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Panel discussion: Funding for all — unlocking diversity in spinouts

Diversity is not just about making sure more women and underrepresented minorities are on founding teams. When they do create businesses, they are typically ignored by venture capital investors who look for the same type of founders that have previously made money (creating a vicious circle). In the US, female founders raised just 2% of the VC money in 2023, and in Europe it was even less at 1.8%, according to PitchBook.

In terms of spinouts, these founders not only face this bias in fundraising but even when it comes to negotiating with tech transfer offices. Often, they sit at the negotiation table in front of a white man, as was the case for serial entrepreneur Allison Byers.

Byers has learned to fight back — she helped pass a California bill that will force any VC active in the state to disclose diversity numbers for their portfolios from 2025.

She tells us more about that work on this panel discussion, the second in our miniseries on startup teams and hosted once again by Imperial College London’s director of enterprise Simon Hepworth. Rani Saad, founding partner of Apex Black, and Jo O’Leary, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at UK Research and Innovation, also offer actionable insights for founders, universities and investors.


All Raise, an advocacy group for female and non-binary founders and funders
The USIT Guide, a template for life sciences spinouts
No Limits, a platform by UKRI to connect researchers to new opportunities
Narrative CVs, a tool by UKRI to help researchers build better resumés
Peer Exchange Platform, a collaborative take on narrative CVs by the Marie Curie Alumni Association
The key ingredients of successful spinout teams, part one of our miniseries with TenU on building startups

Get in touch

Connect with Thierry Heles on LinkedIn or via email.

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