Female Ventures Fund aims to invest £10m in female founders and women-led start-ups over the coming 12 months.
The Seed Enterprise Investment Fund, which launched this morning, wants to address the historical inequality that only 1 per cent of venture capital money goes to women-only start-ups, while men-only start-ups get 89 per cent.
The Female Ventures Fund is housed inside Innvotec, the London-based fund management firm which already has 25 per cent of its portfolio dedicated to female-led companies, more than double the industry average of 12 per cent.
The fund also wants to have more women investing in the start-up world.
So far, FVF already has 35 portfolio companies signed up taken from Innvotec’s main portfolio, including a cancer research firm building technology for radiotherapy drugs, a company building smart home tools to tackle fuel poverty, a sustainable fashion brand marketplace, and a green technology firm monitoring shipping fuel emissions.
The fund plans to stay invested for anything between 10-12 years, as growth companies go through successive funding rounds.
Lesley Gregory, chairwoman of law firm Memery Crystal, will lead the advisory board. Gregory specialises in advising growth companies on alternative forms of raising finance and is one of only two lawyers – and the only woman – to be ranked by Chambers as an eminent practitioner for small companies listed on the AIM stock exchange. She was previously an advisory board member entrepreneur/investor community E2E Exchange and founded Memery Crystal’s female entrepreneurs’ Women In Business network.
Gregory said: “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.”