Leading Venture Capital Firms Extend Virtual Mentoring for Female Business Founders to MENA
By: WE STAFF | Monday, 10 October 2022
Playfair Capital and Global Ventures have announced the launch of ‘Female Founder Office Hours’ across MENA – with 150 of the world’s leading venture capital funds, including: Atomico, Balderton, Creandum, EQT Ventures, Firstminute, Localglobe, Northzone, Notion and Seedcamp – hosting virtual mentoring sessions for over 400 women founders from across MENA, the UK and Europe on 10th November 2022.
Launched in London in 2019, Female Founder Office Hours breaks down barriers to investment for female entrepreneurs, notoriously underserved by the global investment community. Each founder meets four investors virtually for one hour to discuss their technology and business model, ask for advice, pitch for investment or find a mentor. The founders meet a mix of local and international investors to receive a diverse perspective on the business they are building and to broaden their network.
The event is being hosted by Playfair Capital, with the support of Dubai-based Global Ventures, Tech Nation, Google for Startups and Words + Pixels. The previous seven editions saw a total of 5,230 individual mentoring sessions, with 1,307 founders and 200 investors taking part. To date, 32% of founders have gone on to raise £280m of funding after attending an event, with success stories including Apryl, Freyda, HIVED, Vira Health, Opply, Sixfold Bioscience and SymTerra.
The eighth edition is part of an ongoing and long-term commitment to redress the gender imbalance in fundraising, and includes expansion to MENA to engage and support the next generation of women founders around the world.
Chris Smith, Playfair Capital’s Managing Partner, commented:
“The underrepresentation of women founders in venture capital funding is a global problem. We are, therefore, delighted to be expanding the initiative we started in the UK, back in 2019, to MENA. This is a region full of incredible talent and promise. Yet, aside from a relatively small number of pioneers, it’s a region lacking the widespread support required for women who want to build globally significant companies. This event allows us to connect these women founders at scale, wherever they are located in the region, to local and international investors to build new relationships, find new mentors and, ultimately, secure funding.”
Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures, commented:
“Increasing the pipeline of female founders has been front of mind for regional capital allocators for several years now, so it is really exciting to see top VCs from the ecosystem collaborate for the first edition of Female Founder Office Hours in MENA. While the ecosystem has made important strides in recent years, with 35% of tech businesses being founded by female entrepreneurs in MENA, there is still lots of work to be done. Female Founder Office Hours aims to create access to capital and build a community of investors for regional female founders. Diversity of leadership and thought are important factors shaping the future of MENA’s entrepreneurial landscape – female founders are a key part of that.”