Topics:

Female Founders in Fintech: Global Fundraise Deep Dive

At Anthemis, we have been steadfast in our commitment to empowering and amplifying underrepresented voices in the fintech ecosystem since our inception. As a woman-led organization, we highlight our commitment to closing the funding gap. One of Anthemis’ key initiatives in 2019 was the launch of the Female Innovators Lab Fund (anchored by Barclays with investment from Aviva, Visa and BMO), an investment vehicle focused exclusively on backing women-led fintech companies. By 2023, the fund raised $50 million, emerging as one of the largest fintech funds exclusively dedicated to investing in and fostering the growth of women-led fintech startups across North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

As part of our ongoing efforts to spotlight the fundraising achievements of female founders, this report comprehensively analyzes fintech startups founded by women that secured venture capital funding in 2023 and Q1 2024. Our criteria encompassed fintech companies operating at the forefront of payments, wealthtech, insurtech and other emerging areas, as captured by Crunchbase and Pitchbook. 

One of the noteworthy trends we observed is the transformative rise of embedded finance, which has opened doors for women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to enter the fintech space and is a staple of the Anthemis thesis. By seamlessly integrating financial services into non-financial businesses, embedded finance has empowered individuals without traditional finance backgrounds to innovate and disrupt the industry. This has fostered a new generation of founders who may have previously felt excluded from finance and technology.

However, the driving force behind this report extends far beyond mere data points. Its core purpose is to confront head-on the persistent myth of the “pipeline problem.” The company insights highlighted here provide compelling evidence that a robust pipeline of startups led by female founders who have raised capital does indeed exist.

With this report, we aim to both inspire all investors to consciously broaden their sourcing efforts and serve as a resource for the investment community. This report provides a curated list of female founders who are building and have raised capital across all fintech verticals and at varying startup stages.

We hope that investors will leverage these takeaways to expand their sourcing pipelines and connect with the entrepreneurs within the Airtable (linked below), aiming to bolster their deal flow of female founders– a mission these insights directly advance.

Key Findings 

The data reviewed for this analysis highlights the ambition and activity of the female founder ecosystem securing venture capital funding (1). Throughout 2023 and Q1 2024, female-led fintech companies raised $1.2 billion (2) across 151 rounds. In 2023 alone, female-led fintech companies raised $1.19 billion which represents 3.4% of the total ~$35 billion invested in the fintech sector last year. It underscores the immense potential of female-led fintech companies while also shining a light on a funding gap as 3.4% is extremely behind the ~26% of overall venture dollars flowing to companies with at least one female founder.  Unfortunately, even this overall figure lags significantly behind where we should be as an industry.

In our recent “Equity in Entrepreneurship” we reflect on the common VC goal of ensuring 50% of portfolio companies have at least one woman founder. This metric alone may not achieve true portfolio parity. We proposed a more ambitious yet necessary target: 70% of VC-backed companies should have at least one woman founder. 

Geographic Distribution: 

The United States, Europe and the UK emerged as dominant hubs, collectively accounting for 86.5% of the venture capital funding secured by female fintech founders. Asia and Latin America follow behind with 5.96% and 3.97% respectively.

Funding Rounds, By Region

Investment Rounds: 

Seed rounds were the most dominant funding stage in terms of deal count with 54 rounds total. Notably, a significant portion of the funding activity occurred at the early-stages with Pre-Seed, Seed & Series A deals accounting for 73.51% of the deal count showcasing a robust pipeline of early-stage startups led by women which bodes well for the continued growth and innovation within the fintech ecosystem. However, both deal count and capital raised drastically decreased towards the later stages with only one Series D deal recorded.

Founder Makeup Analysis:

Our analysis revealed an intriguing insight: only 36 companies were solely founded by women (out of the 151 rounds raised), while the remaining had two or more co-founders in mixed-gender teams. Solely female founded teams raised $147 million in 2023 and Q1 2024 across 37 rounds meaning that, of the $1.2 billion raised, 81.77% of deal count and 87.81% of capital raised had a male cofounder(s). The same trend of early-stage dominance is drastically reflected in the funding of solely female founded teams in fintech.

 

Sector Breakdown: 

In 2023 and Q1 2024, among female founded companies who raised in fintech, established fintech sectors like payments, lending, and accounting maintained their dominance, collectively representing 28.08% of companies. Close behind were companies in core technology, crypto, finance, insurtech, real estate and wealth management, with each of these sectors representing 35.46% of the companies that raised funds.

Several sectors where we’re seeing activity from female founders mirror areas that we believe are primed for major innovation within the fintech landscape: payments, wealth management and compliance & fraud solutions. We believe the wealth management space is particularly ripe for disruption, with a rise in personalized, inclusive offerings catering to a wide range of investors. The floodgates are open for transformative business models centered on underserved markets.

As mentioned above, we also see embedded finance as a critical entry point for female founders. Because of this, we are paying close attention to where financial services intersect with other industries. An area to watch is e-commerce; when paired with embedded finance, we believe it can create better digital shopping experiences for consumers and meaningful revenue streams for businesses. 

Conclusion

As we progress through the year, this data will continue to evolve. Our aim remains steadfast – to inspire all investors to consciously broaden their sourcing efforts and deal flow, tapping into the immense potential awaiting a truly inclusive and representative fintech community.

We are committed to investing, partnering, and encouraging others to join this mission. The pipeline of female founders in fintech is overflowing with talent and innovation across the globe. It is crucial to discard the myth of the “pipeline problem” and start calling it what it is: a funding gap problem.

We invite you to reach out to pitch@anthemis.com for those actively seeking investment to speak to a member of our investment team. 

Check out the Airtable to see the full list of companies. 

  1. Comprises data available on Crunchbase and Pitchbook of global fintech company fundraisings by fintech companies with at least one female founder during 2023 and Q1 2024. 
  2. Only includes amounts disclosed across Crunchbase and Pitchbook in 2023 and Q1 2024.