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Narrative Violation: Women led startups - you can get funding

Over the past year, SeedLegals and Spice have worked together to support over 1000 fundraising startups, with a shared vision to guide, educate and advance founders as they navigate through building, launching and raising investment for their startup.


Whilst sitting at the intersection of startups, investors and accelerators, we have first hand exposure, influence, and data on ecosystem trends, and this International Women’s Day, we dive into some of our data, and discuss the facts and trends that we’ve seen, which may go against conventional wisdom…


Why we’re focused on stats and facts

This International Women’s Day, in an industry laden with bad news stories about lack of funding and diversity in tech, we’ve spotted a few contrary points around the “it’s really hard to be a women founder.”


We’re not here to diminish the difficulties women led startups face (we’re two female founders ourselves!), but instead share a few reasons to not feel totally disheartened by the cards we have stacked against us.


In case the term narrative violation is a new one to you, the TL;DR version is that it’s when a fact, story, person, etc. goes against or disproves a widely held belief. For example, it could be a 27 year old founder who went to Florida State University and was selling fax machines when she came up with an idea and transformed it into a billion dollar business without an investment (we’re looking at you Sara Blakely), when, especially at the time Spanx was founded, venture capital was considered a must for anyone wanting to massively scale a company and a going to a top-tier university critical to success.


Before we get into our facts though, here’s a hard to digest headline, there are no countries in the world with gender equality. This is from a UN report that found almost 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against females. Here’s another fact, there are only 6 countries in the world that give women equal legal work rights as men, and before you Google it, no the UK isn’t one of them (but shout out to Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden). There are a multitude of reasons why this is the case, and to digest and dissect what is happening, and why, and when and how it can get sorted is mind blowing, so for now, these facts provide us a bit of hope that we aren’t, well, totally screwed.


  1. Women are more likely to get the funding they ask for SeedLegals data shows that despite their target fundraise, women-led startups actually close nearer to their target raise than men, closing an average of £200k (£50k short of target), compared to men closing £243k (£127k less than their target). Think about what that means for their ability to execute what they planned when they pitched you.

  2. Women are just as likely (if not more likely) to close their round. Once a funding round has been opened on SeedLegals, 67% of women successfully close their round, compared to 66% of men.

  3. When they do get funded, women-led startups are more likely to be successful. For every dollar of investment raised, startups with at least one female founder produced 78 cents in revenue, compared to 31 cents generated by all-male run startups (source)

  4. Startups founded or co-founded by women perform better over time. Women led startups generate 10% more in cumulative revenue over five years: $730,000 compared with $662,000 (source)

  5. ​​Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile (source)


The opportunity International Women’s Day provides is that it puts women in tech on the agenda, and the ecosystem rallies around to support. As with the support you can find year round, take the opportunity to connect with the VCs, accelerators, mentors and other ecosystem players to get your business funded, faster.


Year round SeedLegals and Spice remain focused on supporting founders from all backgrounds to access the content and networks needed to succeed. Sign up here to find out more about Spice’s newest open-to-all programme, and here to take advantage of the huge range of SeedLegals’ events.


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