Top 50 Female VC Investors in UK tech

Marija Butkovic
Jan 22, 2020 · 21 min read
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Every year, we release a different Top Women list(s), and this year we decided to start by focusing on female investors in the UK tech space. Under representation of women and diverse investors within the venture capital space is a huge problem that reflects not only on the internal teams within funds, but also on startups.

Our community is 20k+ big and one of the most common questions we get all the time is — ‘Can you connect or introduce us to some investors?’. Also, ever since we started running our events from Women & Money series, we were approached by dozens of female startup founders asking us for advice on where to find female investors and how to pitch them.

This is precisely the reason why from 2020 we decided to run series of panel discussions — From Investors Perspective, through which we hope to bring both local and global community of investors and startups together, each month focusing on different niche within the tech industry. Topic for January is Investing in FemTech and HealthTech, so if you’re in London next week join us for a discussion and some networking after!

If you’d like to contribute to our future events as speaker, partner or sponsor, drop us an email at hello@womenofwearables.com!

If you’re interested in our lists from previous years, check out our blog for more details!

Women of Wearables (WoW) is leading global organisation aiming to inspire, support and connect women and diverse groups in wearable tech, fashion tech, smart textiles, IoT, health tech and VR/AR. With headquarters in London (UK) and more than 20,000 members located around the globe, over the past four years WoW has become a global movement that supports its growing community through events, mentorship, educational programs and collaboration with its network of local ambassadors and partners. Our members are startup founders, designers, technologists, industry experts, researchers, bloggers, journalists, investors and many more.

This list was made by Women of Wearables London team, Marija Butkovic — founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and Anja Streicher, Women of Wearables CMO.

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A recent study by non-profit Diversity VC, has found that women are significantly underrepresented across London Venture Capital. 65% of funds in London have decision-making teams that are all-male. The proportion of women in London Venture Capital firms is 29% versus 46% for the London working population. The London Venture Capital scene is not attracting nor supporting female participation.

65% of funds in London have decision-making teams that are all-male. For comparison, London is accountable for ~90% of the funds in the UK without female representation.

Survey conducted among 223 venture capitalists (as a part of the same study) showed that the London Venture Capital community disproportionately comprises of white individuals when compared to the London population. In contrast, Black venture capitalists appear to be significantly underrepresented, alongside Asian venture capitalists.

Women in venture often have a higher level of education than men — in senior investment positions women hold an average of 1.5 degrees, compared to 1.3 for men. When it comes to junior positions, 8% hold PhDs or similar, compared to 1% of men.

This current situation is not only a reflection of a bigger problem existing in the UK tech ecosystem, but is omni present globally in other tech hubs. It also points at another big problem startups today are facing — without female investors, there is a huge gap between funding that goes to male-led businesses vs. female led ones.

One of the key messages from the above mentioned study by Diversity VC that reflects our work at Women of Wearables (and work of many other organisations and groups for women and diverse founders in tech) is following: ‘The founders that face the most barriers to capital are often the ones that have multiple structural disadvantages. If venture capital funds simply prioritise working with one group over another (or choose to work with one group ‘first’) this will disadvantage the founders that are most in need of support. Instead, funds should build relationships with a broad range of communities.

According to UK VC & Female Founders report, commissioned by Chancellor Philip Hammond at Budget 2017 and undertaken by the British Business Bank in partnership with Diversity VC and the BVCA, for every £1 of venture capital (VC) investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p. Venture capital investment in start-ups with female founders is increasing but progress is very slow. At current rates, for all-female teams to reach even 10% of all deals will take almost 25 years (until 2045).

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Source: UK VC & Female Founders report by British Business Bank (see above for link)

Recently published article by Harvard Business Review (‘How the VC Pitch Process Is Failing Female Entrepreneurs’) highlights a study from 2014 that used identical slides and scripts, voiced by men and women, with or without photos of the ‘presenter’, and then asked study participants to rate the investment. Pitches voiced by men significantly outperformed those with a woman narrator, and pitches where the narrator’s picture was a good-looking man performed best of all. Outcomes were the same whether the participants (‘judges’) were male or female. The researchers concluded, “Investors prefer pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches made by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch is the same.”

According to the same article, bias also appears in how entrepreneurs are questioned. Research from 2017 found that women are asked different questions than men when pitching to VCs. Across 180 entrepreneurs and 140 VCs at the TechCrunch competition, men were consistently asked more ‘promotion’ questions (highlighting upside and potential gains), while women were asked more ‘preventive’ questions (highlighting potential losses and risk mitigation). Entrepreneurs who addressed promotion questions raised at least six times more money than those asked the prevention questions.

HM Treasury’s Investing in Women Code highlights that a diverse and inclusive business ecosystem is good for customers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, and society and recommends data collection on the demographic of a fund’s pipeline in addition to having a nominated/appointed member of the senior leadership team responsible for supporting equality.

In order to raise awareness and to celebrate female investors, we at Women of Wearables have compiled a list of the Top 50 Female VC Investors in UK tech.

The only way to change the industry is to be part of the industry. Without more female role models, women cannot be what they cannot see. By showcasing and highlighting these women and their achievements, we hope to inspire more women to participate in building UK tech ecosystem and to invest in more female-led businesses. Venture capital firms have a unique opportunity to positively impact the companies in which they invest, and society at large. Hopefully, next year this list can feature many more women in UK venture capital landscape!

Top 50 Female Investors in UK tech

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Disclaimer: The list has been arranged in alphabetical order and not in rank. There are many more women who should be on this list and we’d like to encourage everyone to continue adding to it by posting in the comments. Also, in case you think we have missed someone or wish to suggest a correction, please drop us a line on hello@womenofwearables.com.

Follow Women of Wearables on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn and sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our activities!

Join us in London on 29th of January for our next event — From Investors Perspective: Investing in FemTech and HealthTech!

Women of Wearables

Global organisation for women if wearable tech, fashion…

Marija Butkovic

Written by

Founder and CEO @Women_Wearables. Keynote speaker, innovation and business consultant and blogger. #STEM ambassador. Top 50 Women in UK Tech by Computer Weekly.

Women of Wearables

Global organisation for women if wearable tech, fashion tech, health tech, IoT, VR and AR.

Marija Butkovic

Written by

Founder and CEO @Women_Wearables. Keynote speaker, innovation and business consultant and blogger. #STEM ambassador. Top 50 Women in UK Tech by Computer Weekly.

Women of Wearables

Global organisation for women if wearable tech, fashion tech, health tech, IoT, VR and AR.

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