300 female founders, 30 VCs, 10 cities — the Women in Entrepreneurship European Roadshow kicks off in Madrid.

Liz Fleming, Principal, Adara Ventures

As a woman VC, investing in technology, I am often approached by different initiatives to boost female representation in this space, (according to Experior Venture Fund, only 5% of VC Partners in Europe are women, while according to PitchBook, just 11% of overall venture funding in 2017 went to female-founded companies in Europe). Whilst it is always encouraging to see more initiatives raise awareness of this issue, what’s more exciting is that the data is beginning to show that diversity in venture and tech makes not just social but economic sense:

  • First Round Capital’s 10-year study shows that companies with a woman on the founding team outperform all-male companies by 63%.
  • According to a recent USC Marshall study, women owned businesses grow 1.5 times faster than other small enterprises.
  • According to McKinsey, top quartile companies with female representation in executive committees generate on average a 47% higher return on equity than companies with no women in executive committees.

When contacted earlier this year by the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) about their Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow (WER) I was excited by the fresh approach they were taking to tackle the complex issue of increasing participation of women in venture back-able tech businesses. EYIF identified a concrete barrier to female representation in founders of high potential tech businesses; access to capital. A very specific nut to crack, which if done well, could be transformative. Their response is connecting 300 female founders to 30 VCs across 10 cities in 1 year.

The Adara Ventures team has a 50:50 gender split, however as a firm focussed on Deep Tech investments, although we have 2 female entrepreneurs in our active portfolio of 13 investments, our pool of female led ventures to back is even more reduced therefore I jumped at the opportunity to increase our deal-flow of female founders at a European level.

The quality of founder who participated in the Madrid edition was excellent; a group of experienced and celebrated professionals building ventures to address gnarly issues from blockchain enabled digital identify management for financial services to intelligent design of photovoltaic plants to development of customised biocatalysts for the pharma industry. After connecting with 30 female founders at the WER Madrid event I am impressed by the quality of participant and excited to see what they uncover in the next 9 cities they visit.

It is too early to say whether any of the 30 founders I met in Madrid will eventually be a candidate for investment from us but at least I have started 30 new and fascinating conversations with ambitious entrepreneurs tackling complex problems courageously.

Thanks EYIF for choosing Madrid and Adara Ventures to be your local partner!

Liz is Principal at Adara Ventures supporting the Managing Partners in identifying, evaluating, and managing investments as well discovering new ways to attract investment opportunities and adding value to the existing portfolio positioning Adara at the heart of the startup ecosystems it operates in.

We invest in boldly ambitious businesses, partnering with founders with vision, courage and the capacity to execute.

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