Beyond HERizons, a new initiative from London & Partners’ Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVC2UK) programme designed to specifically tackle the funding gap that exists in the investment landscape, launches its inaugural cohort of female founders today.
The 12-month business support programme will provide 15 female entrepreneurs with the skillset, network and confidence to scale their businesses and secure investment. Female founders joining the programme have been selected following a competitive application process and are actively looking to secure Series A investment within the next year.
There is a stark funding gap between men and women in the investment landscape, with recent data from Dealroom.co and London & Partners revealing all-female founded businesses received just £22m, less than 0.5%, of the total £5.3bn VC invested into London tech firms between January and April this year1. Research from Extend Ventures also shows Black and Multi-Ethnic entrepreneurs are at an even greater disadvantage, with 0.02% of total VC invested from 2009-2019 going to Black female founders.
Female founders face particular barriers at the later stage of VC funding, with data showing that in 2020 77% of VC funding rounds into London-based all-female teams were at seed stage or earlier, while 19% were Series A and only two rounds were at Series B or later funding stage. The new Beyond HERizons initiative aims to specifically target the funding gap in the UK investment landscape that exists for female founders, in particular at Series A stage and beyond, and to build an inclusive and diverse network passionate about balancing gender inequalities in the investment ecosystem.
The entrepreneurs taking part in Beyond HERizons span a range of tech sectors from digital health and the circular economy to robotics and edtech. They include Letizia Gionfrida, Co-Founder & CEO of Arthronica, a digital-health diagnostic platform, Rahel Tesfai, Founder & CEO of FroHub, an Afro hair and beauty community and Mikela Druckman, Co-founder and CEO of Greyparrot, an AI-powered computer vision software increasing transparency and automation in recycling.
Other women joining the programme are Rene Perkins, Founder & CEO of CityMaaS.io which helps organisations to grow their inclusion using its cutting edge technology, Jill Hodges, Founder & CEO of Fire Tech, the UK’s leading provider of tech education for 8-17 year olds and Kike Oniwinde, Founder & CEO of BYP Network, connecting Black professionals with each other, careers, events, mentors and Black businesses.