Sourcing Europe’s most promising Female-led Ventures!
Getting investment ready with Grow F
Twice a year, we run one of Europe’s top investment readiness programs for Female Founders – Grow F. Since the first batch in 2019, we have supported 69 women, and mixed-gendered-led companies with innovative and scalable solutions from across Europe and beyond.
Grow F is a three-month program focused on supporting founders in their fundraising journey with institutional investors. Current market dynamics greatly influence VC investments, making fundraising much more difficult right now. That is why now, it is more important than ever, to get investment ready as a founder. In the upcoming batch, we will not only address challenges and provide actionable advice for fundraising topics but also guide the participants through these uncertain times! Fundraising is a huge part of the battle, but being a great leader, and strengthening a company will also be very important in the upcoming months.
For batch #8, we received more than 210 qualified applications from women and mixed-gender-led companies from Europe and beyond! Given the current market situation mentioned above, we are thrilled to see that there are so many female entrepreneurs building startups and looking for support on their investment journeys!
Looking closely at the different channels through which female founders applied, we noticed that we received more direct referrals and recommendations. This is a result of our efforts to attract qualitative applications through our network.
Receiving so many applications and reaching such a large number of founders with Grow F would not be possible without the help of important members of the Female Founders community. We have to say a big thank you to our community partners, the VC funds we work with, our mentors, experts, angel investors, and our ambassadors! We really appreciate your support! (ps. we recently relaunched our ambassador program, if you want to get involved reach out!).
With the 210 applications for this batch, we continue to see a diverse dealflow with startups from over 40 countries operating in more than 13 industries. Even as diversification continues in Europe, the DACH region and the UK remain our strongest markets. What’s more interesting, however, is the change in business models; growth is no longer the #1 metric, and investors are now looking for first traction. We have seen a shift from B2C to B2B or B2B2C business models generally in the startup ecosystem as it allows startups to generate higher revenues and cost savings at an early stage. It is no surprise that this market trend is reflected in the applications, with a notable increase in B2B / B2B2C accounting for ⅔ of our dealflow.
Overall we must say we are very impressed with the maturity and early traction of the 210 startups who applied to this batch as well as the significant industry experience of the founding teams.
After the application deadline, we begin the selection process. The first step is a screening done by members of our own team. Together, Carina, our Head of Accelerator, and Nina, co-founder of Female Founders, make a pre-selection of all 210 applicants. In the next step, we asked a jury to evaluate the startups.
Our jury panel consists of investors with expertise and knowledge in different segments and geographical areas.
Petra Moravcova, Investment Associate 3VC, Lucrezia Lucotti, Investment Associate 360 Capital, Beth Faus, Investment Associate Notion VC, Cihat Cengiz, Senior Associate Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures, Linda Erb, Investment Associate Coparion, Gabriele Poteliunaite, Investment Manager APX
In order to align the rating, we set the following standardized criteria list following a clear scoreboard:
- business model
- market size
- degree of innovation
- KPI/traction achieved
On the basis of this evaluation, the top 40 startups are selected and invited to the interview phase.
The interview is a great opportunity for the Grow F team, and the founders who applied to get to know each other! Founders prepare a 3-minute pitch and demo so we can better understand the problem they are trying to solve and the innovative tech solution they have developed. On our side, we give applicants an insightful overview of the program and highlight the benefits and takeaways we see for them.
The interviews are set up as a dialogue where we ask the founders about the particular fundraising process and challenges. This year’s interviews were especially interesting for us as we asked the founders for their opinion on the current market situation, action plans and expectations. Insights from the founders help us to adjust the details of our program to best support the 10 participants during the 3 months.
Based on the jury ratings and the interview process, the 10 best startups are selected and invited to participate in Grow F batch #8 starting mid-October.
Think your startup could be a good fit for Grow F? Or interested to see the batch #8 cohort pitch at the Demo Day in January? Subscribe to our Newsletter to stay up to date.
Are you an investor and want to know even more about our dealflow or have any other questions? Contact us for more info.
Are you a corporate interested in how we can help you to scout for promising startups? Contact us for more info.