The Lip Gloss Gap: Angelika Burawska, SFC Capital
04/04/2023 by The Red Tree
“I would like to see more successful female entrepreneurs and businesswomen in the public space and in the media”
Angelika Burawska, COO at SFC Capital
Angelika is Chief Operating Officer, SFC Capital, the UK’s Most Active VC in the UK (PitchBook data). Angelika has been instrumental in the growth of SFC and the awards and accolades are difficult to keep up with. Their beauty and wellness portfolio includes Renude, Ingenious Beauty, FreeSoul, Fussy, Faace and Temple.
Why do you think the female fundraising gap is so stark?
It’s a combination of factors. I would like to mention three things that in my opinion make the difference:
- The pool of female entrepreneurs is much smaller than the pool of male entrepreneurs, this comes down to role models and how boys and girls are raised and educated. Naturally only a proportion of both pools are investor-ready entrepreneurs with appealing business propositions.
- Also, we see more male entrepreneurs who come back after the first business failures, females who don’t make it the first time, do not try again as quickly.
- Finally, female entrepreneurs often bootstrap for longer and don’t ask for external investment as often as their male counterparts.
What do you think needs to happen to help close the female fundraising gap?
There are already a lot of initiatives to encourage and support female entrepreneurs, such as dedicated funding or mentoring programs. This is great but has its limits. I would like to see more successful female entrepreneurs and businesswomen in the public space and in the media. This would encourage more girls to take the path of entrepreneurship and could create the right perception that owning, running and growing a business can be a successful career both for men and women.
What advice would you give to female fundraisers?
There are plenty of investors who really don’t care about your gender and just want to invest in the best business opportunity based on objective criteria, many are actually actively looking for female run companies (see the list at Invest in Women Code). Don’t be discouraged by tough questions, even those related to your gender and family plans – it’s not about you as a woman, but about the way your business will be run. If you come across investors who are clearly discriminating by gender, are patronizing or sexists, then move on to the next one, you don’t want such investor onboard anyway. Don’t see yourself as a ‘female-entrepreneur’- some sort of different class of entrepreneur – men don’t think of themselves as ‘men-entrepreneurs’, in the same way as there is no distinction between female and male pharmacists.
What is your experience of working with female founders?
Female entrepreneurs present the same qualities as male entrepreneurs, so the experience is very similar – if they decide to go for it, they present the same determination and dedication, can be equally difficult or easy to work with and make equally good and bad decisions.
The Lip Gloss Gap is a series by The Red Tree shining a light on the role that the beauty industry plays in closing the female fundraising gap. The series will feature interviews with founders and fundraisers which will be released monthly. We invite you to share your experiences as we continue the conversation.
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