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A Guide to Venture Capital Firms Investing in UK Female-Led Businesses

In the dynamic world of startups and entrepreneurship, venture capital stands as a pivotal force driving innovation and growth. Yet, in the UK’s bustling startup ecosystem, a startling disparity prevails. Despite the rise of female entrepreneurship and an increasing number of women steering groundbreaking ventures, the venture funding landscape remains markedly skewed. Alarmingly, less than 1% of UK venture funding is allocated to all-female teams, painting a picture of unequal opportunity and untapped potential.

This stark reality underscores not just a funding gap, but also a missed opportunity in harnessing the full spectrum of entrepreneurial talent. Female-led teams bring diverse perspectives, innovative problem-solving, and often a deep understanding of markets that may be overlooked by their male counterparts. Recognising this, a growing number of venture capital firms are stepping up to bridge this gap, focusing on empowering female entrepreneurs and fostering gender diversity within the startup community.

In this article, we spotlight the UK-based venture capital firms that are leading the charge in investing in female-owned or founded businesses. These firms are not just funders; they are change-makers, actively working to reshape the entrepreneurial landscape into one that is more inclusive, equitable, and reflective of the society we live in. By supporting female entrepreneurs, they are not only advocating for gender parity but are also unlocking a wealth of innovation and economic potential.

What is Venture Capital?

Venture Capital (VC) is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Unlike traditional bank loans, venture capital does not require immediate repayment. Instead, venture capitalists invest in a business in exchange for equity, or partial ownership, in the companies they fund. This makes venture capital a high-risk, high-reward industry, as investors typically take significant risks for the potential of substantial returns.

The role of venture capital extends far beyond mere financial support. VC firms are often involved in shaping the strategic direction of the companies they invest in, providing mentorship, industry expertise, and valuable business connections. This involvement can be crucial for startups, particularly in their early stages when they are trying to establish themselves in competitive markets. By backing innovative ideas and disruptive technologies, venture capitalists play a vital role in driving business growth, technological advancement, and economic development. They are frequently the catalysts that transform brilliant ideas into market-leading companies.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of venture capital, its mechanisms, and its impact on the startup ecosystem, our comprehensive guide to venture capital offers valuable insights and detailed information. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business professional, this guide provides a wealth of knowledge to navigate the intricate world of venture capital.

Venture Capital Firms Investing In Women Led and Founded Businesses


Astia is a venture capital firm with a unique focus on investing in high-growth companies led by women. Their investment approach is centered around the Expert Sift™ process, a rigorous screening methodology that ensures only the most promising companies are selected.

Astia is not trend-driven but instead seeks out true innovators, diversifying their investments across various industries. This approach aligns with their broader nonprofit mission, which aims to create a more equitable investment landscape.

The firm operates through multiple channels, including the Astia Fund, Astia Angels, and Astia Edge, all designed to provide not just financial backing but also access to essential networks and resources. Astia firmly believes in the power of inclusive teams, recognizing that diversity in leadership often correlates with greater business success.

  • Industries Invested In: Various industries including Health and Wellness, Clean Tech, Medical Devices and Technology, with a focus on businesses led by female entrepreneurs.
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Ellevest, On Second Thought, Goal Setter
  • Website: Astia

Investing Women

Investing Women Angels is a dynamic, female-led angel investment syndicate dedicated to enhancing women’s involvement in the investment sector. With a focus on education, knowledge sharing, and community building, this network supports both current and aspiring female angel investors in their investment journey. As a rapidly growing and influential angel network, Investing Women Angels offers a nurturing environment for women to explore investment opportunities and expand their collective portfolio.

The core mission of Investing Women Angels is to foster a pool of angel investors who can act as a catalyst for the next wave of business success stories. The organization is committed to increasing the participation of women in the investing space, leveraging their skills, experience, and investment to support promising founders.

Investing Women Angels primarily invests in companies either founded by women or those where women hold senior roles. Their approach includes providing focused investment, education, and mentoring, along with the opportunity for businesses to gain an IWA Non-Executive Director. This woman-only angel group prioritizes women in business and investment, using their unique perspective to make a meaningful impact.

  • Industries Invested In: Various industries.
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Valla, Smash, CombiniCo
  • Website: Investing Women

BBG Ventures

BBG Ventures is an innovative early-stage fund investing in female-founded companies with the potential to redefine daily life. They support founders addressing the broad population’s collective or individual experiences. BBG Ventures’ investment philosophy is built on the belief that diversity leads to better results, particularly focusing on female entrepreneurs poised for significant achievements.

