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Ways investors and founders, 

can bridge the investment gap,

to the benefit of both

Every firm will find a different route, here's just one

On using this route map: 

Choose to start with questions & info, or go straight into actions further down.

Have the conversation,

listen to different perspectives.

With your partners, with your team (one to one and as a group), at home, with founders,

seek people outside of your usual network.

As with any market opportunity, find out more, from experts, 

consumers (your fund investors), those who may be consumers, test the scope of the market.

How to listen to get to the real root-cause issues

Nancy Kline, More Time to Think

Do you believe men and women are having different experiences of our firm?

And what else don't I know? Listen for 10 mins

And what else? Listen for 10 mins

Consider the strategic level, and plan of approach.


Consider the evidence on performance, under-investment statistics, and reasons for the under-investment. 


Consider the implications now and for 5 years time, of not having an approach to the opportunity. 


Consider the right plan of approach for your firm. Small steps, to build to an overall plan, or concerted strategic goal.

Consider where value-based assumptions are the rational for your evaluation criteria.

Consider whether the value assumptions are current

or reflect reality. 

What leadership values connect with you as traits to deliver growth?

Consider who is an 'entrepreneur'

Interrogate the qualities on your criteria,

either written or accepted.

Do you value externally-orientated, purpose-driven, growth focused,

customer and employee centric, innovative, resilient,

 collaborative leadership?

Assertive, stature, confident, shareholder focused, results-driven?

Use diversity of thought processes: put out the thoughts and facts, gather options, then debate options (most influential speak last), explain your options,

encourage challenge to options, be transparent on the outcome.

Perception of higher risk in deviating from past experience

Over-fishing in the same pool of businesses

Consider perception of risk

versus reality of risk

Evidence of financial performance

Risk perception via gender myths

'Our image of an entrepreneur desperately needs an update--here's how we change it'

Food for thought

  • LinkedIn - White Circle

Quick updates, focused on what inclusion means for investors, founders and advisors

Consider who are an 'entrepreneurial' team

Recognise the values and strengths of a diverse founder team.

Build a diverse culture and mindset

An environment with diversity of thought, has the

highest performing teams, innovation and decision making.

Simple, insightful, metrics.

A quick measure of key metrics

Help tell where you are and what may be happening.

Widen access to your networks

Networks not only offer access to those with capital to invest, the network ties act as referral recommendations.

Commit to a balanced invite list to your events.

Ask your network for female and diverse referrals

Broaden where you're networking.

Talk to the person who doesn't look like you.

3 cups


1½ cups


Draw more business founders to you

Broaden your external relatability

Web image

Open investment criteria.

Give specific feedback.

Inclusive venue and dress code.

Balanced invite list.

Seek out balanced events.

Consider speaker diversity.

Visibility of female team members and founders. Consider broader scope for team profile and poses.

Consider how office culture, in accepted 'norms', 

influence behaviours and decisions. Recruit, retain, promote female investors.

40% of women founders ranked lack of same-gender investors as a significant issue. Illuminate Capital, survey 2018


Growth mindset phrases can help you see more resilient people, and more women.


A factor to recruit women as investors or founders, or not limit your choice of talent pool on either. Growth mindset phrases promote resilience, perseverance, "seeks challenge", recruit faster and more inclusively. Fixed mindset phrases “the best and brightest” see less applicants, are unappealing to both genders, deterring women to a higher degree. 

Research by Textio, on a database of 50 million postings to measure the statistical performance of two types of phrases. 

Growth mindset phrases promote resilience, perseverance, "seeks challenge", and can help you see more resilient people, and more women.

A quick scan on perceptions, can guide where to focus change on.

Ask, and listen, to a select group from your stakeholders, founders,

team members (current & former), investors and advisors. 

Behavioural science & optimising decisions
Behavioural science on how the brain processes information, offers insights that can improve objectivity, and enhance optimal decision-making. 

Businesses with all-male teams were 4x more likely to receive funds than teams that included even one woman

Attractive men receive more funds than less attractive men.

Inclusive thinking in processes


Active process changes, at key decision points are proven to raise our level of objectivity.

Reliance on intuition is particularly prevalent where both the level of complexity, and unknowns, are high. 

Within 'intuition' are high levels of cognitive bias, pattern matching, affiliation and anchoring bias. 

They have significant impact at the early assessment stage, where the founders are the crucial unknown element. 


Consider options, to raise the level of objectivity, within the evaluation process surrounding founders. 


Options include: 

the inclusion of written evaluations against a criteria, a criteria that has been challenged and discussed.

Observe your process
Through observation over a number of pitches and pre/post-pitch reviews, see with an external eye, and numerically counted, a view on what is happening. Specifically on gender bias and diversity of thought.
See the dynamics that are hard to see on an individual case by case basis.

Innovate the evaluation process

Re-work the pitch format?


Gender blind pitch decks, or 'ditch the pitch'. 


We can do the leg work to bring in relevant research, connections and collaborators to support your project.

Case studies


Read the British Business Bank / BVCA / Diversity VC report, for some great case studies.


Inclusive thinking for smarter investments

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