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Blackbullion: Getting Investment Ready in 2024 – Investment Tips for Female Fintech Founders

Earlier this year, Innovate Finance identified that just 10 female-founded (or co-founded) companies completed venture deals in the first half of 2023. The figure takes female-driven fintechs to represent just 2.2 per cent of venture investment in the UK, compared to 4.9 per cent in 2022.

Vivi Friedgut, founder and CEO of Blackbullion, the free financial advice platform, analyses the steps needed to close this alarming investment gap as we go into 2024. 

Getting investment ready in 2024 – Investment tips for female fintech founders
Vivi Friedgut, founder and CEO of Blackbullion
Vivi Friedgut, founder and CEO of Blackbullion

With International Womens’ Day around the corner, brace yourself for the usual LinkedIn party of female -focused panels and corporate back-patting…

Now let’s look at the actual picture, on the ground. Recent figures from Innovate Finance, found that in the first half of 2023, just 10 female-founded (or co-founded) companies completed venture deals. More broadly, this means that female-driven fintechs represent just 2.2 per cent of venture investment in the UK. This is down 50 per cent from 2022’s 4.9 per cent – itself not a particularly comfortable figure.

With the wider macros of the market tightening and the investment cycle slowing down, what are the proactive steps female fintech founders can take to secure funding this year?

Give yourself longer than you think you’ll need

When we launched Blackbullion’s last raise in 2022, I set a very ambitious deadline. While we had a healthy runway, were on track with revenue, and had expanded our market share through an acquisition, the market was just moving slower than I hoped it would. For every positive meeting, I had three disappointing ones.

The 2024 deal environment is set to be tough. And while we’re seeing big funding announcements, this follows exhaustive due diligence and longer lead times, not to mention lower multiples. Allow yourself as long as you can so that you’re not under pressure to take ‘any money’, focusing instead on finding the right investors – and terms – for your business.

Bring it back to the numbers

In a world where Theranos is code for ‘How did that happen?’ investors want you to be forensic with your numbers and with a clear roadmap towards profit. As VCs go back to basics, I’m seeing colleagues in growth fintechs revising forecasts, auditing their headcount, and consistently running the numbers on operational costs. This isn’t about being the next unicorn rather, being able to demonstrate a sustainable path to profit.

I can’t stress this point enough. Know your numbers and you can take out the emotion in a challenging conversation, hold your own and be crystal clear on the return you’re offering.

Showcase your team

In our last raise, I was asked the same question in every investor meeting: tell me about your team.

As founders, it’s on us to develop and grow a team investors want to invest in. You need to show how you’ve invested in your people to foster a talented and engaged team. How they have grown – and will continue to grow – with the business at this next critical step. Be the founder that acknowledges your team’s part in your business – that says more about you as a leader than any number of slides will

Have a vision that’s bigger than you

With ESG the metric all businesses need to prioritise, investors want to back businesses that are grounded in the collective good. How does investing in your business support their ESG goals?

With consumer – and employee – consciousness leaning into ethical practices and sustainability more than ever, you must be able to demonstrate a wider mission – how the solution you’ve created supports that wider ESG objective. For Blackbullion, financial inclusion, and the transformative impact this has on a student’s life chances has always been a mission that we communicate at every possible touchpoint

Be the founder your company needs

Securing investment is a full-time job. One you have to do alongside your day job of growing your business, lead your team, develop new products. Think: late nights, investor dinners, Zooms across multiple time zones. You can’t perform at this level from a half-empty cup for long.

Which is why it’s essential to manage your own wellbeing too. As founders, leading raises, working to a mission, it’s hard to separate our work from the personal. So being intentional about rest, self-care -whatever that looks like for you- and sustaining your relationships is essential.

I can’t realistically get to the gym every day – nor do I want to. But I can build in a daily walk, book a weekend escape, sneak in a cheeky theatre matinee. Whatever lights you up.

The key is headspace and thought time, as well as rest. Because here’s what nobody tells you about securing investment: the work really starts when you get it.

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