Angel syndicate that spotted a gap in the fundraising market
Contrary to popular belief, female founders and leaders do not need to go to a bank or a women-only angel syndicate to acquire investment.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the fundraising process but I would like female entrepreneurs to be more aware of how accessible angel investment can be.
My own background – a 25-year career in financial services and currently head of operations at Equity Gap – has strengthened my determination to advance female entrepreneurship.
Data gathered by the Rose Review since 2019 shows that women consistently struggle to raise as much funding as men, and this can cause problems: if companies are underfunded, they are less likely to scale quickly.
As an angel syndicate, Equity Gap does not make decisions about the deployment of investment capital. Individual members choose which companies to back with their own money, based on the business opportunity and credibility of the founder.
This approach has seen 20 per cent of our investment go to female-led businesses over the last 13 years, versus approximately 11 per cent of venture capital funding.
While Equity Gap has always aimed to make angel investing accessible to all, in 2020 we took the commitment to advancing female entrepreneurship further and signed up to the Investing in Women Code, which aims to increase access to resources and finance for female-led businesses.
Since then, we have been much more active in highlighting the value of diversity, equality and
inclusion, and commitment to these values is vital to how the syndicate runs today.
In addition to helping female-led and female-founded businesses to secure finance, we also create a welcoming environment where more women can become investors themselves.
In the last 13 years, Equity Gap has supported investment by approximately 75 female angel investors, either as individuals or organisation leads.
To date our members have invested more than £6 million directly into 13 female-led companies, leveraging £40 million of total investment for these businesses.
And last year saw our first positive exit for a female-led investee company with the sale of Sharktower to Proteus Group in February 2022.
Female-led companies in our portfolio operate in a wide range of sectors, though in line with our investor focus the businesses all tend to use disruptive technologies.
Some of our female led portfolio companies who are making waves in their respective sectors include MI:RNA Diagnostics, a veterinary technology company founded by Eve Hanks, which was named business to watch in the 2023 Women’s Enterprise Scotland awards.
Appointedd, established by Leah Hutcheon, winner of the global player award at the British Chambers of Commerce’s business awards 2023, has scaled across more than 167 countries and now works with the likes of M&S,
Harrods and Lloyds Bank.
And ULEMCo, founded by Amanda Lyne, provides hydrogen conversion technology for commercial vehicles, helping fleet managers to reduce carbon emissions to ultra-low levels.
We are currently closing two new investments with female founders, taking the total to 15 female-led companies in our portfolio, representing around 35 per cent of our active investments.
Beyond our investors and investees, we also seek to achieve representational balance in our operational team, boosted by the recent appointments of Rhona Bree as senior investment manager, and board members Tracey Ginn and Rachel Jones.
The value of angel investment is encapsulated by Leah Hutcheon at Appointedd: “Having raised £3 million through angel investment to help Appointedd scale up, I feel very fortunate that my experience as a female founder has been so positive.
“Pitching to Equity Gap’s mix of male and female investors has always felt friendly and we really appreciate the help and support we get from being able to collaborate with such a diverse portfolio of companies.”
Alex Lusty Is Head of Operations at Equity Gap, the member-led angel investment syndicate. Set up in 2010 in Edinburgh, Equity Gap is consistently ranked in the top 10 angel groups in the UK on both funds deployed and deal activity metrics. In 2023, Equity Gap was ranked 6th in the UK by Beauhurst for deal activity in the previous 10 years. It was also ranked first in the Deloitte Fast50 for the north of the UK, over the same period.
Partner content in association with Equity Gap.