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‘Navigating the Fundraising World’ Session Recap: Female Founder Spring 23

We’re excited to have just kicked off the first session of our third Female Founder Accelerator with a new cohort of brilliant Female Founders!

The first workshop of the programme was an open panel discussion about the World of Fundraising, led by two Venture Capital experts and joined by an investor-backed female founder - who also happens to be a Vantage cohort Alumni.

Following their insights, we wanted to highlight and share some of the fundraising tips and tricks they gave our new cohort.

But, before we get started, let us introduce our insightful speakers!

Valerie Aelbrecht, VC Investor at AlbionVC

After having been a founder and operator in the FoodTech space for 8 years, Valérie started her VC career at Cherry Ventures, then joined the AlbionVC B2B Software team last year.

Sonia George, Associate at Ascension

Whilst pursuing a MEng Biomedical Engineering degree at Imperial College London, Sonia co-founded an EdTech startup. More recently, Sonia played a role in helping one of our cohort Alumni, Pantree, secure investment.

Ana Martins, Co-founder at Pantree

Ana was a member of our Spring '22 cohort, and since the programme Pantree has closed their pre-seed raise last year with Ascension and are launching Europe’s first Residential Micro Markets.

The room was full of innovative female founders spanning several different industries - including everything from MedTech to Ecommerce. After introducing themselves and their businesses, the panel began with a deep dive into the differences in application criteria for Pre-Seed and Seed funding rounds, then moved into how best to show traction and gain customer support.

The conversation then shifted to what VCs are looking for from a cold email or pitch application. They noted that, whilst the criteria for B2B and B2C, or PreSeed and Seed differ slightly, solid product market research should be visible as well as eager signups or a list of already happy customers content with your product.

Whether your prospective investor is an expert in your field or not, it is particularly important to demonstrate how your product will fix or improve an existing problem in the field – even better if backed by numbers in any way you can.

After mentioning the magnitude of applications and emails that VCs can receive, Sonia gave her preferred format for the best way to distinguish your cold email pitch from the masses:

  • Highlight exactly what it is your business does, and how it fixes an existing problem

  • List a few bullet points to support your business whether that’s LOIs, current and expected revenue, or how many users – essentially the more numbers and statistics that support what you’re doing, the better!

While the conversation and questions flowed from both founders and VCs throughout the evening, our three incredible panellists left our cohort with some parting wisdom!

💡 So what were the key takeaways?

Ana: ‘What I wish I knew is, that it’s important to actually understand the investor's point of view and what it is they’re trying to achieve. Not doing this can lead to lots of frustration and loss of confidence. Don’t just start firing out your deck to anyone, think about who you actually want as your partner.’

Valerie: ‘Never use the language of ‘I hope’, ‘I believe’, or ‘maybe this will work’, because male founders will never doubt their idea. Back yourself and your idea during your pitch.’

Sonia: ‘Make sure you have the right team with you, but also that you believe you are the right person to lead your business and solve the problem it's solving. Be confident, but don’t be afraid to learn a lot, ask a lot of questions – just show that you’re believing in yourself and your product. BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF, and just never be afraid to ask questions.’

The session began and ended with our cohort getting to know one another and doing a little bit of networking! The panel was a great way to kick off our Accelerator, and for the founders to become acquainted with one another and each other’s businesses. We’re looking forward to a successful next couple of weeks of supporting our wonderful female founders in their fundraising journeys!

Next week the cohort will have their first practical workshop, starting off with finetuning their pitch decks!

We look forward to watching our Spring 23 cohort grow over the next five weeks!


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