Borski Fund, the first Venture Capital fund in Europe that benefits from Visa Foundation’s vision to support inclusive access to capital for women-led small businesses, announced a new investment recently.
This investment was formalised because of the two organizations’ shared agenda of moving gender lens investing from the niche to the mainstream, and reducing the gender gap in access to capital.
The latter is a part of Visa Foundation’s Equitable Access Initiative, a five-year, $200 million strategic commitment to support gender diverse and inclusive small businesses around the world in accessing capital as they grow and become more resilient. By partnering with firms like Borski Fund, Visa Foundation aims to help remove barriers that prevent equitable access to capital for women led businesses. With the addition of Visa Foundation’s investment, Borski Fund realized a current fund size of €40M.
In today’s startup ecosystem, the investment diversity gap is real and often much larger than imagined. In 2021, women-founded ventures received a mere 2% from all VC investments, the lowest record since 2016. The statistic is not to be taken lightly, paired with the fact that investments made toward women founded ventures are found to generate a higher turnover. For example, a study by Boston Consulting Group revealed that for every dollar of investment raised, women-run startups generated 151% more in revenue than their male-run counterparts.
Moreover, the systemic contributors to the gender gap in access to capital emanate from both sides of the investment table, as venture capital remains a field highly dominated by men. In 2022, IDC European Women in VC reported that the gender gap in European Venture Capital remains significant, with women making up only about 15% of general partners at VC firms. “Men generally invest in men, and male investors dominate the industry. If more women were involved in the investment decisions of banks and large investment funds, more capital would flow into ventures guided or inspired by women”, says Laura Rooseboom, Founder and Managing Partner at Borski Fund. Women investors currently make up 77% of Borski’s Fund.
“Visa Foundation is proud to support the Borski Fund and its work to invest in and empower women founders, helping to construct a more equitable and sustainable financial ecosystem in which access to capital is ubiquitous for women and gender diverse small businesses,” said Najada Kumbuli, Head of Investments, Visa Foundation. “We were impressed by the team’s track record in investing in innovative, high growth and high impact women led businesses, while creating and fostering a thriving diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe.”
Founded by two women, Simone Brummelhuis and Laura Rooseboom in October 2019, Borski Fund invests in gender diverse teams and believes that success has no gender. In alignment with Visa Foundation’s vision, Borski Fund’s investment thesis imposes a triple effect on the contemporary start-up ecosystem, promoting inclusive innovation, inclusive economic growth and empowering female leadership.
First, the investments are made by a team that is dominantly female. Second, investing in women founders reduces the investment diversity gap, contributing to the larger vision of making private equity capital a more equitable playing field. All companies in Borski’s portfolio are founded or co-founded by ambitious, leading-edge female tech entrepreneurs, many with a data and AI driven approach towards innovation. Third, women-founded start-ups create more products and services for women. By investing in start-ups in femtech and the advocation of sustainability, Borski enables important innovations to flow into the market, creating positive spillovers on the women that the products are designed for.
“Ultimately, all companies should be led and operated by a diverse team”, Simone Brummelhuis, Founder, Managing Partner, and Fund Director at Boski Fund, states. “Research shows that diverse teams create an environment for inclusive innovation and no tunnel-vision in decision making and business policy”, she continues. “Before this vision, we must facilitate a feminization of the workplace and of positions of leadership. From the board of directors of large multinationals, to bank managers granting access to credit, and to female VC’s, women are needed to project equality and diversity in access to power.”
The partnership manifests the shared vision of Borski Fund and Visa Foundation in empowering women founders. Together, the organisations look to create a world where the control of capital, the access to capital, as well as the benefits of that capital, are increasingly in the hands of women who envision the future.
With an initial commitment of €21M, and current fund size of €40M through multiple closings, Borski Fund continues to ease the access of inclusive and gender diverse start-ups to capital.
The fund is named after Johanna Borski, the first Dutch female investor in the 19th century, a world dominated by male investors. Two centuries later, Borski Fund aspires to continue the virtuous legacy of Johanna Borski. Together with its key partners TheNextWomen, StartGreen Capital, and the #FundRight initiative, the fund continues to provide driven entrepreneurs the key to a vast world of growth opportunities and success stories.
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