Female Founder Office Hours and a deep dive into our pipeline

Last year we held our first Female Founder Office Hours and we were overwhelmed by the response.

Not only did we see the proportion of female applicants go from just above 20% to a staggering 50% during the run up to Office Hours, we also met some incredible companies and female founders that we have stayed in touch with over the last year. More importantly, founders reported they found the sessions useful and we had one of the highest NPS scores ever for Office Hours - Hurrah!

So we’re incredibly excited to be hosting our second Female Founder Office Hours on 8th March in line with International Women’s Day and in collaboration with Blooming Founders.

To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share some of the trends we see among the female-founded teams see.

Women articulate a better vision, men do better on ‘market’

We were proud to contribute to the unprecedented research into women raising venture in the UK through a collaboration with BBB and Diversity VC/BVCA.

The research shows there is still a long way to go (let’s not focus too much on the negatives), but initiatives like this highlight important areas for improvement and inspire action across the industry. We are pleased to give our voice to it, and highly recommend you read the full report to get the full picture.

"To supercharge our economy, we need to do more to pull down the barriers that are stopping women accessing finance. There are millions of women out there with the energy and ideas to drive us all forward. The venture capital industry recognises this, and their ambition to respond to the challenge is encouraging."

-- Liz Truss, HM Treasury Chief Secretary to the Treasury

We analysed how female co-/founded teams progress through our pipeline. We then took it a step further and analysed whether there was a difference in the specific reasons we chose not to either take a meeting, or not to invest in a company depending on whether it was female or male founded.

What we found was interesting:


Market size and competition can be classified more broadly as ‘the market’ a company is going after. Of all categories, market conditions are the most objective i.e. a market has a reported size and growth. It is less subjective than an analysis of the product vision a founder is trying to articulate.

This data suggests that women tend to go after somewhat less appealing markets in terms of size and competitiveness, 54% compared to 48%.

However, female founders appear to be better at articulating a compelling product vision for their company: 15% left the pipeline due to poor product vision compared to 21% for male founded companies.

This is a hugely important skill for founders -- in fact Ben Horowitz states it as the number one characteristic a leader should have. (The second and third most important are the ambition and the ability to achieve number one.)

We found no statistical difference between the genders on passing on opportunities based on either stage of the business or traction.

Female Founder Office Hours

To coincide with International Women’s Day on 8th March we’re holding Female Founder Office Hours.

We’re looking for early-stage female founded or co-founded companies that would like to meet with a VC at Forward Partners for advice and potential investment of £300 - £500k.

If this is you, please apply here

If you know a company that this is suited to then please do share!

Party On

One of the key themes in the Female Founder Report was that female co-/founded teams found it more difficult and were less likely to get a warm introduction to VCs.

However 82% of companies that went onto receive funding did so following a warm introduction highlighting its importance.

So we’ve teamed up with Blooming Founders to host a fundraising evening bringing together female founders with VC and Angel investors from funds such as Jam Jar, Talis, Silvergate, Angel Academe (more once confirmed), for fundraising advice and feedback on their business/idea.

We’d love to meet you there - you can sign up here.

Finally look out for further posts on diversity initiatives we’ll be implementing at Forward Partners later this year.

Louise started out as a medical doctor and has experience in a number of medical and surgical specialities. She has undertaken research in a world-class laboratory, is published in an international medical journal and has presented work at multiple national and international conferences.

Following this, she joined Entrepreneur First where she developed a healthcare communication platform.

BLOG | Announcements

How to ace Office Hours like Molly Hart

Molly Hart is the founder of HIGHR and our most recent investment from Office Hours.

Reading time: 5min

BLOG | Announcements

FemTech Office Hours

in partnership with Octopus Ventures

Reading time: 2min

Founders Programme Interview: With Rich Serunjogi

Following opening applications for the 2nd Edition of our Founders Programme last month, we had a chat with a member of…

Reading time: 3min