introductions and networks”, says Rebecca Kaden, one of the first members at All Raise and the lead organizer at the first Female Founder Office Hours in New York City. “We have 150 members actively participating in the mentoring program and 30 checks have been written out of those conversations,” she explains. Rebecca is the first female partner at Union Square Ventures and she will be joining our Female Founder Office Hours during Slush.
Tech investing is one of the most male-dominated fields both in the US and in Europe. In the US, only 8% of the partners in the top 100 venture companies are women (The Crunchbase Women in Venture Report). The way female entrepreneurs are treated in an investor meeting is different too. According to a study conducted by HBR, venture capitalists pose men questions about the potential for gains and women get questions about potential losses. Another HBR study concluded that women entrepreneurs get funded 25% of the amount they asked for, whereas men get 52% of the applied-for-amount.
In the US, action to improve the situation has already been taken. That movement has quickly reached Europe too, where the first European Female Founder Office Hours was organized in London at the beginning of this year. Still, a lot remains to be done.
“It was clear that we needed to take the idea to Europe as well. We asked what the founders needed and one thing that stood out was a better access to angel investors, especially female angels,” says Tara Reeves, Partner at LocalGlobe, who organized the Female Founder Office Hours in London. The event has managed to get a lot of attention in the VC world and within a year it has built a solid togetherness between the VCs and founders participating.
According to Pitchbook, the amount of VC money raised by female-founded US based companies (companies with at least one female founder) is 14%, Europe following closely at 11%. One reason for this is the lack of women founders. According to Rebecca, more female founders are needed across all the industries. “Diversity goes both ways: I’m a woman and most of my network is women. I get to see a lot of great female-founded companies that I want to invest in.”
Much of the “too few women” discussion revolves around hiring, which is one of the single biggest areas where LocalGlobe contributes to at their portfolio companies. “We invest in startups at the seed or otherwise early stage so getting the right people to the team is crucial. This means making sure that diversity starts already at the very early hires,” says Julia Hawkings, who like Tara, is a Partner at LocalGlobe. Julia is also joining our Female Founder Office Hours at Slush.
“The idea of a ‘pipeline problem’ is a mess”, adds Rebecca. “All you have to do is work harder, there is a lot of talent there.” To make hiring easier, All Raise has created a talent tool for finding female talent.
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