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Calypso Harland

March 8, 2024

Rise & Shine: Fundraising Tips for Female Founders in Fintech

In a tribute to International Women’s Day, yesterday’s Rise & Shine event, sponsored by Rise, created by Barclays addressed the challenges facing women in Fintech looking to fundraise and explored the practical ways we can shift the needle.
  • Moderator: Doug Mackenzie (Chief Content Officer, FF News)
  • Sophie Winwood (Co-Founder & CEO, WVC:E)
  • Ellen Logan (Principal, Augmentum Fintech)
  • Agata Nowicka (Investor & Founder, Female Foundry) 
  • Nina Mohanty (Founder, Bloom Money)
  • Lucy Mullins (Co-Founder, StepLadder) 
  • Valeria Vaharovska (Founder & CEO, FONDY) 
  • Chloe Fox-Robertson (PhD Researcher, University of Manchester) 


The room was teeming with female founders who were either looking to raise or in the midst of raising so plenty of takeaways shared by our stellar lineup of influential figures.


We kicked off with a positive announcement announcing the successful reversal of the Angel Investor income threshold increase, following intense and tireless campaigning from organisations like investHER and Startup Coalition who were a driving force, uniting the industry. Had the increase not been reversed, the knock-on impact for female entrepreneurs would’ve been dire. We are now back where we started, so plenty of work to do but at least moving forwards not backwards.


Sophie Winwood delivered an insightful overview of the complex barriers disproportionately faced by female and minority-led founders which set the scene for a passionate discussion about the common pitfalls and challenges VCs see female founders experiencing and what practical strategies could be applied when navigating the fundraising process. Thanks to our VC powerhouse combo Sophie, Ellen Logan and Agata Nowicka for such incredible insights!


Next we were joined by a dynamic trio of high-flying female founders. Nina Mohanty, Lucy Mullins and Valeria Vaharovska who shared the challenges they had personally faced on their multiple fundraising journeys, delivering sage advice to a very attentive audience many of whom were either in the middle of a raise or about to start.


The event concluded with Chloe Fox-Robertson presenting her recently published co-authored research paper on the gender inequalities within Fintech which you can read about here.

Our Experts Tips

Agata Nowicka
Agata Nowicka
Agata Nowicka is an investor, startup adviser and the founder of Female Foundry. She is also the author of the State of Gender Diversity in European Venture report.

Always stay ahead of the curve. With the fast moving development of AI, anticipating change and being able to leverage the latest technology developments, will inform your business decisions to not only streamline your existing processes and bring your costs down but also, more importantly, to drive higher customer value. Founders that know how to take advantage of the technology advancements have a huge competitive edge.

“If you are an early-stage founder innovating in Fintech, make sure you stay nimble. Test and test again your value proposition with a wide range of potential customers first. B2B sales cycles in Fintech are long and so, in order to show necessary momentum and conviction about your value proposition, you need to be tactical about how you use your time efficiently. Make sure you understand what works and what doesn’t with the specific customer profile and in the first stages, double down only on those customers that have the most standardised (and short) sales cycles. Still, velocity of growth is key to get a VC investment, even if unit economics are not there yet.

“Leverage existing tools, platforms, and data to develop your initial value proposition, but also ensure you deeply understand your core competence. This element of your business should be protected and nurtured for the long haul. It’s your unique advantage, one that should never be outsourced, as it will grant you a lasting competitive edge.

Ellen Logan - Augmentum 1
Ellen Logan
Ellen is a Principal at Augmentum Fintech, the UK’s only publicly listed Fintech venture fund which invests in European Fintech companies from Series A stage. 

“Creating and maintaining momentum in the round. Momentum is an important dynamic; it encourages investors to reach a decision in a timely manner and protects founder time. Having well structured materials prepared in advance and diaries cleared for meetings are essential starting points for any round. During a first meeting it is also a good idea to ask about the stages and team members involved in an investors decision making process, and to find out what their typical timelines for due diligence are.

“Leveraging the know-how and networks of angel investors. Angel investors who bring industry and/or start-up experience, and are passionate about your business idea, can add significant value in terms of advice and network connections. They can be an important source of support and introductions to customers and venture funds for later stage funding rounds. It can take time to find and bring angels on-board in a round, but this investment of time will often pay off for companies down the line. what risks you would be uncomfortable with and mitigate them” 

“Demonstrate an ability to set and achieve targets. Investors are looking for proof points that demonstrate a founder’s ability to deliver against the goals they set themselves. As a company matures, revenue and growth targets take centre stage, but delivering on product launches, controlling costs in line with budgets and hitting engagement targets from the early stages all help to build investor confidence.

Lucy_Stepladders (1)
Lucy Mullins
Lucy is Co-Founder Circles powered by StepLadder, a fast growing and multi-award winning company revolutionising the way people save money, and helping millions of people globally reach their financial goals.  

“Curate and build a store of relentless positivity and optimism. You’ll need energy and resilience and a hugely positive outlook to keep fundraising whilst also running your business. Surround yourself with positive and energising people – your Cheerleaders!

“Don’t get caught up in the “it’s hard as a female founder” narrative. Identify the personality traits and natural strengths you have that will help you, and also identify the gaps that will be needed for fundraising. Then work with a Coach to develop them and/ or consider finding a complementary Co-Founder (easier said than done of course!)

“Be Bold. Be Brave. And don’t be too damn Humble!

For those eager to continue the dialogue, join online at Fintech Fringe Forum where you can access resources and read top tips on support available for women in Fintech who are fundraising.


Join the next Event

The next Rise & Shine event “Fintech Fit-check: Does your Fintech really pass the readiness test?” will be on April 18 as part of UK Fintech Week. 

Please contact Calypso Harland, if you would like to be involved.