DigitalWell Ventures is introducing a new investment mandate. From now on only startups with at least one female in the founding team are admitted to the accelerator program. "We simply believe that mixed gender startup teams will be more successful", says Fredrik Svensson, COB, DigitalWell Ventures AB.
The idea of women impacting startup teams in a positive way have been present in DigitalWell Ventures since the start. 4 of the 8 companies in the accelerator already make that requirement.
Now this idea has been formalized by a new investment mandate, decided by the board. The requirement is that there is at least one female member of the founding team for new companies entering the accelerator.
"Move from talk to real action"
Fredrik Svensson, COB of DigitalWell Ventures AB, declares two main reasons for focusing on gender mixed founder teams:
- Firstly, gender equality is an important part of building a strong society for the future. It is important that everybody really feels they have the same opportunities no matter race, gender or other pre-conditions to build a strong community. To make this a reality, decision makers must move from talk to real action and policy making, says Fredrik Svensson and continues:
- Secondly, we have seen through our work that mixed teams are generally better covered when it comes to building a successful start-up. This is due to mixed teams often having a better coverage of all aspects from tech/IPR to organization and business model when building their business. We simply believe that mixed gender start-up teams will be more successful.
Not lacking success
Launching the idea in an investor event last week several speakers shared success stories of supporting female founder teams. Trond Riiber Knudsen, one of Norway's most active business angels, shared that he never lost money investing in female founded companies, based on a track record of 80 (!) investments.
Despite this in Sweden 99 percent of all venture capital in the tech sector in recent years have ended up in male founded companies, shown by research by DI Digital.
Great interest for Innovation Support
Lina Svensberg, Accelerator program manager of DigitalWell Ventures, also had insights supporting female entrepreneurs. Last year she started the Innovation Support of DigitalWell Arena, helping startups in early stages. Of the plus 50 companies supported more than half are founded by women and they have been granted more than half of the funding, without even specifically looking for female founder teams.
- Healthtech is a vertical that seems to attract many skilled female entrepreneurs, and if we can help them, through our accelerator program, towards building successful and sustainable companies, it's a win for many reasons. This is also a way of stressing for all male teams the value of team diversity, says Lina Svensberg.