By Florence Robson
he Seed to Series A transition is an important step in building a scalable, long-term business – but it’s not without its challenges. According to Dealroom, on average only 19% of European startups reach Series A within three years of raising their seed round. That number drops even further for women-led startups; in 2020, only 2.3% of funding went to companies with women at the helm, Crunchbase figures show, with the figures falling again at Series A.
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If your 2022 target is to propel your business to the next level, our new event series is for you. Via the Seed to Series A Club, we’ll be bringing you monthly investment insights to help you stay on track with your goals and support you to scale.
From proving product market fit to getting a strong core team in place, we’ll be talking to experts from some of Europe’s top VCs about putting together a watertight Series A fundraising strategy.
Read on for a glance at our line-up for the coming months. Start prepping those questions…
Gemma Bloemen is Investment Principal at Creandum, focusing on supporting companies in the UK and Europe to move from Seed to Series A – so who better to kick off our series? The Creandum team knows a thing or two about spotting and nurturing potential, having backed the likes of Spotify, Trade Republic, Depop and Tide.
Previously Gemma was the COO at Elder, a tech-enabled marketplace for home care, and was the Senior Manager of Special Projects at Uber, co-chairing “Women of Uber” during its turbulent year in 2017.
As an active early-stage advisor and angel investor, she has worked with businesses focused on marketplaces, health-tech, agtech and sustainability. Her investments and advisory roles span from sustainability solutions like The Shellworks (a sustainable plastic alternative) to women-led healthtech like Fertility Circle (information and community around fertility).
Ask her about: scaling an operationally complex business
Megumi Ikeda is the Managing Director of Hearst Ventures and the General Manager of Hearst Ventures Europe, where she oversees investments and non-organic acquisitions across Europe.
Hearst Ventures is the global venture capital division of media conglomerate Hearst and is one of the most active and successful corporate venture funds, with more than $1 billion invested to date.
Under Megumi’s leadership, Hearst Ventures invests in innovative companies across media, business information, and technology. Its portfolio includes household names like Buzzfeed, as well as B2B platforms like Signal AI.
Before joining Hearst Ventures, Megumi ran the European arm of the Peacock Equity Fund, GE Capital and NBCUniversal’s $250 million venture fund. She is experienced at spotting and analysing tech trends, having started her career in Tokyo as a reporter for Dow Jones, covering the start of the first dot.com bubble.
Ask her about: the new technology getting investors excited
Sasha Astafyeva is a Partner at Atomico, where she leads on new investment opportunities in the consumer space. Atomico believes entrepreneurs are the ultimate agents of positive change across every aspect of our society and the economy, seeking out ambitious founders creating companies that fundamentally shift the way we live.
Originally from Ukraine, Sasha left home at just 15 to study in Hawaii and is now a self-described “globe-trotter”, speaking five languages.
Sasha cut her teeth as an operator in startups in the UK and Brazil, heading up business intelligence at a number of online marketplaces, including Lyst, Dafiti and VivaReal. Before joining Atomico, she spent three years leading investments at Felix Capital and joined the boards of jewellery brand Mejuri, analytics platform Adverity and fashion software company Unmade.
Sasha is passionate about supporting mission-driven founders to build resilience, strengthen leadership skills and nail team chemistry.
Ask her about: hiring your first team members
Lucile Cornet is a Partner at Eight Roads Ventures (a global VC firm that supports entrepreneurs in scaling up) where she focuses on software and next-gen financial services businesses. Lucile is the firm’s first female partner, having risen from associate to partner in only five years. She is passionate about the European startup community, believing it will be the birthplace of the next generation of global leaders.
During her time at Eight Roads, Lucile has led investments into the likes of Spendesk, a French spend management platform; Thinksurance, a German B2B insurtech; and Compte-Nickel, one of the first European neobanks that was successfully acquired by BNP Paribas in 2017.
Born in France, Lucile’s career includes a stint in investment banking at Summit Partners, and she was a “rising star” at the GP Bullhound Investor of the Year Awards 2020.
Ask her about: scaling a startup out of Europe
Rebecca Hunt is a seed and early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, one of Europe’s largest and most active venture capital investors. The firm invests across health, fintech, deep tech, consumer and B2B software, backing the likes of Zoopla Property Group, Secret Escapes, Depop and Cazoo.
Focusing on consumer-facing companies, and particularly passionate about fintech, fashtech and blockchain, Rebecca has experience of working with early-stage businesses across a range of sectors. She has led investments into, and served on the boards of, the likes of blockchain analysis platform, Elliptic; online fashion marketplace, Trouva; and online marketplace for retail space, AppearHere, amongst others.
Prior to joining Octopus, Rebecca spent five years working in the Corporate Finance department at Deloitte, and is a qualified chartered accountant.
Ask her about: what it takes to grow a really strong consumer business
From the likes of Creandum, Atomico and Octopus Ventures, these women will be sharing their investment expertise via our new Seed to Series A event series.
By Florence Robson
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