Leading Venture Capital Firms Extend Virtual Mentoring for Female Business Founders to Mena

‘Female Founder Office Hours’ launches across MENA – led by Playfair Capital and Global Ventures

  • Edition VIII will be the largest event yet with over 400 women founders and 150 VCs from across the UK, Europe and MENA
  • Over £480m has been raised by companies attending one of the previous editions
  • 5,230 mentoring sessions for women founders delivered since October 2019 with support from Google for Startups, Tech Nation and Words + Pixels

Playfair Capital and Global Ventures have today announced the launch of ‘Female Founder Office Hours’ across MENA – with 150 of the world’s leading venture capital funds, including: Atomico, Balderton, Creandum, EQT Ventures, Firstminute, Localglobe, Northzone, Notion and Seedcamp – hosting virtual mentoring sessions for over 400 women founders from across MENA, the UK and Europe on 10th  November 2022.

Launched in London in 2019, Female Founder Office Hours breaks down barriers to investment for female entrepreneurs, notoriously underserved by the global investment community. Each founder meets four investors virtually for one hour to discuss their technology and business model, ask for advice, pitch for investment or find a mentor. The founders meet a mix of local and international investors to receive a diverse perspective on the business they are building and to broaden their network.

The event is being hosted by Playfair Capital, with the support of Dubai-based Global Ventures, Tech Nation, Google for Startups and Words + Pixels. The previous seven editions saw a total of 5,230 individual mentoring sessions, with 1,307 founders and 200 investors taking part. To date, 32% of founders have gone on to raise £280m of funding after attending an event, with success stories including Apryl, Freyda, HIVED, Vira Health, OpplySixfold Bioscience and SymTerra.

The eighth edition is part of an ongoing and long-term commitment to redress the gender imbalance in fundraising, and includes expansion to MENA to engage and support the next generation of women founders around the world.

Chris Smith, Playfair Capital’s Managing Partner, commented:

“The underrepresentation of women founders in venture capital funding is a global problem. We are, therefore, delighted to be expanding the initiative we started in the UK, back in 2019, to MENA. This is a region full of incredible talent and promise. Yet, aside from a relatively small number of pioneers, it’s a region lacking the widespread support required for women who want to build globally significant companies. This event allows us to connect these women founders at scale, wherever they are located in the region, to local and international investors to build new relationships, find new mentors and, ultimately, secure funding.”

Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures, commented:

“Increasing the pipeline of female founders has been front of mind for regional capital allocators for several years now, so it is really exciting to see top VCs from the ecosystem collaborate for the first edition of Female Founder Office Hours in MENA. While the ecosystem has made important strides in recent years, with 35% of tech businesses being founded by female entrepreneurs in MENA, there is still lots of work to be done. Female Founder Office Hours aims to create access to capital and build a community of investors for regional female founders. Diversity of leadership and thought are important factors shaping the future of MENA’s entrepreneurial landscape –  female founders are a key part of that.” 

Yasmin Almostehy, MEVCA Executive Director, commented:

“We are seeing booming interest in female founders in the region, and the VC ecosystem is coming together on many fronts to launch initiatives that specifically target female founders. IFC research has shown that female founders in the MENA region receive less than 10% of all private equity and venture capital funding. And it’s time we address this with impact-yielding initiatives, such as this one. We are happy to support Playfair Capital, Global Ventures, and the entire ecosystem in contributing to the correction of the gender gap in the region.”

Lauren Nicholson, Tech Nation, commented:

“Founders’ Network is once again proud to be taking part in the eighth edition of Female Founder Office Hours. It’s been a privilege to help support 1,300+ women founders over the last three years to take part in the 5,230 one-to-one mentoring and pitch meetings that Female Founder Office Hours has facilitated.  We’re proud to be a part of their start-up journey and are looking forward to welcoming the new 400+ female founders, and women-led teams, who will join us in the November Edition and to seeing where the event takes them. 

The eighth edition is also a chance to celebrate the continued expansion of our Female Founder Office Hours initiative into new regions, from Europe to the Middle East and Northern Africa and to offer more female founders the opportunity to grow and scale their businesses by supporting them on their fundraising journey.”

For more information and to make an application to attend the event please go to: http://playfaircapital.com/ffoh/