UK venture capitalist firms offering funding to female-founded startups in 2023

It is more crucial than ever that female-owned businesses have access to funding - here are just a few examples of UK VCs currently investing in female entrepreneurs.

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Are you a driven and talented female founder striving to make your mark in the business world? If so – we understand the unique challenges that tend to come along with this journey, particularly when it comes to securing vital funding for your ventures.

Despite significant progress in recent years, the path to securing funding for women-led startups continues to present challenges. The Rose Review 2023 shed light on a disheartening lack of progress:

  • 80% of female entrepreneurs did not feel confident about economic growth leading up to this year, and
  • Less than 1% of UK venture funding goes to all-female teams.

In spite of these obstacles however, there is most definitely hope (and help) out there if you know where to look.

Our objective in this article is to keep you informed of the latest advancements in female-friendly venture capital (VC) investment in the UK. We’ve curated this list to empower you to confidently navigate the funding landscape and make better-informed choices about where to seek the support your small business deserves.

UK VCs offering investment for women

In an effort to bridge the funding gap, we compiled a list of some of the most significant UK VCs that are actively offering female-focused or diversity investment

The landscape is constantly evolving, and new players may emerge over time – and so, we will keep this page regularly updated to try to ensure it contains all of the most current information. 

So without further ado, let’s get started:

Angel Investment Network

Angel Investment Network is committed to connecting investors with businesses led by one or more female founders. What started as a small initiative has now grown into a vast network with 30 branches spanning over 80 countries. Their community boasts an impressive count of 1,951,103 registered members, including 322,506 investors and 1,628,581 entrepreneurs.

In fact, they proudly hold the title of being the largest angel investment community globally, with their numbers growing by the day. Their efforts have already facilitated £200 million in funding for some of the most innovative startups in the United Kingdom and beyond such as Runway, MEL Scholar Limited and FETCHpay.

Find out more: Angel Investment Network

Astia

Astia operates as an expert community dedicated to levelling the playing field for female entrepreneurs. With a global network of over 5,000 investors and support from notable sponsors like Google for Startups, J.P. Morgan, and the Three Guineas Fund, Astia provides access to capital and resources for women-led businesses.

Find out more: Astia

BBG Ventures

BBG Ventures is an early-stage fund with a keen focus on consumer tech startups led by female founders. Their diverse portfolio includes notable companies such as The Wing, a membership-based women's club, and Zola, an innovative wedding registry platform.

Find out more: BBG Ventures

The British Business Bank

Despite reports that banks are currently reining in SME lending, The British Business Bank is not stopping yet. They recently ran a study in collaboration with Diversity VC and BVCA to examine the current landscape for VC and female founders in the UK. Through their report and subsequent action plan, they aim to challenge VC firms on issues of diversity and inclusion. So far, they have championed brands such as Exonate, Den, and LivingLens.

Find out more: The British Business Bank

Cartier Women's Initiative

The Cartier Women's Initiative is an annual international program that seeks to empower women-run and women-owned businesses with a strong and sustainable social and/or environmental impact. Since its inception in 2006, the initiative has raised an impressive $3 million in funding to support female entrepreneurs. What’s awesome about the Cartier Women’s Initiative is that they offer three distinct awards: one for sustainability as mentioned, but also for being a Science and Technology Pioneer, and another for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Find out more: Cartier Women’s Initiative

Catalyst at Large

Catalyst at Large, founded by Suzanne Biegel, works to incorporate a “gender lens” in investing. While not a fund itself, this organisation plays a pivotal role in promoting gender-focused work across investment, philanthropy, international development, and entrepreneurship.

Find out more: Catalyst at Large

Diversity VC

Diversity VC is a non-profit partnership dedicated to promoting diversity within the VC industry. Their initiatives focus on helping investment firms hire talent from diverse backgrounds – broadening the industry and creating a more representative landscape of global VC opportunities.

As a non-profit partnership, Diversity VC aims to increase diversity of thought in the venture capital industry. They organise events for VCs and entrepreneurs, with the goal of creating a venture capital community that reflects the diverse nature of entrepreneurship.

Find out more: Diversity VC

Femstreet

Femstreet is a weekly newsletter founded by Sarah Nöckel, a VC investor formerly at Dawn Capital, Europe's largest VC fund dedicated to B2B software and fintech startups – and currently at Northzone. Femstreet focuses on providing news and insights related to women in tech and VC.

Find out more: Femstreet

Girl Geeks with Transmit Start-Ups

Girl Geeks, a leading support network in the STEM industry, has partnered with Transmit Start-Ups to assist women in preparing for pitching and accessing finance. This collaboration aims to provide instant support and guidance to women entrepreneurs navigating the funding landscape.

Find out more: Girl Geeks

Global Fund for Women

The Global Fund for Women is a  fund that champions the human rights of girls and women. By shedding light on critical issues and building investment interest, they have raised hundreds of millions of pounds to support female entrepreneurship worldwide since their establishment in 1986.

Find out more: Global Fund For Women

Global Invest Her

Global Invest Her is a global fund focused on preparing female founders for their funding journeys and accelerating their success. With a mission to facilitate funding for one million female founders by 2030, they actively work to bridge the gender funding gap.

