Playfair Capital, a London based early-stage fund and Global Ventures ,an international venture capital firm 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.
This eighth event 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 without 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 Founders Office Hours in MENA. While the ecosystem has made important strides in recent years, with 35% of tech entrepreneurs being female in MENA, there is still much work to be done. Female Founders 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.”
Yasmin Almostehy, MEVCA Executive Director, commented: “We are seeing booming interest in female founders in the region, and the VC ecosystem is coming together on many fronts, to launch initiatives that specifically target female founders. IFC research has shown that female founders in the MENA region receive less than 10% of all private equity and venture capital funding. And it is time we address this with impact-yielding initiatives, such as this one. We are happy to support Playfair Capital, Global Ventures, and the entire ecosystem in contributing to the correction of the gender gap in the region.”
Lauren Nicholson, Tech Nation, commented: “Founders’ Network is once again proud to be taking part in the 8th Edition of Female Founders Office Hours. It’s been a privilege to help support over 1300+ women founders over the last 3 years to take part in the 5,230 one-to-one mentoring and pitch meetings that FFOH has facilitated and be a part of their start-up journey and are looking forward to welcoming the new 400+ female founders and women-led teams who will join us in the November Edition and to see where the event takes them.
The 8th Edition is also a chance to celebrate the continued expansion of our FFOH initiative into new regions, from Europe to the Middle East and Northern Africa and to offer more female founders the opportunity to grow and scale their businesses by supporting them on their fundraising journey.“