The European Women in Venture Capital (VC) Summit will be held on the 8th and 9th of October in Berlin. This is an important event for the European entrepreneurial ecosystem, which will bring together European and Israeli senior professional women from the VC sector.
European Women in VC initiative is a group of nearly 200 senior VC women professionals from over 20 European countries, which manage funds with total assets under management of over 10 billion euros. Some of the VC funds which form part of this initiative are:
- Experior Venture Fund in Poland
- Impact First Investments from the Pitango group in Israel
- Crowberry Capital in Iceland
- SmartCap in Estonia
- Neveq in Bulgaria
- South Central Ventures in Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia
- Neulogy Ventures in Slovakia
- Red Capital Partners from Spain.
In the European Women in VC community there are also ambassadors from different countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Croatia, Ukraine, the Netherlands and, of course, Italy. In particular, I have the honor of representing Italy in this fantastic network of ambassadors for entrepreneurship and finance led by women.
Our mission is to build a strong and active Community of Senior Women VC Professionals (VC founders and Senior Partners of VC Funds) for the following reasons:
to empower women-led VC initiatives and funds;
to help women-led funds build LP relationships and fundraise;
to encourage impact investing from VCs into women-founded tech companies and to grow the under-represented female VC community from the current level of around 5% in Europe.
The founder of this Summit is Kinga Stanislawska. Kinga is Managing Partner and co-founder of Experior Venture Fund, the first female-run venture capital fund (VC) in Europe, which has invested in technology companies since its foundation in 2013.
We met her and asked her to give us some information on her experience as a venture capitalist and on this initiative.
Kinga, thank you for answering some questions to better understand the scope of your initiative and to involve women in the European VC industry. Can you tell us how the idea of founding a VC fund was born and what is its focus?
Alessandra, thank you for this opportunity to tell how Experior Venture Fund was born.
The idea of starting the fund was to take part in the opportunity of growing deep technology trends globally but with a particular focus on Central Europe, where brilliant tech talent comes from and look at expanding portfolio companies globally. This has been done successfully with portfolio companies of Experior who are growing with immense success across Europe but also across the Asian and US markets. Some of our companies have founders who are Forbes 30 under 30 in Poland and in Asia.
What are your priorities and what activities have you put in place to encourage female entrepreneurship?
My priority is to concentrate on female-led technology projects, which are very few.
Experior is supporting a number of women led and co-led tech players with admirable success. Our fund recommends senior women professionals to boards of start up companies, in cases where there are no women founders. We do all to encourage diversity which we believe adds value and promotes impact and growth.
I would like to encourage other women to play an important part in the tech / VC sector. Together with Marzena Bielecka, I started the initiative of European Women in VC with a mission
to build a strong and active community of Senior Women VC Professionals, to encourage impact investing from VCs into women-founded tech companies and to grow the under-represented female VC community from the current level of around 5% in Europe (senior managing partners of VC funds in Europe).
I am especially proud of being invited by EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas to form part of the European Innovation Council – High Level Group, where I advise on innovation and future funding in Europe along side 14 other Europeans. Our High Level Group is now strongly supporting the next wave of innovation where we see Europe at the forefront of deep tech.
Very interesting Kinga, congratulations. Can you give us some information on the investments you make, on the portfolio, on your management model?
Experior Venture Fund is a leading Polish/ CEE VC fund in Europe which invests in companies with high growth potential ever since it was funded in 2013. We have made 17 investments in ICT sector and tech enabled companies so far and already successfully exited one (as a landmark transaction in fintech where we sold a pure tech company to the largest retail bank). Not only do we support our portfolio companies financially, but also provide them with our know-how and well-developed business network, by which we mean other co-investors and business angels from Europe and USA.
At this point EVF I is fully invested with circa EUR 20M assets under management. We are currently in the fundraising process of EVF II, which will focus on CEE companies at growth and expansion stages.
Kinga, can you give us some information about the European Women in VC Summit scheduled for October 8 and 9 in Berlin?
European Women in VC summit is a community driven, an invite-only full conference day event mainly for female senior VC partners from the European and Israeli VC industry. The event will be preceded by workshops and a meeting at Google Berlin. We will gather in an informal atmosphere to discuss market trends, share knowledge and experience and to get easy access to different VC eco-systems from all around Europe. We will discuss how to strengthen women presence in the decision making processes at VC as well as financing of start-ups founded by women or serving women needs. The lack of women decision makers at VC has a knock-on effect to financing of women founded startups (very few of which receive funds).
We have launched the official website of European Women in VC Summit. We now have the top professionals from EBRD, IFC and EIF (waiting for final confirmation) on board as speakers, as well as Mojo Capital, Experior, Crowberry, Project A, Northzone and others. From the UK we have secured the support of Diversity.vc and Level20 who share the agenda. We have 15 regional / national ambassadors for the event and fantastic speakers.
For more information, consult the agenda.
We invite all women professionals from VC industry to support our mission and join us not only at Berlin Summit but also to become a member of our community. We would also like to invite the most prominent men supporting the female professional VC ecosystem to join us in Berlin Summit.
I thank Kinga for the availability and for the important initiative. We hope for an active participation from Italy. If you wish to join us in Berlin, please contact me and register at this link:
See you in Berlin!