Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis (Logo)

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

Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis is a venture fund and studio dedicated to investing and cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women across the financial services ecosystem. Entrepreneurs who join the Lab will receive human, intellectual and financial resources, backed by an extensive network of advisors and experts from Anthemis and Barclays. Additionally, entrepreneurs 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 the Lab. To learn more about the firm and our investments, visit Anthemis.

What does it mean to be a part of the Female Innovators Lab?

Founders should join the Lab for capital, dedicated resources, mentoring and networking opportunities.

female innovator

 

Katie Palencsar

Team

Katie Palencsar

Investor & Global Head of Venture Studio

Katie Palencsar leads the Female Innovators Lab in partnership with Barclays. 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 Associate

Elizabeth Davis is an Investment Associate at Anthemis. Based in New York, Elizabeth develops new digital-era concepts and ventures with a focus on female-founded businesses. Prior to joining Anthemis, Elizabeth served as the Vice President of Worn, a mission-driven creative and digital agency where she led strategic partnerships working with female founders. Elizabeth was also the Co-Founder of ON PURPOSE, a purpose consulting firm and worked at The Coca- Cola Company on their Global Sustainability team.

Elizabeth Davis
Swarnali Mitra
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 has a keen passion for payments and financial infrastructure. 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.

 

Portfolio

Founder: Kaeya Majmundar
Founder: Eli Polanco
Founders: Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley 

 

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 10,000+ 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.

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? (required)

    Great, tell us about your company:

    Tell us about your idea:

     

    FAQs

    The Basics

    What is the Female Innovators Lab?

    The Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis (Lab) is a venture fund and studio dedicated to investing and cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women across the financial services ecosystem. Entrepreneurs who join the Lab will receive human, intellectual and financial resources, backed by an extensive network of advisors and experts from Anthemis and Barclays. Additionally, entrepreneurs 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?

    The Lab is a venture fund and studio, not an accelerator or incubator. There is no cohort cycle associated with the Lab. Entrepreneurs enter and exit on a rolling basis, not as part of a group of companies on a given schedule.

    Where is the Lab-based? Do you have to be based in NYC or London to apply?

    Entrepreneurs have the flexibility to spend time working from the Anthemis or Barclays offices in New York City or London but do not need to be based there to participate in the Lab. With regards to COVID-19, we continue to follow the government guidance in each jurisdiction that we operate and the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors to our Lab is our priority.

    Why should founders participate in the Lab?

    Founders should join the Lab for capital, dedicated resources, mentoring, networking, and investment opportunities.

    How much money will founders get from participating in the Lab?

    The Lab 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 approaches their next fundraising round.

    What kind of support will the founders receive?

    Entrepreneurs who join the Lab will receive human, intellectual and financial resources, backed by an extensive network of advisors and experts from Anthemis and Barclays. Additionally, entrepreneurs 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 many founders will the Lab be backing?

    There is no hard limit on how many founders we will accept for the Lab. We will evaluate candidates on a founder-by-founder basis.

    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 invite founders into the Lab who have worked at, or potentially founded, startups, as well as those who have had more traditional careers and are embarking on their first venture. The Lab 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?

    The Lab 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.

    Do you have to be a fintech expert to apply?

    No, you just need to have a great concept that could be applied to the fintech sector, which we define very broadly. For more information, view the Anthemis “6+1” subsectors of fintech on our investments page. If you’re not sure, share your concept, and we can help to determine if there is a fintech application.

    Does your concept or company have to match Barclays’ core business?

    No, there does not need to be immediate alignment to Barclays’ core business. We are looking for great concepts or companies doing something exciting in the Fintech sector. During your participation in the Lab you will get access to Barclays subject matter experts and the Barclays innovation team who can help identify possible collaboration opportunities either with Barclays or their clients.

    Will the Lab help to identify co-founders?

    Yes. A big part of early stage company creation is finding the right founding team. Anthemis and Barclays have deep networks inside the fintech ecosystem and will help to match founders with each other.

     

    Stages

    What stage companies are eligible for the Lab?

    The Lab is best suited for founders who have a business concept they would like to build into a venture-scalable business. We will also consider founders who are a little further along in that process and actively raising capital.

    How long will founders be in the lab?

    Our intention is to create venture-scalable businesses that are ready to take on additional investment. A typical timeline is 12 months or their next round of financing, though that will vary company by company.

     

    Leadership

    Who is leading the Lab?

    Katie Palencsar joined the Anthemis team in September 2019 to lead the Female Innovators Lab. She was the founder and CEO of Unbound Concepts, acquired in 2017 by Certica Solutions. 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.

    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, the Lab offers a dedicated venture studio platform team including expertise in talent, marketing, product, tech, operations and more.

    Will Anthemis and/or Barclays be investing in the companies?

    The Lab will make an upfront investment and follow-on capital is available to support the business as it grows. The amount will vary business by business.

    What gives Barclays and Anthemis the credibility to run this Lab?

    Since 2010, Anthemis has made more than 130 investments in early stage fintech companies and funds to advance its mission of transforming the financial system. Additionally, in 2014, Anthemis opened its own discretionary venture studio in London and a few years later expanded to build companies in collaboration with outside partners. 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.

    Diversity

    Where did the idea for the Lab 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 business was founded by former Barclays executive, Amy Nauiokas, and her cofounder, Sean Park. Additionally, Barclays and Anthemis have become natural partners in 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 venture studio for fintech female founders?

    In 2020, only 2.1 percent of all venture capital dollars went to female founders according to analysis by Pitchbook. In fintech, female founders raised .9 percent of venture capital dollars according to Crunchbase. The Lab 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.

    Why is it important for Barclays and Anthemis to continue to back female founders?

    Anthemis and Barclays are committed to transforming the industry from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. Information Age-businesses break down consolidated power structures to create new business models that do not reinforce the zero-sum games of the past. This means that the companies themselves, as well as the people who create them, must be reflective of today’s society. We believe that women will play an increasingly important role in the transformation of the sector, as will other underrepresented groups in the history of financial services, and we want to do everything we can to encourage them to bring their entrepreneurial concepts forward.

    Will Barclays and Anthemis be looking to support other types of underrepresented founders?

    Barclays and Anthemis are continually looking for ways to support new voices in fintech.