Tips for female founders looking for investment in 2024

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Tips for female founders looking for investment in 2024


This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.

As I head into another funding round in 2024, I find myself once again looking at the figures around female funding. It’s not a cosy read.

Innovate Finance’s latest figures identified that a total of 10 female founded (or co-founded) companies completed venture deals in the first half of 2023. This means female-driven fintechs represent just 2.2% of venture investment in the UK, compared to 4.9% in 2022.

How do we as female fintech founders take steps towards reversing this trend going into 2024?

1. Double your raise timeline - at least

For Blackbullion’s last raise at the end of 2022, I gave myself super-ambitious deadlines. We had a healthy runway, were hitting our revenue  projections and had grown our market share through an acquisition. But it was clear the market was presenting a very different funding environment to the last funding round.

Going into 2024, we need to build several considerations into any investment strategy. The deal environment will continue to be tough. While we’re seeing solid businesses across all sectors still secure funding, extensive due diligence and longer cycles are very much at play – and with lower multiples. I don’t see this changing in 2024 so assuming a raise will take twice the team is the most prudent strategy and reduces the pressure to take 'any money' and rather be strategic and smart about the investors and the terms.

2. Lead with numbers

In a post-Theranos world, investors expect you to be forensic on your numbers, with a transparent roadmap towards profit. High-growth fintechs everywhere are reworking their forecasts and auditing their head count and operational costs as the trend shifts from guess-the-next-unicorn headline grabs through to the less glossy ability to demonstrate a clear runway to profit.

VCs are increasingly looking at the fundamentals which gives an advantage to fiscally disciplined and considered founders. To paraphrase the quote 'there is nothing that can’t be solved with a good revenue metric!' Other considerations – be it personality or gender-related challenges – matter less in conversation or negotiation. And no, it’s still not ok to be asked whether you think you’re 'too emotionally attached to your business.'

3. Team first

In our last raise, one question that came up on repeat. And at every meeting: tell me about your team.

As leaders, we need to show investors that our team is the team that can get the job done, and that our people are  talented, loyal and engaged team. Honestly, I think this is where female founders have the edge in terms of culture and communication.

Be creative about how you make your teams’ work lives great; for example, Blackbullion was a 70% remote team before hybrid working was even a thing. Flexibility was our currency. Find yours.

Show investors how you’ve fostered your unique culture, the way you’ve normalised inclusion and belonging, how you’re invested in their continued growth. Celebrate them in your pitch deck - through stories and impact. Shine the spotlight on your team.

4. Connect to a wider purpose

It’s easy to see why purpose has become batted away as an overused marketing term, to invest our sales with meaning.

The reality is, a greater public consciousness around ethical and sustainable brands has meant that organisations need to be part of a movement that’s bigger than their company, their own separate mission. For better or worse, the greater good. For Blackbullion, financial inclusion, and how this changes students’ life chances and wellbeing has always been the goal. We demonstrate and communicate this at every possible touchpoint.

With ESG demands more rigorous than ever, investors want to back businesses that are part of this broader conversation towards a collective good. You need to show how investing in your business brings that goal closer for them.

5. Be part of a rising tide

The fintech sector is rich in dynamism and innovation. As founders, it’s easy to get caught up focusing on the day-to-day or looking over our shoulders at competitor activity. We forget that a rising tide lifts all boats.

For me, identifying partnerships as an accelerant to growth has supported and expanded our impact in 2023 and will continue to be key in 2024. Forging synergistic relationships, extending market reach and growing your proposition will not only prove your credibility to investors, but your sustainability as an investable business. 

6. Block in time for self-care

Securing investment can be a long process. There will be late nights and deadlines, investor dinners, different time zone Zooms. All the above. All of which requires you to be performing at your best. 

This is why it’s essential to manage your own well-being. As founders, leading raises, it’s almost impossible to separate our work from the personal. Being intentional about rest, self-care (whatever that looks like for you), and sustaining your relationships is essential.

While I can’t go to the gym every day, I can book a weekend escape (perhaps with my laptop), total digital detoxes or the occasional theatre matinee. You’ll know what works for you.

Build in that headspace and getaway time. Because here’s the secret nobody tells you about securing investment: the real work starts when it lands. 


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This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.