In 2019 US Venture capital funding for women-led startups hit an all-time high of 2.8%; in 2020, that fell to 2.3%, signaling tiny slow steps of progress are moving backward.
This statistic that women attract 1% of VC funding in Europe drove well-known Tech Executive, Advisor, and Investor Georgie Smallwood to start Auxilia Global – a network for women entrepreneurs – at the beginning of 2021.
The Problem according to Smallwood, is: “The Investment world is made up of homogenous networks and women need to stop waiting to be let in.”
“I have many male founders send me pitch decks and when I explain that I only invest in teams with women founders/co-founders, they tell me they’ve tried really hard but haven’t been able to find one.
When people advise, mentor, connect and fund the same type of people every day they will never expand their network in a way that makes it more diverse. Auxilia believes the future needs diverse ideas. Our society must nurture innovation from a larger representation of society.”
With women making up 50% of the world’s population, this represents a significant pool of talent and investment opportunities.
Auxilia is a community that connects women with other women positioned to help. “We are at a point where more women are in a position to advise, fund, or make connections for the success of other women,” says Smallwood, believing that one’s network is the basis of success in entrepreneurship.
Smallwood started Auxulia with 4 goals:
- Stop relying on existing homogeneous networks and build our own
- Diversify investment teams
- Make it easier to access under-represented founders
- Spotlight role models: you can’t be what you can’t see
As more women reach visible positions of leadership, it creates a virtuous cycle, normalising the association of women and success for future generations. The role-model effect is already visible: countries with higher levels of women in political power also tend to have higher levels of women in business leadership.
“Together, we are the strongest tool available to lift other women up and change this statistic.”
In February 2021 Smallwood launched Auxilia to address the 4 goals via a LinkedIn group. “I know we are all living crazy busy lives and there are always other things we need to do, but what is apparent is that doing nothing is not an option. The world is changing, diverse voices need to be heard and women need to seize this momentum.”