Barclays and Anthemis are to export their Female Innovators Lab from the US to the UK and Europe, providing funding and mentoring to fintech startups founded by women.
Established in 2019, the Lab combines Barclays’ and Anthemis’ early stage investment expertise and wide fintech network to identify female founders at the earliest stage of their journey and match them with capital and support to build and scale a company.
Three of the first companies to launch out of the Lab include Swaypay, a social commerce startup that reroutes billions of ad dollars from platforms like Facebook into shoppers pockets by democratising influencer perks for all, Nivelo, which is enabling faster ACH payments with a new API security layer, and First Boulevard, a digitally native neobank focused on improving the financial livelihood of Black America.
Data from Pitchbook showed that venture funding for female founders hit a three-year low in Q3 of 2020 as the pandemic had a disproportionately negative effect on women and minority-founded businesses. In Europe, companies founded solely by women in 2020 garnered just 2.1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups.
Startups picked to join the programme will receive an investment from the $30 million UK-based fund of which Barclays is the anchor LP, bespoke support from the Lab team and have access to Barclays and Anthemis dedicated office spaces in London.
The Lab will continue to be led by Katie Palencsar, global head of venture studio at Anthemis, with support from Sonal Lakhani, head of innovation programmes at Barclays, who will tap into Barclays' experience in building collaboration opportunities with fintechs.
Kathryn McLeland, group treasurer at Barclays, comments: “By working alongside the Barclays Innovation team and Anthemis, the Barclays Principal Investments team is able to provide strategic support, which may include capital for early stage female led fintechs, and also unlock identified barriers of growth for these founders so they can scale at pace."