It is estimated that only 18% of SMEs were led by women in 2012 (1). Currently less than 5% of venture capital is invested in women (2) and it is thought that just 5% of UK angel investors are female (3). Why might this be the case? Various theories are put forward, such as people tend to invest in people just like themselves i.e. men invest in men, and that less women study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, that may lead to the creation of the type of businesses angels look to fund. One of the ways to address this imbalance is by backing more women led businesses to create a greater number of successful women entrepreneurs and subsequently more female angel investors.
Why invest in women? There is data coming from the US that women led businesses produce favourable returns for investors and it would be great to see more of this in the UK.
Delta2020 is a keen supporter of ambitious female-founded and led businesses and its partners currently have investments in the following:
Buddybounce - SaaS audience engagement and marketing platform
Emma and Giulia cofounded Buddybounce and are responsible for tech and product respectively. Emma has a degree in engineering and describes herself as a 'digital geek', with development and project management experience working with big corporates. Giulia is a design strategist and innovator having studied engineering, design and entrepreneurship and previously worked in digital UX based roles.
Dressipi – Online fashion advice and recommendation engine
Female Founder/Leader: Sarah McVittie and Donna North
Sarah and Donna cofounded Dressipi having both previously set up and led businesses before. Previously, Sarah launched and ran the multi-award winning company Texperts (the first Q&A SMS service in the world) which was sold to KGB. Sarah was recognised by Management Today magazine as one of the top 35 female entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Before Dressipi, Donna led IMG Digital EMEA, and prior to that co-created The Interactive Content Factory (ICF), which was sold to Verizon.
Abundance Generation – Crowdfunding platform for renewable energy projects
Female Founder/Leader: Louise Wilson
Louise is Managing Director of Abundance Generation, having co-founded the company. She previously worked as Head of Equity Capital Markets for EMEA at UBS Investment Bank and was voted among the 100 most influential women in the City in Financial News. In between Abundance and UBS, she helped set up Dressipi (as above).
Anvil Semiconductors - Semiconductor solutions for the power electronics market
Female Founder/Leader: Jill Shaw
Jill is a highly experienced business leader with a track record of successful business development, project delivery and profit growth within high tech enterprises ranging in size from start up to £400m. Jill has a degree in Electrical Engineering and is CEO of Anvil Semiconductors.
Growth Engineering - Online learning platforms using gamification
Female Founder/Leader: Juliette Denny
Juliette is on a mission to make learning fun and kill off dull learning platforms as the founder and Managing Director of Growth Engineering. At 23, she built a successful computer games distribution business from scratch and sold it. In addition to a Harvard University education Juliette held previous sales and business development roles, managing to increase a corporate media company's sales figures from £2m to £120m within two years.
Delta2020 Managing Partner Simon Thorpe is also a member of Angel Academe, a pro-women (but not women-only) angel investment group focussed on technology, which looks to mentor and support female led businesses. For more info see www.angelacade.me.
1. Women and the economy – Parliament: www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn06838.pdf