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New $20m fund aims to help up to 50 women-led start-ups in four years

Apr 06, 2022

A $20-million fund has been been set up to help women-led start-up ventures.

The ArcAngels Fund II, supported by Icehouse Ventures, was New Zealand's largest fund investing exclusively in female-founded and women-led ventures, and aimed to back up to 50 female-founded start-up businesses over the next four years.

Global Women chair Theresa Gattung was a cornerstone investor in the fund, with contributions from Vend co-founder Mel Rowsell, and Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 investment company.

Gattung said she intended to keep giving her time, energy and money to backing women entrepreneurs.

"Early-stage ventures are receiving more funding than ever before and yet the amount of money going to women raising capital in this country is tiny," Gattung said.

"This needs to change, and it is really exciting to back women entrepreneurs and investor groups like ArcAngels who are growing angel investor networks to support women-led businesses. I believe New Zealand has the opportunity to stand out and make a difference on this if we all work together."

ArcAngels Fund II followed the inaugural ArcAngels fund, which raised $2.8m less than two years ago and assisted 31 start-ups led by women.

ArcAngels manager Lauren Fong said the latest fund had attracted a wider community of supporters.

"A community-driven approach is key to encouraging more women entrepreneurs into the ecosystem, and our second ArcAngels fund will be playing a more active role in growing this community," Fong said.

"Women are out there building $1 billion businesses, and there's no reason why these companies can't make their start in Aotearoa New Zealand."

While the fund was limited to backing women-led businesses, men made up about 40 percent of the fund's investors.

The fund has so far raised $5m with minimum investments in the order of $50,000.

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