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

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Since our inception in 2010, diversity, equity and inclusion has played an important role in the growth of our company – from the hires we make, the investments we identify to how we cultivate and navigate our ecosystem. Over the last decade, we have learned so much about why our vision for change in financial services must include as many perspectives, backgrounds and experiences as possible.

Anthemis is a female-founded organization; 52 percent of employees identify as women – atypical given the industry average of 27 percent. Sixty percent of women on the investment team are decision-makers. As we mark our 10th anniversary, already we see the many ways that we – and the industry at large – have benefited from efforts to address gender inequities in financial services.

We believe everyone has a role to play in broadening access and opportunities in our industry, which is why we are proud to share the first paper in what will be a new Anthemis series on diversity, equity and inclusion. Empowering Female Founders: Moving from a Vicious Cycle to a Virtuous Cycle” unpacks the challenges as we have understood and experienced them and offers practical solutions on collective ways forward. We highlight the progress made by women in financial services in recent years, while also emphasizing that these gains do not diminish persistent gaps in pay and equity – particularly at the highest levels of leadership. We share stories from within our own community that illustrate the personal and professional impact of gender discrimination. Finally, we offer our own roadmap for change, which takes into account all parts of the investment cycle.

We are focused on gender inequity in financial services for two key reasons. First, to highlight recent research that proves what we have long understood about the benefits of female leadership: higher fund returns, more profitable exits and, just as key, more opportunities for other female investors and founders. Now is also a time to double down on our efforts to support female founders who are experiencing what Anthemis Female Innovators Lab investment associate Elizabeth Davis has called “the perfect headwind” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even in this moment of uncertainty, there is still much reason for optimism. “I can see a brighter future on the other side,” wrote Anthemis co-founder and CEO Amy Nauokias at the start of the pandemic: “A more diverse set of leaders, respect for the female warriors on the frontlines, a focus on building resiliency into our system and a level of gender equity we’ve not yet seen.”

Last fall, we launched the Female Innovators Lab, dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurial talent in women from all sides of the financial services ecosystem with the understanding that, more than ever this is the time to invest in a more inclusive ecosystem – a virtuous cycle, as we call it. We hope that you learn from this paper, and that, as you do, you consider how bias and systemic inequality impacts your own work and your own team, clients and strategies.

To download the white paper, please click on the following link: Empowering Female Founders: Moving from a Vicious Cycle to a Virtuous Cycle