APX Voices
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APX Voices

APX and JOIN Capital launch ‘VCs for Female Founders’

Female founders lack access to funding. To change that, 50* investors from Europe have joined forces to connect and provide female founders and mixed founding teams from DACH with remote funding office hours.

Many challenges exist on the road to building a company. You need to create a jaw-dropping product, form a dream team and master the momentum wave. But one thing that shouldn’t play a role in the success of your startup is your gender.

Unfortunately, the reality tells a different story.

Only 15.7 percent of all startup founders in Germany are female. Despite the leaps and bounds we’ve made with women in the workforce, women in science, and women in tech, female founders are still woefully underrepresented in the startup scene. Although the long-term data shows a slight increase, the last three years indicate stagnation.

But why are we not making decisive progress when it comes to the empowerment of female founders? Where do the main difficulties lie? This year’s Female Founders Monitors 2020 uncovered one of the main issues: Female founders lack access to funding!

So how can we change this? Referring to serial entrepreneur and investor Elaine Kundan as well as discussions with female founders in our portfolio, we at JOIN Capital and APX want fo focus on the following three action points:

  1. Investors need to acknowledge and openly support that investing in women has real economic benefits — and not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do. A recent BCG study gave us proof that female-run startups excel in capital efficiency and revenue generation. For every dollar invested, female-run teams generate 78 cents, whereas male-run teams generate only 31 cents.
  2. Women are navigating unique challenges in the VC world. With around 15% of female investors in Europe, venture capital with a historically grown network is still strongly dominated by men. Breaking into these circles and forming a shared reality is complex. Here, understanding how to present your idea, negotiate, and position your business is key.
  3. Millions of dollars are spent on advocacy, mentorship, sponsorships, and conferences. The organizations spending money to create platforms to talk about change can have a significantly greater impact by creating platforms to make the change actually happen.

While it may be easy to recognize that the status quo in the tech scene must change, it’s certainly more challenging to make the big strides necessary toward improvement. That is why JOIN Capital and APX are launching
“VCs for Female Founders” and forming the largest coalition of VCs in the entire DACH region to bring about real change, addressing the action points mentioned above.

On the 7th of August, we open our (virtual) doors for the first time and invite female founders and mixed founding teams from DACH to meet participating investors. The format is designed so that each founder can speak for 20–30 minutes in 1:1 sessions with relevant investors.

This is the first time that 46* VCs and CVCs have come together to offer support and provide insights into the black box of the funding process. We are happy to have an incredible batch of experienced investors on board.

The primary goal of this event is to break down access barriers and give female founders support in the crucial early-stage phases of their companies. Whether you have questions regarding the fundraising process, creating a winning pitch deck, planning milestones for your next round or finding your best-fit investor — we would like to be at your side with advice and guidance.

Why “Funding Office Hours”?

We think this format can help generate real momentum for female founders and their access to funds. Here’s why:

A Safe Space

We know that founding a company can seem like a mystery. The process is complicated and oftentimes an emotional rollercoaster.

Our meetings offer a safe space for female founders. Our goal is to create a room in which you feel comfortable asking all your questions, voicing your ideas and expressing your doubts. We know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but we are happy to listen and share our experiences.

Pitch Practice

The VC pitch is at the core of funding access. Earlier this year, an article by Harvard Business Review showed that female founders are systematically disadvantaged in this part of the fundraising process. Our VCs have seen more than a thousand pitches and are happy to share insights on how to excel.

DACH-wide Access to Network

It’s troublesome that 56% of female founders struggle to access investors in the first place. No startup can hit it off without getting the money they need. Our event is a great opportunity to get to know investors from all over the DACH region. We want to lower the barriers to get in touch with them when you’re looking for financing.

How to take part

We welcome all DACH-based, female-led startups with a tech business model prior to Series A. Registrations are open from Thursday, July 16th until midnight Tuesday, July 28th. We will do our very best to accommodate as many founders as possible. As the event is fully remote, you can join from anywhere.

Sign up here — and feel free to share with your network!

About JOIN:

JOIN Capital is a Berlin-based, early-stage VC firm investing in the European Neue Industry. With a combined experience of more than 50 years among the partners, JOIN focuses primarily on industrial and enterprise startups that are laying new foundations for our increasingly automated and connected world. JOIN’s extensive network and expertise make it a unique VC for the European industrial landscape and the rise of smart factories and buildings.

About APX:

APX is the leading pre-seed VC and accelerator program for very early-stage startups in Europe, based in Berlin. APX invests across industries in teams building digital businesses — often as the first investor — and supports each team with an investment of EUR 50K, access to an extensive network and a tailor-made growth program to secure follow-on financing.

APX is a joint venture between Axel Springer and Porsche. Since 2018, APX has invested in 50+ companies with founders from over 20 countries. APX is the successor to the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator, which from 2013 to 2017 was the first investor in more than 100 startups, including fintech unicorn N26.

*The number of VCs has been updated from 38 to 50 to include the VCs that joined in after the initiative was announced.



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Europe’s leading earliest stage VC. Based in Berlin and backed by Axel Springer and Porsche, we support the most ambitious pre-seed startups. APX.vc.