100 Women Leaders shared insights on Angel investing at the UKBAA National Women Angel Investment Forum 10th July 2019.
We were delighted to welcome 100 women leaders from business and investment to the stunning Home Grown Club for our UKBAA National Women Angel Investment Forum last Wednesday 10th July. The Forum which is part of UKBAA’s ongoing national campaign to encourage more women in angel investment, heard from 17 guest speakers comprised of women Angels, would-be angels, successful women founders and key market players to lend their insights on what the UK early stage investment ecosystem looks like for Women Angels and how we can improve the current environment for investing the UK’s entrepreneurs to be more gender balanced. The National Women Angel Investment Forum which also had the support of Innovate UK was designed to create strong new connections between women Angels and would-be Angels, in addition to providing a platform for co-ordinating ongoing efforts to improve imbalances in the angel and early stage finance ecosystem.
Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of UKBAA, set the scene with a presentation on the current landscape for women in angel investment, referencing recent findings from the UKBAA research on the current challenges and barriers experienced by women seeking to engage in angel investment across the UK, identifying the existing lack of awareness, shared knowledge and access to investment opportunity. Notably, Jenny spoke to the shocking statistic concluding that, whilst women are responsible for owning over 45% of the UK’s wealth, only 14% of Angel Investors in the UK are women. This statistic, coupled with the fact that 96% of women surveyed indicated that Angel Investing had never been presented as an investment opportunity by their financial advisor, presented a glaring challenge which needs to be addressed. She referenced the importance of adequate tools, education and mentorship together with the opportunity to collaborate with all key players across the VC and Angel market at both policy and practical level to address the lack of diversity in the investment base.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Bank, Capital Holdings provided insights on market data from their recent Small Business Equity Tracker report and the Women Founders and VC reports on the challenges for women entrepreneurs in accessing risk capital and also demonstrated the clear equity gap for founders between the level of investment available in London and the Golden triangle and other regions across the UK. Catherine was able to share information on the opportunities available to build more angel investment in the regions through the new £100m Regional Angel Programme and the importance of this these new funds to leverage more women led investment in the regions.
Four active Women Angels then shared their insights on their journey to becoming an Angel, demonstrating the range of backgrounds and experience from telecoms, media, marketing and VC. Shirin Dehghan, Operating Partner, Frog Capital & Angel Investor, Cambridge Angels; Dominique Valentiny, Angel Investor, Astia Angels; Amanda Dyjecsinski, Angel Investor & Marketing Consultant; Rosalind Singleton, Angel Investor, Angel Academe & Managing Director, UK Broadband. The women investor panelists, moderated by Sarah Turner CEO and founder of Angel Academe, reflected on their approach to investing and how they were able to draw on their business and industry experience to effectively support and grow their portfolio businesses, of which several were female-led businesses. There was a collective consensus that, whilst often assumed, it is not a prerequisite to be an expert in the sector of the business you are investing in, it is your core skills that will benefit the founder(s).
In addition to hearing from the women investors’ perspective, five women founders described their funding journeys, all of whom were award winners as women industry leaders for their role in building innovating businesses across a range of sectors and technologies. Three were from the Innovate UK Women in Innovation Programme and two high growth women founders who had won awards at the recent UKBAA Annual Angel investment Awards. In a session moderated by Emily Nott, Head of Diversity & Inclusion programme at Innovate UK, the women entrepreneur panelists were: Agnes Czako, Co-Founder, AirEx; Fanya Ismail, CEO & Founder, SGMA; Melinda Nicci, Founder & CEO, Baby2Body; Maria Tanjala, Co-Founder, Big Couch & FilmChain; Sheana Yu, Founder & CEO, Aergo. The panel focused on many the challenges they face as women founders and co-founders, collectively identifying that often their gender plays a key role in their ability to access investment. The panel each described their funding journey to date, noting grant funding - and in this panels’ case, Innovate UK grant funding - played a significant role in their success. simply being involved as a mentor on their board would add significant positive impact to their journey. These women founders were all able to speak about the importance of accessing equity investment and the important role that Angel Investors had played in helping them to effectively build and grow their business in their respective sector.
