The Lip Gloss Gap: Claire Cherry, Joyance Partners
08/03/2023 by The Red Tree
“The growth at all costs mindset has gone and investors have reverted to steady sustainable and ideally profitable growth, which should favour female founders”
Claire is an investment partner with deep experience in early-stage beauty investment. Her current role covers the consumer sector of Joyance Partners across Europe and the US with. Prior to Joyance, she ran the seed and pre-seed consumer fund at True, backing businesses across beauty, femtech, sexual wellness, mental health, and many more including market disruptors such as War Paint. With almost a decade of experience in venture, Claire is passionate about supporting female entrepreneurs breaking new ground.
Why do you think the female fundraising gap is so stark?
Fundraising for female entrepreneurs is like building a marketplace with demand side challenges, too few female capital allocators and supply challenges, too few female founders starting companies.
On the investment side, given that less than 15% of general partners in Europe are women according to Sifted research, often areas such as consumer (and particularly beauty) are overlooked as men fail to understand the market need.
On the supply side, the challenge is exacerbated with too few females seeing entrepreneurship as a viable career path, which I believe is in part an awareness challenge as females have fewer successful entrepreneurs that they can aspire to emulate.
What advice would you give to female fundraisers?
Back yourself and find your niche. With very few barriers to entry in starting a business now, scaling any business particularly in consumer, has become more difficult than ever. You need to know and wow your early adopters to drive that sustainable organic growth as a platform to fundraise.
Historically we have seen more capital go to male founders as frankly they’re more aggressive with their ambitions and what they can achieve with additional capital. However, the growth at all costs mindset has gone and investors have reverted to steady sustainable and ideally profitable growth, which should favour female founders, who are often more inclined to build in a stepwise fashion and focus more on profitability and running a sustainable business model, than their male counterparts.
What do you think needs to happen to help close the female fundraising gap?
In part I think this is an educational challenge and has to start in schools by allowing girls to better understand risk and their own tolerance to it. I believe that there is still a gender bias in moving girls towards “safer” jobs, which of course entrepreneurship is not. This also applies to the funding landscape as well. I think it’s fair to say that the fact that 49% of our investments in 2022 have an all-female founding team is in part because we have four female investment partners on our team.
It’s great to see more angel networks emerging globally to support female entrepreneurs and close this funding gap at an early stage in a business’s life as without this, founders can’t navigate to later stage sources of capital such as VCs.
What is your experience of working with female entrepreneurs?
Generally, the biggest difference we see is that we aim to surround female entrepreneurs with great mentors, coaches, guidance and advisors as they often lack these inherently in their own network.
We often find that female entrepreneurs are more open to feedback but the counter of this is that often they take business failures personally and there is some management required around more challenging business periods
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.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
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