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We are dedicated to investing and cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women across the financial services ecosystem

 

We are working to level the playing field for female founders looking to raise capital in VC

2.1%

The percentage of venture capital dollars that went to female founders according to Pitchbook (2020).

0.9%

Of female founders focused on fintech raised venture capital dollars according to Crunchbase (2020). 

Female-Innovators-Lab Founders

About Us

The Anthemis Female Innovators Lab Fund (FIL), anchored by Barclays and backed by Aviva, is a venture fund and studio dedicated to investing and cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women across the financial services ecosystem. FIL invests in businesses led by female founders and provides them with human, intellectual and financial resources, backed by an extensive network of advisors and experts from Anthemis, Barclays, Aviva and other strategic investors. Companies will receive support and guidance around product, operations, hiring, marketing and more, all of which will be focused on helping founders to build their business.

Anthemis was founded on three guiding principles: authentic collaboration, virtuous cycle outcomes, and diversity and inclusivity. Since Anthemis’ inception, Founders Amy Nauiokas and Sean Park have paved the way for a more inclusive startup ecosystem. Through doing so, they were inspired to establish FIL. To learn more about the firm and our investments, visit Anthemis.

Why should founders seek funding from FIL?

Founders should pitch FIL for access to capital, dedicated resources, mentoring, networking and investment opportunities.

female innovator

 

Katie Palencsar

Team

Katie Palencsar

Investor & Global Head of Venture Studio

Katie Palencsar leads the Female Innovators Lab Fund. Previously, she founded and led data SaaS company, Unbound Concepts from ideation to exit. The company’s data services, which were used by global distributors as well as privately owned and publicly traded publishers in addition to providing free software tools to over 40,000+ educators. Upon acquisition, she served on the executive team and led Solutioning for Certica Solutions which was acquired by Instructure (INST). Award highlights include the General Electric 99u Alva Emerging Innovator Award, Drexel University Outstanding Educator and Women in FinTech Powerlist. Katie’s experience as an entrepreneur from idea stage, to fundraising, scaling, exit and integration gives her an unparalleled understanding of what early stage companies need to achieve success.

Elizabeth Davis

Investment Principal

Elizabeth Davis is an Investment Principal at Anthemis. Prior to joining Anthemis, Elizabeth served as a Vice President of Worn, a mission-driven creative and digital agency, where she led strategic partnerships working with female founders, was a Co-Founder at ON PURPOSE, where she built impact programs for Fortune 500 companies including Aflac, Staples & LG, and worked at The Coca-Cola Company in Global Sustainability in China, Turkey & India. Elizabeth was nominated by Innovate Finance for their Women in Fintech Powerlist in 2021 & 2022 and by NYC Women in Fintech as a Inspiring Fintech Female in 2021. She is a Truman Scholar and World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Elizabeth has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and an B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

Elizabeth Davis
Swarnali Mitra

Swarnali Mitra

Investment Associate

Swarnali Mitra is an Investment Associate at Anthemis. An engineer by training, she has worked globally in the public, private, and non-profit finance sectors and most interested in solving the hard problems of fintec. Her most recent work has been in Investment Banking, where she executed capital markets transactions including SPACs and M&A for fintechs, banks and consumer finance companies. Swarnali is passionate about building a more financially inclusive world. She has previously championed the Financial Inclusion Initiative at Credit Suisse, contributed to the launch of the Inclusive FinTech 50 series (supported by Accion and IFC), and helped develop industry research on digital ID-based solutions to improve access to finance. She is a graduate of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and has earned her Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University.

Camila Rivas

Investment Analyst

Camila Rivas is an Investment Analyst at Anthemis. Prior to joining Anthemis, Camila received her Bachelor of Science in International Relations from the London School of Economics, where she led their Women in Business Society. During her academic tenure, she spent time at the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) headquarters in Paris. Passionate about levelling the playing field for women across industries & society at large, she has also spent time working at an early-stage female-led consumer products startup in London and in an asset management firm focusing on investing in women’s health.

