Updated: Nov 14
Privilège Ventures, a Swiss-based venture capital firm, has just launched a fund dedicated solely to exploring and investing in early-stage startups led by women across Europe. Fund IV, with around EUR 20 million, is the first of its kind in Switzerland. The entrepreneurial startup ecosystem is inherently open to new ideas, perspectives and the exploration of new approaches. While funds in general are operated by opening opportunities in a spirit of openness and collaboration, seeking innovation and synergy for all generations to come however, across Europe, women often times experience gender discrimination.
This is a trend that has been happening for generations. Women lag behind in terms of funding and are excluded from those crucial networks that can make a difference when starting a startup. However, things are changing. In recent years, more women are being recognised and celebrated as founders of some of the most successful companies in Europe, more women are getting the funding they need, and more women are visible across the spectrum of the European startup ecosystem. For example, this summer, Unconventional Ventures launched a fund of 30 million euros to invest in different teams (those led by founders who identify themselves as women, POCs, immigrants and/or LGTBQ +) and the startup Code First Girls raised 5, 2 million euros to empower women who work in tech fields.
Women-led teams have a tangible advantage, as they generally promote greater diversity as a whole and achieve greater financial success. For example, according to research cited by Privilègae Ventures, for every dollar of investment raised, female-led and co-led startups generated about twice as much investment income as male-led businesses. Building on this idea and the fact that supporting women-led companies is essential to create a more inclusive and equitable future, Privilègae Ventures has launched a new fund: Fund IV.
Looking into Fund IV
This newly launched € 20 million fund will invest in female founders at an early stage. The venture capital company, authorised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), was founded on values derived from the previous experience of the founders as entrepreneurs, traders and investors. Like Privilègae Ventures across its entire portfolio, Fund IV will provide women with relentless support, experience and valuable network access on their journey to innovate and build successful businesses.
The IV Fund will be supervised by the expert founder and venture capital partner Lea von Bidder (femtech healthcare company Ava Women AG, L'inouï). The fund will seek 15-20 female-led seed and early-stage companies across Europe, with an initial entry size of around € 250,000.
“We don't just want to support women. The data shows that women in the driver's seat produce a better ROI. "
Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch
Supporting women for better businesses
The new fund builds on the knowledge and statistical evidence that women-led teams and companies are successful. They have everything they need and more to become leaders, innovators and pioneers who shape the future, but they currently don't have the money to start. Lucian Wagner, founding general partner of Privilègae Ventures: “Our investment thesis is based on strong statistical evidence that companies led by women perform better. The numbers are astounding. It is not just about being ethical and doing good: global GDP would grow by 6% if entrepreneurship rates were the same for men and women ".
The analysis was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group on investment and revenue data over a five-year period. The study also showed that startups founded and co-founded by women received less than half of the average investments made in male-led businesses, even though startups led by women generated 10% more revenue over time. This new fund is quite unique and marks a step in the right direction to create a more diverse startup ecosystem and innovation prospects for Europe.
Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch, founding partner of Privilègae Ventures: “There are very few funds in the world dedicated to supporting women founders. And despite the rapid growth of the venture capital industry, the percentage of teams led by women or gender diversity is decreasing. Combining the vast experience of the Privilègae team, the numbers that support investments in women and the enormous energy in Europe that drives young entrepreneurs, Fund IV seizes an opportunity that few venture capitalists have seen.”