Skip to content

Female Innovators Lab becomes the largest early-stage FinTech fund for female founders

Female Innovators Lab (FIL) the venture fund and studio run by specialist fund manager Anthemis, anchored by Barclays and backed by Aviva, has received additional investments from institutions including Visa and BMO. These mean that the fund is now the largest early-stage FinTech fund dedicated to companies founded by women.

With this latest raise, the Fund now the fund now totals $50m. This will allow FIL to invest in additional early-stage companies and continue its focus on designing, sourcing, and scaling female-founded embedded finance startups.

Launched in 2019, FIL is led by Anthemis’ global head of venture studio, Katie Palencsar. Through the venture studio and fund, Anthemis has sourced over 1,500 early-stage female-founded companies and shaped and funded portfolio companies.

For anchor investor Barclays, the collaboration has exceeded expectations. “We’ve accomplished a ton and made a difference in the market,” says Executive Sponsor Mariquit Corcoran, reflecting on the first year of FIL’s operations. “We’re looking to further our impact and bring more diversity of thought to the industry by continuing to make investments that bridge the gender funding gap.”

“We want to achieve a more level playing field. We can’t do that alone, but we want to do what we can to drive better diversity and get more female-founded businesses to market. Study after study shows that businesses with at least one female founder consistently return more revenue per dollar invested than those with all-male founders.”

Mariquit Corcoran, Group Chief Innovation Officer, Barclays

Katie Palencsar (L) Venture Studio Lead, Anthemis, with Mariquit Corcoran (R) Group Chief Innovation Officer, Barclays

Anthemis was one of the early signatories to the Investing in Women Code and is uniquely suited to lead FIL. Women account for 69% of the people across investments, 48% of portfolio company founders are women or people of colour and 58% of all employees at Anthemis are women.

Women are half of the world’s population, they control 70% of global household spending, profits are higher when they’re present in the c-suite, and the startups they build have a more rapid path to exit – but somehow, women-led companies still raised just two percent of all US venture investment last year.

Female founder businesses are a massive market opportunity, yet chronically underfunded. The Female Innovators Lab is purpose-built to seize that opportunity, helping women develop high-growth, high-impact startups at the intersection of finance, technology, and society.

Katie Palencsar, Venture Studio Lead, Anthemis