 

Portfolio

Founder:
Ana Mahony
Founder:
Bec Jones
Founders:
Sam Carow and Matt Canzoneri
Founders:
Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley 
Founder:
Eli Polanco
Founder:
Jessica Holzbach
Founder:
Kaeya Majmundar

 

Community

We design events and workshops to support female entrepreneurs throughout their journey to build their businesses. Our events are designed to connect entrepreneurs with members of our 100,000+ ecosystem, share insights and resources to cultivate change within the industry by providing funding and opportunities to women.

Events coming soon
female insurtech founder

Top 5 tips for female founders under 5 minutes

Tips for Pitching Your Pre-Seed and Seed Startup (Full Episode)
Distinctions Between Pre-Seed and Seed Companies
How to Build an Effective Content Strategy

To watch more, visit our YouTube playlist.

Insights from
FIL Investors

Katie Palencsar
What are Venture Studios? And how have they evolved with the market?
by Katie – Mar 23, 2022
Elizabeth Davis
Why We Invested: Clutch Wallet
by Elizabeth – Aug 8, 2022
Swarnali Mitra
Why We Invested: Pile Capital
by Swarnali – Sep 8, 2022

Whitepapers

Empowering Female Founders
Moving from a Vicious Cycle to a Virtuous Cycle

› download

female entrepreneur

 

female founder

Press

Barclays (Logo)
FIL One Year Anniversary - Levelling the Fintech Funding Field
fastcompany (Logo)
Exclusive: Barclays and Anthemis launch startup studio for female founders
pitchbook (Logo)
VC in NYC: The Women Making it Happen
startup-grind (logo)
VC Corner Q&A: Katie Palencsar of Anthemis
siliconroundabout (logo)
Unique Perspective and Advice to Entrepreneurs From a Investor & Former Founder
Her Agenda (Logo)
10 Reminders For New Founders Looking To Grow Their Business
the-information (logo)
Katie Palencsar and Elizabeth Davis on Hiring and Onboarding During a Pandemic
fintech founders

 

 

Pitch Us

There is no formal application process or cohort and inquiries are accepted on a rolling basis. To be considered for the investment, tell us a bit more about you and your company.

    Have you already begun working on your startup? *

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    Tell us about your idea:



    * Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required


     

    FAQs

    The Basics

    What is the Female Innovators Lab?

    The Anthemis Female Innovators Lab Fund (FIL), anchored by Barclays and backed by Aviva, is a venture fund and studio dedicated to investing and cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women across the financial services ecosystem. FIL invests in businesses led by female founders and provides them with human, intellectual and financial resources, backed by an extensive network of advisors and experts from Anthemis, Barclays, Aviva and other strategic investors. Companies will receive support and guidance around product, operations, hiring, marketing and more, all of which will be focused on helping founders to build their business.

    How is it different from accelerators and incubators?

    FIL is a venture fund and studio, not an accelerator or incubator. There is no cohort cycle associated with FIL.

    What geographies does FIL invest?

    FIL invests in the US, Canada, UK & Europe. Founders have the flexibility to spend time working from the Anthemis or Barclays Rise offices in New York City or London but do not have to be based in those cities.

    Why should founders seek funding from FIL?

    Founders should pitch FIL for access to capital, dedicated resources, mentoring, networking, and investment opportunities.

    What check sizes does FIL typically invest? 

    FIL will make an upfront investment in founders. The amount will vary founder by founder, business by business. Follow-on capital is available to support the business as it grows and as they approach their next fundraising round.

    Founders

    What kind of founder are you looking for?

    There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to identifying successful founders in terms of age, education, or work experience. We expect to invest in companies and founders who have worked at, or potentially founded, startups and those who have had more traditional careers and are embarking on their first venture. FIL welcomes founding teams or solo entrepreneurs. Founders should be ready to make a full time commitment to their company.

    Do you have to be a woman to apply?

    FIL is designed to bring more women into entrepreneurship. Our definition of “woman” is the broadest possible and includes any female-identifying, nonbinary, and genderqueer founders.

    How do you define fintech?

