Posted on January 29, 2019 by staff

VC leads fight against investor bias


A London-based VC firm is taking the lead in getting rid of investor bias with a new initiative.

Fuel Ventures has launched a scheme to improve diversity and remove all unconscious bias from the investment process.

The company will be anonymising pitch decks in a three-month trial period after discovering that just four per cent of over 4,000 pitch decks submitted to it over the last four years have been from companies with female founders, while just 13 per cent included a female as part of the founding team.

Interested founders can submit their anonymised pitch decks here.

Founder Mark Pearson said investment equality between male and female founders would not be reached ‘until 2040 at least’.

“It’s ridiculous that such a gender imbalance even exists so we’re making a stand,” said Pearson.

“By removing unconscious bias, we hope that Fuel will buck the trend and encourage not only female founders but also level the playing field for founders from all backgrounds.
“By assessing the initial deck without any personal information attached, ideas can be judged purely on merit, and any fears founders may have about discrimination will be quashed.”

The identity of founding members will be anonymised in each instance after submission by a small team before the principals that make investment decisions view the investment decks, although previous founder success, often an important arbiter for a deciding investor, will be highlighted by sector and financial information.

By judging the initial deck without any identifying personal information attached, proposals will be assessed without bias and judged on the merit of each idea, particularly in terms of traction and scalability.

Fuel Ventures is a venture capital firm that specialises in providing seed funding to early stage technology companies. It invests in founders who have the ambition to build a global, market leading company, with the passion and ability to execute.

At present, Fuel Ventures is investing at the rate of one company a month, setting aside up to £2m per portfolio company.