London VCs launch joint initiative to expand funding opportunities for underrepresented founders
A group of U.K.-based VCs have come together to create a new virtual pitching event designed to address the problems with the current startup ecosystem that can lead to inequalities and “warm intros” made only between privileged classes and ethnicities.
Held on the 30th of September, “Access All” will be a new virtual event geared toward founders from underrepresented groups.
Participating founders will be invited to pitch their startups to a number of London’s leading VCs and companies, including Downing Ventures, Playfair Capital, SpeedInvest and SoftBank, as well as Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture and O2.
The joint initiative has been put together by Floww, Force Over Mass and Wayra UK, with the mission to create more opportunity for BAME founders, based on merit, reducing bias and addressing the problems of the “the old boys network” of venture capital deal flow.
According to some figures, startups with all-male founding teams raise 91% of the venture capital in the U.K., but the stats around ethnic minority founders are harder to find. In the U.S. for example, 0.02% of venture capital is allocated to Black female founders.
Martijn de Wever, CEO and founder of Floww, which is coordinating the event, said: “With Access All, we rallied together in the startup community because we believe that the system needs change. Black, Asian and other ethnic minority founders, need to have fair access.”
Floww’s team of accountants and content writers will work with applicants for free to review their business plans and get them ready to pitch to the participating investors. TechCrunch and Forbes journalists will be joining the panel as judges.