2 February 2018 Courier Weekly

SPECIAL: Female founders (and new Courier out next week)

New issue — Investing in women — Business schools and academies — Role models — Staying informed

Female founders mean business.

In our next issue’s cover story, we explore how a tidal wave of new workspaces, networks, funds, courses, members’ clubs and events could make 2018 a pivotal year for women in business.

Our senior reporter spoke to dozens of female founders and investors, went to numerous events and spent time in many of these new workspaces. What she learnt was equal parts inspiring, frustrating and fascinating.

You can read the full report in Issue 21, out February 7.

Female VCs stepping up.

In January, a group of London’s most influential venture capitalists launched a new initiative to help female founders get face time with female VCs. Female Founders will run a number of events throughout the year.

It comes off the back of several damning reports. In 2016, Atomico found that 80% of European venture funding went to companies with all-male founding teams, while just 2% of venture-backed companies had female CTOs. Crowdcube data shows that in 2016 just 15% of funding on its platform went to female founders.

Read how several stellar founders, from The Dots’ Pip Jamieson to Apolitical’s Robyn Scott, have dealt with institutional bias in the new issue.

Back to (business) school.

Sharmadean Reid is one of London’s most prominent female founders (and the cover star of our latest issue). In 2016, she formed Future Girl Corp, a free initiative to back a new wave of women founders with talks, workshops and support groups. Reid and co-founder Amy Thomson are now taking Future Girl Corp digital, in the form of a 12-module online business tool kit.

‘This allows all girls to take the course we have written and host with girls in their own community, no matter where in the world they live,’ says Thomson.

Future Girl Corp isn’t alone in sharing business know-how. In January, women-focused co-working space Blooms announced a new six-month programme for female founders, in partnership with not-for-profit incubator Hatch.

The power of the role model.

There are many theories and studies around how funding is geared towards men. The fetishisation around ‘aggressive scaling’ and the apparent preference VCs have for startups with all-male founding teams are two examples.

Yet the impact of a male-led startup ecosystem goes back much further than seed round pitches.

‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ This devastatingly simple line from Lu Li, founder of Blooms (pictured), captures how significant it is for individuals from underrepresented groups to see others like them achieving great things. We expand on this thought in Issue 21.

Newsletters and digital networks for women in startup.

A crop of email newsletters built around the needs of female entrepreneurs have also popped up.

Two favourites in the Courier office are Blooming Founders (for events around London and other news snippets) and Femstreet 22 (on global female funding news and development).

Meanwhile, Women Who, One Girl Band and Courier columnist Phoebe Lovatt’s WW Club all offer advice on freelancing and negotiating a better working life. Future Girl Corp’s social media channels are also a gold mine for business advice from likeminded female founders.

Finally, a few more newsletters worth digging into: Vestpod (finance for women), Angel Academe (for angel events and news on investment into women-founded companies), Women of Wearables (what it says on the tin) and AllBright (for events and academy news).