A new venture capital fund has been launched to invest in female-led businesses.
A new venture capital fund has been set up to invest exclusively in UK female founded or co-founded enterprises.
The Female Ventures Fund (FVF) launched by alternative investment fund manager Innvotec also aims to encourage more women to invest in start-ups and early stage businesses.
Less than 1% of VC investment goes to all-female founded enterprises, according to research. The FVF will focus on carefully selected, early-stage businesses founded and co-founded by women. Innvotec will provide initial capital, followed by further financial and advisory support to further development after the early stages and beyond. It will focus on capital growth in the long term, making the journey with its portfolio companies over a period of typically 10-12 years, supporting the entrepreneurs from origination to establishment and beyond.
The FVF was created with the express intention of also encouraging more female investors into the VC space. It is aimed at retail investors as well as high-net worth individuals.
The FVF Advisory Board will be led by Lesley Gregory, a corporate lawyer and the Chair of law firm, Memery Crystal. Lesley specialises in flotations and secondary capital raising, as well as advising growth companies on alternative forms of raising finance. One of only two lawyers (and the only woman) ranked as an Eminent Practitioner for AIM companies by Chambers UK, Lesley is also one of only a handful of women top-ranked for Corporate and M&A: Mid-Market.
Lesley was previously an advisory board member for E2E Exchange, an established community of over 25,000 entrepreneurs and investors, which brings its members together from across 51 sectors and provides entrepreneurs with support, networking, and access to mentors and inspirational speakers. She also founded Memery Crystal’s successful female entrepreneurs’ Women In Business network.
She said: “For every £1 of venture capital investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, while all-male founder teams get 89p. This statistic is not new and yet it is, nevertheless, staggering to me. What is more obvious is that it must be addressed. In my profession, I come across a wide range of female entrepreneurs who have solid business models and yet don’t receive the funding they need. We want to change that. The FVF model will provide, not only funding, but also, support in critical drivers of VC success – networking, negotiation, business planning and mentoring.”
“As well as investing in female-led businesses, the fund is designed to encourage more women to become investors and back female-led businesses.”
The FVF portfolio is open to all sectors and will initially be comprised of companies selected from Innvotec’s existing portfolio, which contains more than 35 female-founded companies.
The fund will be managed by London-based Innvotec, an independent AIFM that already has 25% of its portfolio dedicated to female-led companies.