Additionally, BBG Ventures is actively involved in nurturing its portfolio companies, offering mentorship, strategic advice, and a network of industry connections. This comprehensive support system is designed to empower female founders not only to launch successful ventures but also to become influential leaders in their respective industries.

  • Industries Invested In: Health and Wellbeing, Future of Education and Work, Climate Friendly Products and Platforms, Overlooked and Emerging Consumers
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: The Wing, Zola, Fivable, Formally, Planet Fwd
  • Website: BBG Ventures

Fund F

Fund F is a visionary investment firm that champions diversity and gender-diverse teams, primarily focusing on female founders or co-founders in the tech sector. They invest in startups with digital, scalable models in various industries, including ClimateTech and FinTech. As part of the Female Founders ecosystem, Fund F plays a significant role in advancing women in tech and innovation across Europe.

Their approach extends beyond financial investment to include mentoring and network support, recognizing that these elements are crucial for the success and growth of startups. Fund F’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just a part of their investment strategy but a core value that influences all their activities and decisions.

  • Industries Invested In: Climate Change, Female Health, Finance and Insurance, Human Resources.
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Not specified
  • Website: Fund F

Angel Academe

Angel Academe is a specialized investment firm targeting female-founded tech startups. They prioritize startups with innovative solutions to global challenges across sectors like fintech and medtech, focusing on UK-based businesses at the pre-seed or seed stage. Angel Academe’s unique approach includes rigorous selection criteria, ensuring their investments have a clear market traction and potential for significant investor returns.

Additionally, they provide strategic support and mentorship to their portfolio companies, leveraging their experience and network to guide female founders through the challenges of the startup landscape. This combination of financial backing and hands-on support exemplifies their commitment to nurturing a new generation of successful women entrepreneurs.

  • Industries Invested In: B2B businesses are preferred
  • Investment Range: £250,000-£5,000,000
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Samphire Neuroscience, Good-Loop, Azoomee
  • Website: Angel Academe

January Ventures

January Ventures is an early-stage investor in pre-seed startups driving digital transformation in work, health, and climate sectors. They prioritize transparency and accessibility, supporting founders based on ambition and determination. January Ventures’ approach extends beyond funding; they offer mentorship, partnership, and networking opportunities, aiming to make the entrepreneurial journey smoother.

Their team, comprising operators turned investors, brings a wealth of experience and insights, making them a valuable ally for startups aiming to make a significant impact. January Ventures’ commitment to empowering founders is reflected in their hands-on approach, helping turn innovative ideas into successful, world-changing businesses.

  • Industries Invested In: B2B software businesses digitally transforming legacy industries with a focus on work, health, and climate
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: BeautyStack, PlanetFWD, Office Together.
  • Website: January Ventures

Female Founders Fund

Founded in 2014, Female Founders Fund was established on the firm belief that women are the architects of tomorrow’s leading companies. As the premier source of institutional capital for female entrepreneurs at the seed stage, the fund has since amassed an impressive portfolio with over $3 billion in enterprise value.

The focus on female founders stems from a recognition of untapped potential and opportunity in the venture capital landscape. Despite women starting businesses at a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average and holding 56% of professional jobs, venture capital investment in female-founded companies was disproportionately low. In 2014, only 2% of venture capital dollars went to female-founded companies, a figure that only marginally improved to 2.7% by 2019. Female Founders Fund was created to address this gap, providing crucial support and resources to empower women entrepreneurs to succeed in a competitive and often imbalanced market.

  • Industries Invested In: Climate Tech, Healthcare, Beauty and Personal Care, Generative AI and Emerging Tech, Vertical Software Solutions
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: BentoBox, Peanut, Zola, Landit, Winkylux
  • Website: Female Founders Fund

Ada Ventures

Ada Ventures is a pioneering venture capital firm dedicated to funding exceptional talent addressing significant global challenges in areas like climate equity, economic empowerment, and healthy ageing. Their investment philosophy, “Inclusive Alpha®”, intertwines a commitment to breakthrough ideas with a strong focus on inclusivity, influencing every aspect of their investment process from team dynamics to founder support.

Focusing primarily on the pre-Series A stage, Ada Ventures typically invests post-product but pre-traction, offering £250k to £750K for pre-seed stages and £1mn to £1.5mn for seed stages in UK technology companies. By championing innovative solutions in vital sectors, Ada Ventures is committed to driving significant, sustainable change through strategic and inclusive investment practices.

