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The brutal realities of building a business as a female founder

Founding a business as a female is still a massive struggle today. According to a UN Report nowadays 9 out of 10 people are biased against women, these figures haven’t changed since 2020. And, despite women being more educated and skilled than ever before, the same report says, there is still a 39% salary gap with men.

However, there’s some light... The number of company exits by UK female-run or owned businesses has risen from 5 in 2013 to 171 last year.

* J.P. Morgan Report

In 2022 the report showed that the UK was home to 7,225 female founders and 6,443 female leaders AND women-led companies secured a total of £29.3bn in equity investment and £1.11bn in grant funding last year.

Unsurprisingly the biggest exits are in fintech, including Anne Boden of Starling and Louise Hill of GoHenry. Our Co-Founder. Caroline Hughes, explains: “What is inspiring is how successful these founders have been. Starling Bank has just announced £195m record profits, Romi Savova steered PensionBee to IPO in 2021 after just 7 years.”

Yet, the total value of exits for female-led firms declined from £2.96bn in 2021 to £1.58bn in 2022, J.P.Morgan research highlights.

Caroline continues: “To get more exits like these, we need to fund more women founders at seed, series A and then through the growth stages. The stats show that VCs have failed to back enough female founders at Series A and beyond. That's where the biggest funding gap lies. To overcome it, Romi from PensionBee chose not to raise from VCs. Instead she had 130 angel investors on her cap table when they IPO'd!”

Are you struggling to secure funding for your business? Our Investment Readiness Accelerator is here to help you. Its fast track 8-week program supports pre-seed and seed stage female founders get ready to fundraise. You'll get hands-on training from expert VCs and successful female founders who have launched, scaled and exited businesses themselves. Our next Cohort starts in July!


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