Meet 10 VCs and angels backing diverse founders in the UK

The global workplace is not as diverse as it should be, and it has to change. Unfortunately, despite the recent push for diversity in the professional world, there is still a long way to go. 

For example, studies have shown that minorities are still underrepresented in leadership positions, and women continue to earn less than their male counterparts.

There are many explanations for this continued discrepancy. Firstly, many organisations don’t value diversity as much as they should. Secondly, many who value diversity often don’t know how to promote it within their company culture effectively.

Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that more needs to be done to level the playing field for everyone. 

Diversity in VC

The lack of diversity in Venture Capital (VC) is a well-documented problem. Venture capital has long been an industry dominated by white men. However, in recent years, there have been a number of efforts to increase diversity in the field, but the problem persists.

The lack of diversity can have several negative effects. For one, it means that women and minority groups are less likely to receive business funding, perpetuating the cycle of inequality in the business world. 

Additionally, it can lead to a homogeneous culture within venture capital firms, making it difficult for people from diverse backgrounds to feel like they belong.

However there are a number of ways to address this problem, but it will require a concerted effort from those within the industry. 

One way to increase diversity is through mentorship programs, which pair experienced venture capitalists with entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.  

The VC industry needs to see more people from diverse backgrounds enter the venture capital field so that the playing field becomes leveler.

Finally, it is crucial to create funds specifically investing in women- and minority-led businesses. 

So if you’re a startup founder from an underrepresented group, VCs are now specifically looking to invest in your company. Ir is a great step forward for diversity in the Venture Capital ecosystem!

Recently, we covered, 10 tech startups with diverse founders who got funded in the UK, and now, we have listed 10 Venture capitalists and Angel Networks that are backing diverse founders in the UK. 

Ada Ventures
Image credits: Ada Ventures

Ada Ventures

Founder(s): Check Warner, Matt Penneycard

Ada Ventures was derived from the name of one of the first female computer scientists, Ada Lovelace.

Ada Ventures is an early-stage fund that supports founders with breakthrough ideas, typically with the first investment of £500k. Ada’s mission is to make venture capital accessible to the best entrepreneurial talent in the UK. It aims to have the most diverse pipeline and portfolio of any European fund. 

Ada’s Fund I has invested in 28 companies, including Huboo, Organise, MOONHUB, SideQuest, and Spill. In October, the VC closed £36 million in the first close of its second fund.

Image credits: Angel Academe

Angel Academe

Founder(s): Sarah Turner, Simon Hopkins

Angel Academe is an angel network that invests in ambitious and highly scalable technology businesses with at least one woman on the founding team. 

Angel Academe has invested in over 45 early-stage businesses in clean tech, health tech, fintech, enterprise, ed tech, etc. 

The angel network says it has raised over £100 million in investment from both angels and VCs and generated millions in revenues. 

Image credits: CGV

CGV (Community Growth Ventures)

Founder(s): NA

Community Growth Ventures (CGV) is an angel investor group that aims to invest in and support underrepresented founders in pre-seed and seed-stage startups.

The VC invests between £25k and £50k and additionally provides a range of support services, such as strategy consultancy. Some of its portfolio companies include Afrocenchix and Freyda.

Image credits: Cornerstone Partners

Cornerstone Partners

Founder(s): Edwin Appiah, Rodney Appiah, Wilfred Fianko

Cornerstone VC was born out of the black-led angel group Cornerstone Partners. The VC is on a mission to establish a firm with a diversity-led investment strategy that unlocks outperformance and delivers returns for investors. 

The network backed founders from the black community, such as ByRotation, Passionfruit, Hutch, and MoonHub. The company claims to be a real ‘grassroots’ fund, born of an ambition to back founders from underrepresented backgrounds. 

In August, the VC closed £20 million fund to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs in the UK from diverse backgrounds. 

Image credits: GOODsoil

GOODsoil

Founder(s): Charmaine Hayden

GOODsoil is an African-focused fund investing in early-stage startups (pre-seed and seed stage) that’s building high-performing solutions that impact the world for good in fields like Agritech, Fintech, Green Energy, and Access. The VC offers investments ranging from £50k – £250K and focuses mainly on underrepresented founders and teams who may not have ample capital.

Image credits: Impact X

Impact X

Founder(s): Eric Collins, Ursula Burns, Ric Lewis, Lenny Henry

Impact X Capital is a venture capital firm looking to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe. The company focuses on early-stage technology companies and investors to improve society, restore natural resources, and create future sustainable systems.

Besides funding, Impact X provides entrepreneurs access to industry experts and strategic resources to ensure that portfolio companies receive critical input to realize their visions and generate long-term investor value. 

Image credits: Kaleidoscope Investments

Kaleidoscope Investments

Founder(s): Hardeep Rai, Shane Bratby

Kaleidoscope Investments invests, supports, and empowers disabled individuals to become successful entrepreneurs. Ki can invest between £10,000 – £250,000 into the businesses it selects in exchange for an equity stake between 2.5% and 25%. Besides funding, the VC provides startups with business infrastructure and sector/skill-relevant mentors who will partner with them on their business journey. 

Image credits: Merian Ventures

Merian Ventures

Founder(s): Alexsis de Raadt St. James

Merian Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on finding, funding, and scaling women-founded and co-founded companies in the field of Cyber, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and consumer-facing technologies. The VC focuses on Seed and Series A investments in companies across the US and UK. 

Image credits: Salonica Maroon

Salonica Maroon

Founder(s): Omar Majid

Salonica Maroon specialises in social impact investing in consumer products and retail business sectors and has a £75 million fund to tackle the diversity problem. The VC will help founders from genders and cultural backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in venture-backed businesses. In addition to providing capital, Salonica Maroon offers a hands-on approach and works closely with portfolio companies by giving them strategic and financial support and assisting them operationally. 

Image credits: Simsan Ventures

Simsan Ventures

Founder(s): Sahil Chopra, Sagar Chopra

Simsan Ventures is a human-centric venture capital firm with the idea of investing in diverse teams and underrepresented founders building category-leading, innovative tech startups in Europe, South Korea, and India. The VC prioritises investments in companies with a deep tech approach or fintech solutions in the early stage, from pre-seed to Series A. Simsan Ventures aims to democratise opportunities and knowledge in entrepreneurship and innovation.

All said and done, it will take time to see real change in the composition of the venture capital industry. But as more organisations focus on increasing diversity, we can hope to see a more inclusive startup ecosystem where all types of founders have access.

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