According to a report commissioned by the government historical total Venture Capital investment levels in female founders have remained significantly low, at under 5% in the UK and this needs to change. In this piece, PwC talks about what they are doing to try to change this.
PwC Raise | Ventures partners with fast-growing, early-stage companies looking to raise between £1m – £30m to fund growth and provide support and expertise throughout the investment journey.
They work with many inspiring entrepreneurs building disruptive tech companies that are changing our lives and very often having a positive impact on society.
Some of the companies they have worked with include Orcha, who provide digital health services. They have helped its CEO and co-founder Liz Ashall-Payne by providing advice and guidance during their latest fundraising process. Another has been digital finance company Kore Labs, working with CEO Sabrina Del Prete also offering advice and accelerating their funding journey.
These are just two fantastic female founders that PwC Raise Ventures have worked with recently. However there is a lot more to do to help female founders.
In 2019 The Treasury commissioned Alison Rose, the CEO of the NatWest Group, to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. This found that £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men. For this to happen, female founders need to have access to the funding required to grow their businesses. The latest Rose Review progress report states that historical total Venture Capital investment levels in female founders have remained significantly low, at under 5% in the UK and this needs to change.
One of the key areas identified by the Rose Review progress report 2022 was the need for more networking and mentoring opportunities to support female founders and drive better access and awareness to funding.
This was the driving force for PwC to take action. So they started with Virtual Office Hours, an online forum where female founders are able to chat to an expert in the Raise Ventures team. The agenda is not set and it provides a safe supportive environment to discuss anything linked to fundraising. No questions are off limits.
Next came in person events, the first of which were in London in April 2022 and most recently in Manchester in November 2022. The events are a chance to share insight and make connections with others on a similar journey, meet investors and discuss everything from term sheets to fundraising tips. Some of the key observations from these events have been:
- The energy and positivity in the room is extraordinary and you can see the power and impact that these female founders can make to society.
- The founders appreciate the chance to come to events where they are not in the minority, something that is all too common for female tech founders.
- The founders consistently feedback that they value the environment where no question is a bad question. There is no competition to see who knows the most. It is about feeling comfortable to be open and learn.
Lindsay Fisher, the CEO and co-founder of Sparkbox who attended the Female Founders event in Manchester, said: ‘There are exciting female-led businesses in the North – at the event I met founders who are building everything from marketplaces and edtech platforms to a fintech that enables the delivery of preventative women’s health services in Africa. These events and resources are critical if we want to narrow the funding gap for female-led teams. I was particularly impressed to see that the PwC Raise | Ventures team provided not just a supportive environment, but a take-home pack that included data on standard investment terms and processes in the UK.’
For more information please the PwC Raise Ventures website.