TechRound UK sat down with Dr. Amber Ghaddar and Bridget Greenwood to hear more…
The 200Bn Club is a unique programme designed to accelerate financing directed to female founders and connect them with leading VCs from seed to Series A.
The programme was founded to address a gender equity gap within Venture Capitalism: currently, female-founded startups secure the lowest share of investment in the European Union, despite generating more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested when compared to male-founded companies. The 200Bn Club provides hands-on support to female entrepreneurs, backed by 40+ UK-based VCs and corporate partners.
Open to applicants from all industries, the programme aims to get participants pitch-perfect and VC investable over the course of 12-weeks. The programme is different from other accelerators in that first it takes no equity from programme participants. Additionally, participants will take part in weekly mock pitches with VCs where they are asked to give honest feedback on why they would NOT invest in the participating startups. This allows startups to gain valuable insight and quickly fine-tune their pitch and business model to get them ready for a pitch day in front of 40+ VCs with open books at the end of the programme.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
As NatWest CEO Alison Rose details, focusing on empowering women in business represents over £200bn opportunity for the UK economy. That is what inspired the name of the programme.
Further to this, as female entrepreneurs, we have first-hand experience overcoming the obstacles in raising funds. . While networking is important, without the money to get started, it is frankly meaningless. However, VCs usually refuse you or tell you to come and see them at a later stage without telling you what it is that your company lacks or that you’re doing wrong. We are very grateful to all our VC partners who are doing something no one else has done before. This is why with their support we are backing women to adapt, conquer and change existing paradigms within private equity financing.
Female founders currently receive five times less funding than their male counterparts, with this number falling even lower among minorities, so we aim to arm females with the expert-led support they need to succeed!
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Tell us more about the role that the VCs play in the programme and what’s in it for them.
The 200Bn Club programme will curate the deal flow to maximise return for the VCs, ensuring that candidates are matched to the respective selection criteria upon completion of the programme. This ensures that all parties involved get the most out of their contributions – a win-win situation for all parties involved in the programme.
Given the high rate of yield per dollar invested in female-founded startups, the involved VCs will benefit primarily by getting a direct line to a high-potential talent pool. Captialising on the untapped potential of female entrepreneurs could result in millions of new businesses in the UK and all the associated economic growth, so it’s a low-risk, high-reward investment.
What can we hope to see from The 200Bn Club in the future?
With 43+ top UK VCs committed to supporting female-founders, including HSBC Ventures, Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit), MMC, Balderton and others, we hope to see finely-tuned female-led projects emerge in the UK over the coming months and years.
Current trends suggest that progress in closing the gender equity gap has stagnated as a result of the pandemic, and so taking action now is an utmost priority.
Nomen est omen, the 200Bn Club end goal is to add £200bn to the UK economy and we are taking proactive steps to level the playing field for women, as we hope that this programme brings about a greater representation of powerful women in business. Our mothers and grandmothers have fought hard for us to be able to vote, have a bank account, receive an education and have jobs, but the road is still long and we hope to leave our daughters a world where a women founder will not be judged on the pitch of her voice or the color of her clothes to get funding We hope to enact meaningful change – female empowerment is so important, now more than ever!