  • Industries Invested In: UK technology companies across climate equity, healthy ageing and economic empowerment
  • Investment Range: First cheque of £250k to £750K (pre-seed) or £1mn to £1.5mn (seed)
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Alva, GlowB, Huboo, Boundless
  • Website: Ada Ventures

Impact X

Impact X Capital, based in London, is a dynamic venture capital firm dedicated to funding underrepresented entrepreneurs in Europe. As a double bottom line company, Impact X focuses on founders with innovative and unique business models, aiming to create extraordinary outcomes and generate significant returns for investors. They specialize in identifying and nurturing undiscovered talent, filling a crucial gap in the venture capital market.

The firm not only provides financial backing but also grants access to industry experts and strategic resources, ensuring that their portfolio companies are well-equipped to realize their visions and create long-term value. Investment decisions at Impact X are based on a set of clear criteria: large market opportunities with customer traction, a strong and committed management team, an established advisory board, job creation potential, global impact capability, and promising exit opportunities. This approach underscores Impact X Capital’s commitment to fostering impactful businesses and driving change through strategic investment.

  • Industries Invested In: Digital and technology, Health and lifestyle, Media and entertainment
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Beautonomy, YouNeek Studio, Afrocenchix, Marshmallow, Raylo
  • Website: Impact X

Pink Salt Ventures

Pink Salt Ventures is a dynamic early-stage investment firm specializing in female-led technology companies. With a mission to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs, they are dedicated to helping build enduring companies. The venture is led by Saloni and Samira, both former operators and entrepreneurs, who bring a wealth of experience and a hands-on approach to their investment strategy.

Understanding the unique challenges and opportunities faced by startups, founders of Pink Salt, Saloni and Samira act as valuable sounding boards for their founders, expecting honest and complete narratives, not just the highlights. Their investment philosophy centers on identifying founders who exhibit qualities like grit, savviness, and an unstoppable drive to succeed, stemming from diverse origin stories. Pink Salt Ventures is committed to thinking big and maintaining focus on long-term goals, aiming to support founders in making a significant impact in the world. This approach underlines their commitment to nurturing not just successful businesses, but also influential leaders in the tech industry.

  • Industries Invested In: Technology
  • Investment Range: Not specified
  • Notable Portfolio Companies: Alenda, MPowder, Hanx, Jude
  • Website: Pink Salt

Securing VC Investment: Top Tips for Female Founders

Securing VC Investment can be a challenging journey, especially for female founders navigating a landscape traditionally dominated by male counterparts. However, with the right approach and mindset, women entrepreneurs can significantly increase their chances of securing venture capital. Here are some top tips for female founders:

  1. Build a Strong Network: Networking is key in the venture capital world. Engage with other entrepreneurs, attend industry events, and connect with potential investors well before you need the funding.
  2. Perfect Your Pitch: Your pitch should clearly articulate your business idea, market opportunity, competitive advantage, and financial projections. Practice it diligently.
  3. Showcase Your Expertise and Passion: Investors invest in people as much as in ideas. Show them your commitment, your knowledge of the industry, and your vision for the company’s future.
  4. Understand Your Numbers: Have a solid grasp of your business’s financials. Be prepared to discuss your revenue model, pricing strategy, and growth projections in detail.
  5. Leverage Success Stories: Highlight any traction, achievements, or milestones your business has already accomplished. This can include sales figures, successful product launches, or notable partnerships.
  6. Seek Out Gender-Diverse Investors: Research and target venture capital firms that have a history of investing in women-led businesses or have diversity as part of their investment criteria.
  7. Be Prepared for Rejection: Rejection is a part of the fundraising process. Use it as an opportunity to gain feedback and refine your approach.
  8. Utilize Female Founder Networks and Resources: Take advantage of networks, forums, and groups, like ours, dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs. These can provide valuable advice, mentorship, and funding opportunities.


The landscape of venture capital is gradually changing, with more emphasis on diversity and inclusion. While challenges persist, the growing number of venture capital firms focusing on female entrepreneurs is a positive sign of progress. The firms highlighted in this article are not only providing crucial financial support but are also helping to break down barriers and foster an ecosystem where women-led businesses can thrive.

For female founders, securing venture capital funding is about combining passion with preparation, networking with knowledge, and persistence with performance. By strategically positioning themselves and their businesses, female entrepreneurs can attract the right investors and propel their ventures to new heights.

The future is promising, and as more women enter the entrepreneurial arena, the impact of their innovation, leadership, and vision will continue to reshape industries and drive economic growth. The journey towards greater gender parity in venture capital is ongoing, and each successful funding round for a female-founded company marks a step forward in this journey.




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