The final panel, led by Alice Hu Wagner, Managing Director, Strategy Economics & Business Development, British Business Bank, who set the scene referencing key findings from the UK VC & FEMALE FOUNDERS report. Alice then led an extremely lively debate between four experienced women angels Fiona Dent, CEO, Makerversity & Angel Investor, 24Haymarket; Pam Garside, Partner, Newhealth & Board Member, Cambridge Angels; Gillian MacAulay, Managing Director, Gabriel Investments; Francesca Warner, Co-Founder & CEO, Diversity VC, on what they had wished they had known about angel investing when they first began. The panelists all highlighted the lack of support from the advisory community for women in the opportunity for angel investing or the importance of the EIS tax breaks and also reflected on the many myths abounding about the process and requirements, including the need to have extensive personal wealth, or the opportunity to build a diverse portfolio. All of the women were extensively investing in mixed groups and also shared their perspectives about how we can change the current narrative of a male dominated industry. It was also a joint consensus that women seeking to invest should definitely consider joining a group or a syndicate, as there is better access to deal flow, support in the early due diligence stages of a deal and a sense of community in what can sometimes be a daunting journey. There continued an extensive dialogue with the women in the audience with the common theme of more women being active in this space will positively impact every aspect of the ecosystem.
Looking at the many positives taken from the day, Jenny Tooth closed the forum with an open audience discussion and invited the audience to a straw poll on what further actions could be taken based on the reoccurring themes heard during the day. The audience almost unanimously agreed that, in addition to providing more tools and resources for women, it is crucial that not only women push forward in the mission for change, but that men too, need to step up and take key role in diversifying their networks, groups and their portfolio businesses. Jenny concluded by announcing that the UKBAA National Women Angel Investment Forum was not just a flagship event, but would continue as a platform to support the sharing of knowledge, access to tools, and as a promoter of the actions and initiatives being led around the UK to enable more women to engage in angel investing.
For further information on the National Women Angel Investment Forum: www.womenangelsforum.org
If you would like to be a part of UKBAA’s ongoing initiative to improve the gender imbalance in Angel investing and support more women on their journey as Angel and early stage investors, get in touch!
Also if you are organising any specific events or initiatives based on this theme, do keep us informed. Our next flagship event for Women Angel Investing will take place in the autumn in the context of our Northern Woman Angel Investment Forum and we would love to see you there!
UKBAA Women in Angel Investing National Forum
10th July: 14.00 - 18.00
Venue: The Home Grown Club, Mayfair
1.30: Registration and Refreshments
Jenny Tooth OBE, Chief Executive, UK Business Angels Association
Setting the Scene on the Women Angel Landscape
2.15: Guest Speaker
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO British Patient Capital and British Business Investments
2.35: Panel Discussion: My life as an Angel Investor
Women Angels will give their perspective on their role as angel investors, what opportunities and developments they are seeing in the market and what are the challenges and concerns for women investors in the current climate.
Amanda Dyjecinski, Angel Investor & Marketing Consultant
Shirin Dehghan, Angel Investor & Operating Partner, Frog Capital
Rosalind Singleton, Angel Investor, Angel Academe & Managing Director, UK Broadband
Dominique Valentiny, Angel Investor, Astia Angels
Moderated by: Sarah Turner, Co-Founder & CEO, Angel Academe
3.10: Afternoon Tea Break and Networking
3.45: Panel Discussion: How I have Built and Scaled my Business with Angel Investment
Women Entrepreneurs discuss their journey to accessing angel investment and what added value they have gained from their investors in building a successful business and how can women entrepreneurs overcome the challenge in finding the investment they need
Agnes Czako, Co-Founder, AirEx
Fanya Ismail, CEO & Founder, Sol-Gel SGMA
Melinda Nicci, CEO & Founder, Baby2Body
Maria Tanjala, Co-Founder, BigCouch & FilmChain
Sheana Yu, Founder & CEO, Aergo
Moderated by: Emily Nott, Head of Diversity & Inclusion Programmes, Innovate UK
4.30: Panel Discussion: What I wished I had known as an Angel Investor
Women investors discuss many of the common misunderstandings about angel investing; how to approach risk; how to make the most of growing a portfolio and supporting long term growth and successful outcome.
Gillian Macaulay, Director & Gatekeeper, Gabriel Investments
Fiona Dent, CEO, Makerversity & Angel Investor, 24Haymarket
Pam Garside, Partner, Newhealth & Angel Investor, Cambridge Angels
Moderated by: Alice Hu Wagner, Managing Director, Strategy Economics & Business Development, British Business Bank
5.30: Audience Discussion
How can we encourage more women to Invest in the UK?
5.45: Closing remarks and next Steps
Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO, UK Business Angels Association
6.00: Networking, Drinks and Canapes