Investment fund manager Innvotec is injecting £10 million into female-led firms to address the UK’s gender funding gap

Alternative investment fund manager Innvotec launched a new fund today (29 June) to invest exclusively in UK female-founded enterprises. Its Female Ventures Fund (FVF) will deploy £10 million this year into early-stage businesses that are founded or co-founded by women, with the aim of encouraging high net worth investors to back female-founded startups.

As a seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS), the FVF will provide initial capital to female-led startups as well as financial and advisory support for at least 10 years afterwards. Innvotec’s portfolio already includes 25 per cent female-led teams, which is around double the industry standard. The FVF portfolio will initially be comprised of the company’s existing businesses, which include sustainable fashion brand Green Sea Guard and health supplements brand Hunter & Gather.

The FVF is chaired by City lawyer Lesley Gregory, who heads up an advisory board made up of female business leaders. The aim? To address the gender funding gap for startups.

“For every £1 of venture capital investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, while all-male founder teams get 89p,” says Gregory.

“This statistic is not new and yet it is, nevertheless, staggering to me. In my profession, 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.”

Innvotec isn’t the only fund addressing the funding gap for female, black or minority ethic startup founders. Ada Ventures launched in December 2019 with a £27 million fund for ‘overlooked’ UK founders, while fund managers such as Brilliant Ventures and Halogen Ventures target investment inequalities in the USA.

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