In the latest event in our ‘Series A series’ we explored the female experience in the scaleup landscape through the lens of an entrepreneur and a fund manager.
Hosted by ScaleUp Group Member, Lisa Powis, panel members Melanie Goward, Investment Director at Maven Capital Partners and Clare Elford, CEO of our latest client, Clue Computing shared their professional journeys alongside insightful statistics and encouraging trends in opportunities for a better gender balance in the scaleup and specifically the ‘Series A’ investment environment.
Data from across the board shows a great improvement in the number of female-led businesses obtaining growth funding plus achieving significant milestones, such as 10 female founder businesses becoming Unicorns in 2020. Another incredible success is the recent news of Darktrace’s CEO Poppy Gustaffson becoming a ‘tycoon in the new cybersecurity era’ having led the company to a stock market debut of £1.7bn since increased to £2.5bn at the time of going to press.
Clare Elford shared her 18-year journey in the software business, having worked in typically male-dominated businesses which at the time, she had not given much thought to, until recently. She said there has been a great improvement in gender balance, which significantly benefits businesses by ensuring more diverse ideas including aiding the shift to more flexible working arrangements. Actively seeking to provide more opportunities for female candidates in leadership roles, Clare has seen an influx of such applicants throughout the pandemic, who typically would not have applied for the same roles, had it not been for the now-norm of working-from-home.
Melanie Goward gave insights from a Fund’s perspective on deals executed with female-led businesses, although still significantly lower compared to male founded scaleups, approx. 1 in 10. She attributes this to the considerably lower number of pitches received from such businesses in the first place. Investing in Women’ is an initiative formed to ensure accountability among its signatories – some 40 organisations in 2020 – by, amongst other aspects, reporting on the number of deals with female-led companies. Their 2020 report revealed that only 10% of all pitches are by female founders and 6% of all deals go to female-led scaleups, noting that this trend is improving, however.