    We see this future state of financial services as embedded, augmented and ubiquitous. Rather than finance being discrete, we see it becoming an intimate part of the products and services that drive our economies. We imagine a world where finance is embedded deep inside the workings of our businesses and economies, powering the lives and progress of citizens and businesses rather than being a service consumed independently. Please review the Anthemis “6+1” subsectors of fintech on our investments page for more information. If you’re unsure if your company is the right fit, please reach out, and we can help determine if there is a fintech application.

    Will FIL help to identify early team members?

    Yes. A big part of early stage company creation is finding the right founding team. We have deep networks inside the fintech ecosystem and will support companies in building their founding team.

    Stage

    What stage companies are eligible for FIL?

    FIL is best suited for founders who have a business concept they would like to build into a venture-scalable business, as well as those who are actively fundraising. FIL looks to be the first institutional check into a company.

    Leadership

    Who is leading the Lab?

    Katie Palencsar joined the Anthemis team in September 2019 to lead the Female Innovators Lab Fund. She was the founder and CEO of Unbound Concepts, acquired in 2017 by Certica Solutions. Katie’s experience as an entrepreneur from concept stage, to fundraising, scaling and exit gives her an unparalleled understanding of what early stage companies need to achieve success.

    From Barclays you will have a dedicated point of contact in the Barclays Innovation programmes team which is led by Sonal Lakhani. The team is highly experienced in working with fintech founders, they currently have 220 startup alumni in their portfolio and navigate Barclays to develop collaboration opportunities with startups to build new services and products for Barclays and their clients.

    In order to provide extensive support for founders, FIL offers a dedicated venture studio platform team including expertise in talent, marketing, product, tech, operations and more.

    Why Anthemis, Barclays and Aviva? 

    Since 2010, Anthemis has grown to include a diversified portfolio of 190+ best-in-class, high-growth, digitally native financial services companies based around the world. Anthemis’ full-stack platform invests across all stages of growth from pre-seed to IPO. Anthemis’ unique platform combines the expertise and services of in-house strategic operators with a global ecosystem of financial institutions, influencers, regulators and thought-leaders to help founders grow their companies quickly and innovate within the financial system.

    Barclays is a British Bank with a global footprint. A household name in the UK with its consumer banking and payments operations, Barclays also has a strong global corporate and investment banking presence in both the United Kingdom and internationally. Barclays recognizes the importance of partnering with fintechs to drive innovation in their products and services. They have a robust fintech offering including Rise, a global community of top fintechs, physical co-working spaces in London and New York, investment through their Principal Investments business and dedicated fintech programs to drive collaboration between fintechs and the Bank.

    Aviva is the world’s leading Insurance, Wealth and Retirement business, helping 18.5 million customers in the UK, Ireland and Canada. Aviva invests deeply in their people, customers, society and the planet. They’re here to be with people today, as well as working for a better tomorrow. Innovation is central to Aviva’s strategy and their ambition to deliver great outcomes for customers. Additionally, Aviva Ventures provides expertise, global reach, and resources to help entrepreneurs scale.

    Where did the idea for the Female Innovators Lab Fund come from?

    In addition to investing in early stage fintech companies, Anthemis has had its own venture studio since 2014, building businesses on a discretionary basis as well as with outside partners. Anthemis’ commitment to women in fintech, however, has been a part of its DNA since the firm was founded by former Barclays executive Amy Nauiokas and her co-founder, Sean Park. Additionally, Barclays and Anthemis became natural partners in 2019 developing a solution to remove some of the key growth barriers of access to capital and support for female fintech founders, with the hope this will drive a more diverse set of products and services that Barclays can collaborate with to appeal to a wider audience.

    Why do we have a fund and studio for fintech female founders?

    In 2021, only 2.4 percent of all venture capital dollars went to female founders according to an analysis by Pitchbook. In fintech, female founders raised .9 percent of venture capital dollars according to Crunchbase. FIL intends to set female founders up for success by providing access to capital, ecosystem and resources and recognizes that diverse founders are fundamental to developing tech solutions that will build a more inclusive future.