Gender Smart | May 3, 2023

Anthemis scores backing from Visa and BMO for women-focused fintech fund

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 3 – Despite growing recognition of gender-based investing, the needle on how much women-led startups raise hasn’t moved in years. In fact, it decreased last year.

“When the economy tanks, discrimination feels justified,” Anthemis Group’s Ruth Foxe Blader said. “Managers double down on what they perceive as ‘safe’ and ‘boring.’ Investing in women is still perceived as high-risk.”

London and New York-based Anthemis is out with a new fund to support women entrepreneurs in fintech, which remains among venture market’s  hottest investment sectors. The Female Innovators Lab Fund invests in early-stage, women-led fintech ventures who are working to reshape finance for female consumers and business owners.

Anthemis is looking to raise $50 million. Barclays and insurance giant Aviva anchored the fund. New investors include Visa and BMO.

Gender lens

Anthemis focuses on companies integrating financial services into other core business models while applying a gender lens to sectors more geared towards women entrepreneurs and freelancers, such as e-commerce and beauty. The fund has backed startups like Swaypay, an integrated payment system for social media influencers, and Upkeep, a booking and payments platform for cosmetic treatment businesses.

Anthemis, a 13-year-old financial services investment firm, has a female co-founder, and a majority of its employees are women. Nearly half of the firm’s portfolio companies are women and/or diverse-led.