London-based venture capital fund Ada Ventures has today announced the raise of $34m (£25.9m), which it is to invest in minority founders.
Inspired by Ada Lovelace, a pioneering computer programmer born in 1815, it cites the need for capital to be invested in more diverse firms and founders.
According to the firm, 92 dollars of every 100 invested in Europe goes to all male teams. It also suggests that 83 per cent of founder are white, and 82 per cent are university educated.
Its backers include TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and later stage investment firm Atomico, the British Business Bank and US-based VC Arlan Hamilton.
In the UK, Ada Ventures said a quarter of investment committees saw no female founders in 2017, and 72 per cent of VC funding is invested in London alone.
Its seed fund has been designed to increase the diversity of the firms receiving investment in the UK, and will include around 30 firms looking to serve a predominantly female, young, aging, or LGBT audience and parents.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “Ada Ventures is an important step in the right direction for the UK Venture Capital ecosystem, with a fund focused on democratising VC investment regardless of gender, race, background, or location.
“By backing first time fund managers and taking cornerstone positions through the Enterprise Capital Fund programme, the Bank can support funds like Ada Ventures in creating greater diversity within startup funding.”
Its founding partners Francesca Warner and Matt Penneycard both come for careers in early-stage investment, having previously worked together at Downing Ventures, Techstars and Seraphim Capital.
Warner is also the co-founder of non-profit Diversity VC, and said she has seen how structurally narrow the industry has been historically.
“This is a huge missed opportunity,” she said. “Ada Ventures is here to change that.”
The fund will also employ a network of people who can feed the fund’s pipeline. Called ‘Ada Scouts’, the network will bring on board further start-ups in their community.
“We’ve redesigned our funnel of opportunities with Ada’s scouts to give us wide exposure to founders who come from diverse backgrounds and who are solving some of the world’s most significant problems, problems that have been overlooked by the current crop of founders and VCs.”
The VC has already made seven investments to date, and has led five of these.
The portfolio includes eCommerce fulfilment firm Huboo, traffic risk monitoring tech firm Predina, and diagnostics tool Inoviv.