Female led Startups secure £2 million investment

While they are as successful as male-led businesses in raising finance, and just as likely to have the intention to grow their business, female-led businesses tend to seek significantly lower amounts of finance and are less likely to consider using equity finance, and less likely to know how to raise equity finance. That has not stopped two promising startups, which have secured investment with the support of a government fund that backs female entrepreneurs. In the UK, majority women-led SME businesses contribute approximately £75 billion to the economy.

Playmob Ltd and Wool and The Gang Ltd are together receiving over £400,000 from the Aspire Fund, backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and designed to provide equity finance to women-led small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The Aspire fund was established in 2008 with £12.5 million to co-invest alongside private investors specifically in women-led businesses. To date Aspire has co-invested £3.8 million in six companies, across the medical, communications and software sectors.

This support sits alongside private sector investments in the two ambitious firms, which totals £2.2 million.

Playmob Ltd, has secured £215,000 from the Aspire Fund. It was established by business and gaming enthusiast Jude Ower in 2007, and links virtual purchasing found in many online games to real life charitable donations through online gaming. Charities already benefiting include the WWF, War Child and Water Aid.  Playmob Ltd, established by business and gaming enthusiast Jude Ower in 2007, is revolutionising giving through online gaming by linking virtual purchasing found in many online games to real life charitable donations. This means players are able to support causes they care about during their gameplay experience, while charities benefit from an additional revenue stream when traditional donations are falling.

Charities already benefiting include the WWF, War Child and Water Aid. Playmob Ltd won the ‘Best Start Up’ at the Launch Awards in November 2012 and won ‘Social Investment of the Year’ at the British Business Angel Awards in June 2013.

Wool and The Gang has secured £200,000 from the Fund. Established in 2008 by Aurelie Popper and Jade Harwood, Wool and the Gang is an online boutique specialising in fashion knitwear. The investment will enable them to expand their business. Wool and The Gang is an online boutique specialising in fashion knitwear which gives customers the option of buying ready-to-wear items, or kits to knit their own unique versions. It was established in 2008 by Central St Martins graduates Aurelie Popper and Jade Harwood, and having proven the business model they are now looking to expand. They have brought in Lisa Rodwell, formerly of Moo.com, as Chief Executive to implement the new business strategy.

Commenting on the UK startup situation Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “There are now nearly a million businesses led by women in the UK making an important contribution to the UK economy. The Aspire Fund can encourage female entrepreneurs to consider how equity finance might work for them, and the benefits of approaching investors to secure the finance they need.

“It is important that the full range of finance options is open and accessible to everyone and that no-one is held back from starting and growing their businesses.”

Jude Ower, founder of Playmob Ltd said:”I am delighted to close our recent round and to be working with the Aspire Fund to take Playmob to the next level. By securing this investment, it enables Playmob to set-up operations in the US, an extremely important area for the business’ growth. Our primary focus will be getting games studios, publishers and charities on board as partners.

“Playmob is also expanding the technology platform to include an opportunity for brands to collaborate in giving through games.”

Lisa Rodwell, Wool and the Gang’s CEO said: “We’re incredibly excited to have backing for our quest to build a worldwide movement around sustainable fashion that’s handcrafted and made uniquely by our team of artisans around the world.”

via: The Top Cities for Female Entrepreneurs [INFOGRAPHIC]