Unfortunately, most funding networks are often old boys’ clubs. But more women-led investor firms like BB Ventures, Kapor Capital and Backstage Capital in the U.S. and Allbright in the U.K. are demonstrating to the VC world that you can bring real business AND be intentional about funding diverse ventures, at the same time. Who knew?
AllBright - the collective for working women launched in November 2016 to provide tailored training, space and funding for female founders and executives - is gradually getting to that exact point.
It’s now closed its series A round, which, although not a fund, will be an investment into AllBright's operations itself. This will see it move into the provision of physical space for female founders and working women.
Founded by Debbie Wosskow OBE (founder and former CEO of Love Home Swap) and Anna Jones (former CEO of Hearst UK), Allbright’s £1.85m series A round has been led by a Cain International consortium including leading property developer Galliard Homes, alongside individuals including Robert Swannell (M&S), Mervyn Davies (Corsair), Paul White (Frogmore), Ben Samuels (WeWork) and Jan Hall (Heidrick & Struggles/JCA).
The idea here is to become known as the “premier destination for female business leaders and executives keen to take their companies and careers to the next level.”
Allbright is already investing, having backed six female-led businesses since launch (including Chiaro, which makes smart consumer devices for women, and Piccolo, an organic baby food brand). It’s also launched the AllBright Academy, a digital and in-person educational platform for women wishing to start or scale their own business.
It’s also created the inaugural 'FoundHER’ Festival of Female Founders, bringing together a line-up of over 80 speakers and 1,000 attendees over the course of six days in London and Manchester. Speakers included Cath Kidston, Liz Earle, Martha Lane Fox and Sarah Wood.
Plus, it's appointed Erica Allen as Chief Operating Officer, previously of HomeAway (acquired by Expedia) and Farfetch.
Debbie Wosskow said: "We are delighted to be working with Cain International, Galliard and our group of angel investors. In the ten months since AllBright launched, we have begun to build a network for working women that we hope can make the UK a great place for female founders and executives. We're excited for the next stage of scaling up our platform, events and funding over the coming months.”
However, Allbright does not have a monopoly on backing women in tech in the UK.
Blooms is designed to “create an inspirational environment for female founders to work from and do business in.” It will offer a curated membership: a supportive network of founders, freelancers, advisors and investors and will be open 7 days a week with a Crèche on site. Li says Blooms has been created for women, but is open to all genders.
Meanwhile, Angel Academe is an increasingly influential angel network helping “more women to enjoy the benefits of angel investing and, at the same time, helping the best UK tech startups access the capital and “smarts” women bring.”