Find out more: Global Invest Her

Fund F

Fund F invests in gender-diverse founder teams that are tackling significant 21st-century challenges such as climate change, female health, finance and insurance, and human resources. They believe in the transformative power of technology to improve lives and focus on companies that address sizable markets while making a positive impact.

Find out more: Fund F

Angel Academe

Angel Academe is an award-winning angel network comprising experienced businesswomen who support tech entrepreneurs. They back ambitious tech startups with at least one woman on the founding team. With a diverse community, and having funded industry names such as Samphire Neuroscience, Good-Loop and Azoomee – Angel Academe aims to make angel investing easy, enjoyable, and rewarding for both women and men.

Find out more: Angel Academe

Fund Her North

Fund Her North is a Northern-based, volunteer collective of over 30 women (in VC’s, funding organisations and angel groups), with a combined investment power of over £650 million. Their aim is to bring together influential women investors and successful entrepreneurs to overcome the barriers faced by women in accessing funding

Find out more: Fund Her North

NorthInvest

Another Northern-based investment group is NorthInvest – a company that has facilitated over £8 million in funding for early-stage startups and provided free investment readiness coaching to over 630 entrepreneurs. They have an angel network of over 130 private investors, actively working to address the gender investment disparity and encouraging more women to become angel investors.

Find out more: NorthInvest

GC Angels

GC Angels are committed to scaling investment activity and promoting innovation across the North of England. With over 40% of their capital invested in businesses with female founders, they champion greater representation of women in the angel investment community.

Find out more: GC Angels

Ada Ventures

Named after Ada Lovelace, the visionary computer programmer, Ada Ventures is a venture capital fund that backs overlooked founders and markets. Their mission is to support diverse entrepreneurs and create a more inclusive tech and startup ecosystem.

Find out more: Ada Ventures

January Ventures

Formerly known as Jane VC, January Ventures invests in early-stage tech companies in the US and Europe. They believe that the next decade of founders should be more diverse, and they back visionary entrepreneurs based on their ambition and tenacity rather than pedigree or connections.

The investment firm places a strong emphasis on supporting visionary, female-led startups. With a laser focus on accessibility, they have invested in a diverse portfolio of companies, including Vault, a UK misconduct-reporting platform, and Hatch Apps, a Washington-based platform known as the “WordPress for mobile apps.”

Find out more: January Ventures

Investing Women

Investing Women is a female-led angel investment syndicate that is reshaping funding opportunities in Scotland for women entrepreneurs. They focus on building women's involvement in investing and provide knowledge, education, and a supportive community for existing and potential female angel investors.

Find out more: Investing Women

Securing VC investment: top tips for female founders

Having spoken to numerous successful female founders, we have gathered valuable insights and suggestions to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the VC investment landscape. 

Here are some top tips:

  • Guard your time and energy: Be selective with whom you engage and don't let timewasters drain your resources. Focus on productive meetings and conversations that have the potential to lead to meaningful partnerships.
  • Know your numbers: In the world of VC, information is power. Arm yourself with as much raw data as possible to support your business case. Strong financial and market data can be persuasive when pitching to investors.
  • Bring in expert help if needed: Recognise that you don't have to walk the fundraising road alone. Seek guidance from experienced advisors, mentors, or industry experts who can provide valuable insights, fill your knowledge gaps and help refine your strategy.
  • Target specific venture capitalists: Rather than bombarding VC firms aimlessly, research and identify those that have a track record of investing in female-founded startups or have a stated commitment to diversity. Tailor your pitch to their investment philosophies and values.
  • Network strategically: Networking is key in the startup ecosystem. Attend industry events, join relevant communities, and build relationships with like-minded individuals. You never know when a referral or connection might lead to a valuable opportunity.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch: Craft a concise and compelling elevator pitch that effectively communicates your startup's unique value proposition. This elevator pitch should be adaptable for various scenarios, allowing you to make a memorable impression in a short amount of time.
  • Clarify your exit strategy: VCs are interested in the long-term potential of your business. Clearly articulate your vision for growth and outline your exit strategy, demonstrating the potential for a substantial return on investment.
  • Once secured, manage your investor relationships: Building a positive and open relationship with your investors is crucial. Regularly communicate updates, milestones, and challenges. Seek their advice and expertise while maintaining transparency.
  • Don't wait too long: Funding can be a time-consuming process, but don't delay launching or growing your business on your own while waiting for investment. Focus on building traction, acquiring customers, and proving your concept's viability.

Conclusion

The landscape for female founders in the UK continues to evolve, and so we’re happy to create this space for you where we can keep you informed of the latest funding opportunities. 

The VC firms listed here are just a starting point, but you can always explore additional resources and networks tailored to your specific needs – there are sometimes rare opportunities available if your business falls into an even smaller niche, and there will be less competition. 

Remember, change takes time, but with increased awareness about the different types of support, we can create a more equitable startup ecosystem that empowers women to succeed. 

Stay tuned as we continue to update this page with relevant information and insights.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 11 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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