- London is a booming hub for startups and is now home to some of the world’s most exciting VCs.
- Business Insider has compiled a list of some of the best female VCs in London as the UK continues to boom in the fintech space.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Fintech in London is booming and VC funding has grown rapidly alongside it.
Venture capital remains a boys’ club, but the number of women in decision-making roles is slowly ticking up, particularly in the US, according to Axios data. In the UK, the picture is slightly different, with the most recent report from non-profit Diversity VC indicating that the number of women in investing roles at the UK’s 183 firms surveyed has increased by 2%.
Despite that, there is some incredible work being done by VCs based in London. Here are a few who have made smart bets in the past 12 months and are name-checked by peers and founders as great people to work with.
Here, in no particular order, are the 10 most exciting female VCs in London.
There is a reason why entrepreneurs and later stage investors cite Seedcamp as a key part of the European tech ecosystem.
Seedcamp’s pan-European accelerator brought some cohesion to startups scattered all over the continent, and was a key route for first-time founders to get further funding.
As early investors in TransferWise, Sohoni and her investing partner, Carlos Espinall, clearly have an eye for talent.
The firm has moved away from its accelerator to focus on funding, and peers working with early-stage startups feel the gap.
Seed funding means that Sohoni is on hand to help founders from the very beginning.
“There’s a lot of pressure on companies to grow quickly, and ultimately you need good due diligence and to get the right people around the table early,” she said in a recent interview with Business Insider.
Eileen Burbidge, Passion Capital
Burbidge is the founder of Passion Capital and a staple of the British tech scene.
She has invested in promising UK financial startups such as Monzo and GoCardless, but also acts as an adviser to the British government on fintech in her role as special envoy.
Not content with regular office hours, Burbidge can be seen regularly doing 5 am media appearances, and was also an independent reviewer for Google’s AI firm DeepMind.
Lixandru is one of Accel’s newer senior stars, having been promoted to partner in 2017.
She has made a number of smart bets both in enterprise and consumer software, leading the firm’s investments into UK food delivery startup Deliveroo, and Romanian robotics software company UiPath.
When asked about how best to support founders she said: “It’s our job as venture capitalists to stand out and show them how we roll up our sleeves to support them as much as we can,” in a recent interview with Business Insider.
Ophelia Brown, Blossom Capital
Ophelia Brown is something of a venture capital prodigy, rising through the ranks at Index Ventures, then becoming a general partner at early-stage investor LocalGlobe. She’s now raised her own fund, Blossom Capital, which has already made interesting bets on marketplace startup Fat Llama, AI startup Spell, and travel startup Duffel.
Brown is also the founder of ALT “Ambitious Ladies in Tech” – a mentor program that matches junior women in technology start-ups with senior functional leaders from companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Google, and Facebook.
Brown holds a BA from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD.
Carolina Brochado, SoftBank
Brochado was formerly a partner at Atomico, the European venture capital firm founded by Skype billionaire Niklas Zennstrom.
Brochado left for SoftBank in November 2018, and marks the firm’s deepening interest both in hiring experienced venture capitalists and in the European tech scene.
Brochado’s expertise lies in marketplaces and, while at Atomico, she invested in fresh food startup Farmdrop, logistics firm OnTruck, and lending marketplace Fat Llama.
One of her key relationships is with TrueLayer, the London-based Open Banking API developer and Behavox, an AI led compliance platform.
Connell has been at London-based fund Balderton Capital for just over a year having previously spent years as an investment manager, then investment banker at Goldman Sachs. She also worked as a researcher in neuroscience at Imperial College London and previously spent a number of years advising tech startups.
Connell joined Balderton last year as a principal to run the firm’s Liquidity I fund.
The $145 million Liquidity I fund specifically uses funds to help provide exit opportunities for early stage shareholders in growing companies.
Connell has a BA from Oxford University and was also a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Business School where she graduated with an MBA.
Leila Zegna, Kindred Capital
Zegna is the founder of Kindred Capital, a London-based VC fund which is changing the landscape for investing in exciting businesses. Every founder backed by Kindred becomes a co-owner of the fund in so called “equitable ventures.”
The thinking behind the move was described in a Medium post as follows: “Our bold idea was to share our fund’s profits with the founders we invested in — or give them 20% of the carry the fund would earn. This means that every founder we invest in becomes a partner in Kindred, and therefore into a partner in each other’s companies, and we can turn a partnership of four into a formidable army of partners, all rewarded for supporting and nurturing each other.”
Portfolio companies include Kalo, Portify, software sales platform Paddle, and fashion company Unmade. Zegna holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Suzanne Ashman Blair, LocalGlobe
Ashman Blair is a partner at LocalGlobe, the seed investor founded by legendary father-and-son investment duo Robin and Saul Klein.
Ashman Blair is popular with her peer investors, and has backed farming network WeFarm and security firm Tessian. Previously, Suzanne spent five years at Social Finance, an impact investing firm seeking to generate both social change and a return on capital.
Like the Kleins, Ashman Blair has strong connections to the UK’s political establishment — her father-in-law is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Alice Bentinck, Entrepreneur First
Bentinck is the co-founder of Entrepreneur First, a talent investor in London and Singapore which helps founders build companies from scratch.
EF has backing from other VCs such as Reid Hoffman, Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, Mosaic Ventures and Lakestar.
Notable exits to date include Magic Pony which was acquired by Twitter in 2016.
Bentinck has a degree in management from the University of Nottingham.
Juliette Souliman, Octopus Ventures
Souliman is a French investor at Octopus Ventures in London. She recently won the Rising Star of the Year award at the Women in Finance Awards.
She sits in the Future of Money team within Octopus Ventures which primarily focuses on fintech and insurtech.
Juliette holds a BSc in International Business Administration from Rotterdam School of Management and an MSc in Strategic Entrepreneurship from Cass Business School.
Shona Ghosh and Charlie Wood contributed to this article.