A London-based VC investment fund 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 4% of over 4,000 pitch decks submitted over the last four years have been from companies with female founders.
Fuel Ventures is trialling the initiative after recognising the lack of diversity in founders and entrepreneurs pitching for investment over the last four years, and will report the results of the trial after those three months.
The initiative comes after founder Mark Pearson stated that investment equality between male and female founders would not be reached ‘until 2040 at least’.
To date, just 4% of pitch decks received by Fuel Ventures, since it launched in 2014, have had a female founder, and just 13% include a female as part of the founding team.
By anonymising pitch decks, Fuel aims to address any unconscious bias in its own processes, and hopes that venture capital industry will follow suit in a bid to level the playing field for the UK’s future entrepreneurial success stories.
Fuel Ventures is a venture capital firm that specialises in providing seed funding to early stage technology companies.
Mark Pearson, Fuel Ventures founder, comments: “It’s ridiculous that such a gender imbalance even exists so we’re making a stand. 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.”