The Female Effect – Women-focused investing

In order to overcome gender-specific disparities between male and female entrepreneurs when acquiring funding, the Vodafone Institute hosted a gender lens investing roundtable titled “The Female Effect”.

Gender lens investing roundtable (Credit: Philipp Külker)

The Vodafone Institute has teamed up with Süddeutsche Zeitung’s PLAN W: The event of the collaboration was a round-table discussion entitled “Female Effect”, which took place on the 15th November 2017 in Factory Berlin. The focus was on giving female founders access to capital and raising awareness of gender inequality in the field among investors. Bringing together a host of prominent personalities, including 20 high-ranking investors, the concept of  “Gender Lens Investing” was discussed. “Gender Lens Investing” focuses on venture capital for female start-up founders.

Dupsy Abiola (tech entrepreneur and investor) (Credit: Philipp Külker)

Based on Suzanne Biegel‘s remarkable work, the mission was to introduce the topic to a select group of European investors and to explore how to integrate a gender lens in the due diligence process for early-stage ventures. Studies show that only 17 percent of all tech start-ups worldwide with at least one female founder receive support from investors, despite returns on investment for technology companies with women in leadership positions being 35 percent higher than for companies run exclusively by men. Especially Europe lacks behind other continents in regards of gender-sensitive investments.

Hedda Pahlson-Moller (impact business angel)(Credit: Philipp Külker)

Renowned impact business angel and workshop leader Hedda Pahlson-Moller stated, “Gender lens investing is not only about women founders or board positions: it’s also about products and services for women and girls”. Additionally, tech entrepreneur Dupsy Abiola stressed the fact that promoting gender lens investing “is not only about putting women on investment boards or advisory boards, but about establishing a mindset.”

The number of women in business will not increase until there has been a radical change in the mentality of investors. Events like this lay the groundwork for much needed discourse on female empowerment and cultural change in entrepreneurship and beyond.  An outline of the main themes and questions covered during the workshop as well as an overview of the due diligence process seen through a gender lens will be published in a few weeks.