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Expert blog – April 11, 2024

In addition to co-founding StartGreen Capital, Laura Rooseboom is co-founder and partner of Borski Fund. This fund improves access to capital for growth companies with a diverse team and a female (co-)founder. In this blog, Laura shares her insights into the investment landscape and gives tips to starting female entrepreneurs looking for venture capital.

Closing the funding gap

The Borski Fund is named after Johanna Borski, one of the first Dutch female investors. 'She is our role model, because she was a very active investor more than two hundred years ago and, among other things, co-financed the establishment of De Nederlandsche Bank,' Laura explains. 'Unfortunately, not much has changed in 200 years, as only 2 percent of investment capital still goes to growth companies owned by women and 7 percent to mixed teams. The rest of the investments will go to all-male teams.” The fund has therefore set itself the goal of closing this funding gap as quickly as possible. Laura: 'That's why Borski is the first tech and innovation fund in Europe that invests exclusively in female-led start-ups, from seed stage to scale-ups.'

Changing the investment landscape

“By investing, we not only want to reduce this financing gap, but also change the entire investment landscape,” Laura continues. 'We think that as more women build successful businesses and ultimately sell them, three important developments will take place: 1) there will be more female role models who inspire other women to start their own businesses. 2) these women are likely to invest in the new generation of female entrepreneurs; It is known that most business angels were entrepreneurs themselves. 3) Other much-needed innovations are coming to the market, such as femtech solutions. These innovations contribute positively to women's health and fill the gaps in medical care.'

Medical innovations

Unlike other funds, Borski Fund has no complaints about the range of good female starting entrepreneurs. "There is certainly no lack of interest: around 600 entrepreneurs submit an application to us every year," says Laura. 'We mainly look at tech companies with big ambitions.' It is striking that a third of the start-ups and scale-ups that register are in the medical field. Laura thinks this is because entrepreneurs often start a business to solve a problem or frustration they encounter in their work. 'I think that among doctors and other highly trained medical personnel the male-female ratio is more balanced; This leads to relatively many start-ups by women in this field. Many other technical professions still employ more men. In my opinion, this is primarily a social issue. As an investor you can't do much about that. It will help if we arrange childcare better in the Netherlands.'

Tips based on experience

What advice would Laura give to startups with female and other underrepresented founders who are currently experiencing pushback?

Tip 1: Look for investors with mixed investment teams. Female investors look at companies differently than men and recognize different problems and opportunities.

Tip 2: Prepare yourself well by speaking with other founders who have already raised money before going to investors.

Tip 3: Be aware that investors will cut your projections in half, so don't be too modest in your projections and/or about the amount of money you want to raise.

Tip 4: Fundraising is difficult for everyone, it takes a lot of time and effort, so start early when you still have enough money in the bank.

Tip 5: To reach your end goal, you must keep an eye on the road to it and not let setbacks throw you off the trail.

New fund, new opportunities

Laura is pleased that more and more attention is being paid to the themes of equality, diversity and inclusion. 'But that does not mean that the financing gap has been closed. That is why we are in the process of raising a second Borski Fund. This fund has the same goals as the first: more female investors, more female founders and more diverse tech innovations. Interested female investors and entrepreneurs are welcome at our office for an informal introduction.'

This blog previously appeared on StartupCity Magazine: How to Diminish the Funding Gap for Female Founders

Also take a look at the website of: Borski Fund

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