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Taking on the Johns: the need-to-know about female founder funding

Jul 26, 2018


In 2015, The Guardian worked out that there were more men named ‘John’ leading FTSE 100 companies than there were women. We’ve nothing against the name ‘John’ – but if you’re more likely to encounter two Johns in the boardroom than someone with a pair of X chromosomes, that’s a problem.

Things are slowly changing. In up-and-coming companies, the balance is way more equal. But there are still two male-led companies for every female-led one. In all fairness that is a huge improvement on how things have been in the past…but it’s still not perfect!

Part of the issue is early-stage funding. Banks and investors are (still!) more likely to back boys in business than they are women. We’re not going to get into theories about unconscious bias and internalised misogyny here - the takeaway is that any business needs investment if it’s going to get off the ground. If we don’t give female entrepreneurs fair funding, then that Johns:ladies ratio isn’t going to even out any time soon.

Luckily, there are some great funding opportunities out there which could help redress the balance!

500 Women: This group say that they want to make Venture Capital less of a ‘boys club’. That means not only bucking the trend and funding ‘Flawless Female Founders’, but also encouraging more women to get into VC and become angel investors.

Female Founders Fund: Ignore the pink makeup and flowers on their homepage – this fund really does take female entrepreneurship seriously. They’ve an impressive portfolio of successful lady-led companies, and will back your idea all the way if they think it’s got legs.

Allbright: The Allbright Fund not only invests in female entrepreneurship – it also hooks up budding CEOs with useful networks, seminars, and skill-building opportunities. Well worth a peep!

Crowdfunding. Women often find that the general public are more receptive to their potential than more traditional investors. As a result, lots of women have launched profitable businesses on the back of crowdfunding campaigns! ifundwomen.com is one of the most flexible and empowering female-based crowdfunding sites out there, with some amazing success stories!

If you’re a female entrepreneur, or from a female-led startup, and are struggling to find investors, you are not alone! Female-specific funding opportunities are out there, and they’re helping to redress the gender balance in the business world.