Looking for the most promising female-led ventures in the UK and Europe — Sie Catalyst IV applications are open!
We have officially opened applications to Sie Catalyst IV, kicking off in September 2023. More than half of our last cohort closed rounds during the program, despite tough market conditions, with the remainder in the process of closing now. We can’t wait to see what our next cohort achieves!
2022 was a tough year and whilst the industry saw an average decline in venture funding of 37%, female founders saw a smaller decline of 28%, proving resilience and consistency. Female-led startups also accounted for 18.1% of the total exit value from 2022, doubling that of 2021 and we saw a 70% increase in female-founded scaleups since last year, almost triple the number in 2022.
There is no doubt that 2022 was bumpy and funding rounds were smaller than we would normally expect but we’ve seen persistence and tenacity from the Sie founder community over the last two years:
- 46 funding rounds
- £70m+ raised
- 92 cheques from Sie investor network
- 150 angel investors in Sie Syndicate, 75% are women
In a year of unfavourable stats, we’re proud to share these numbers with you as we continue to drive more capital to women!
Looking ahead, we’re excited to open the applications for our next Cohort IV today! The next Catalyst program will start in September and applications are open until Friday 28th July to apply!
We’re also delighted to be supported by Amazon AWS, British Business Bank, Marriott Harrison & SVB UK who have joined our mission to support diverse founding teams and make the UK and European tech ecosystem more fair and equal.
“The British Business Bank is committed to unlocking growth by ensuring entrepreneurs can access the finance they need regardless of where and who they are. Accelerators such as this — aimed at female founders, are an important route to achieving this aim”
David Woods | British Business Bank
“We couldn’t be more excited about working with the team at Sie for another year. Not only do they consistently find the best founders for their programmes whilst continually adding new initiatives such as the Raise Summit but they also have gone above and beyond as partners. The Sie team is always there to help at our events or speak at internal meetings and educate our team about how we can help female founders”
Richard Howard | AWS
As we open up our applications for our next cohort, we wanted to reflect on some data from our applications to date and our learnings from previous cohorts.
Sectors where we see female founders innovating
We conducted a deep-dive of our application data to date and learnt some interesting insights from the ecosystem:
We are frequently surprised by the variety of businesses being built by diverse teams. Whilst a large proportion of applications we receive are operating in Consumer sector, we have also seen an increase in companies innovating in Healthcare, FinTech and Future of Work. We’re also seeing a growing number of companies building in Sustainability, B2B SaaS and DeepTech. We are thrilled to see that women are increasingly innovating in sectors that are solving real-world problems in areas where they have first hand experience. These areas are largely overlooked yet have huge return potential and of course, marry profits with purpose.
Our sweet-spot and the stage where we can add the most value is when companies are raising their first institutional round. The majority of companies that apply to Sie programs are at pre-seed or seed stage, however, we have also supported companies in slightly later stage and continue doing so. We strongly believe that the only way to drive real change in the ecosystem is to support underrepresented founders at the earliest stages.
Nearly half of our applicants are building SaaS with the remaining building Mobile Apps, Marketplaces, Physical Products and Hardware. Some examples from our previous Cohorts include Givver, Phinxt, Re-Fresh, Mirza.
We’re still seeing a large proportion of consumer tech that have identified opportunities in underserved communities and as a result, benefitting from huge global markets. Examples from our alumni include: YourJuno, Juniver, Spoke, Seep, Jude.
- 51% Mixed Teams | 49% All Female Founded
Sie programs are open to gender-diverse founding teams as we believe that innovation is fuelled by diverse thought and unique experiences, leading to greater returns. We also strongly encourage founders from underrepresented communities to apply to our program — this is an area that we continue to monitor across our program, Syndicate and community.
Sie Catalyst program is open to companies from the UK and the rest of Europe. We are particularly keen to see more applications outside of London this year across other UK tech hubs as well as other regions in Europe. Historically 61% of our applicants are incorporated in the UK, 26% in Europe and 11% in the US.
And, where are they now?
- Average round size £1.7m
- Largest round raise: £5m
- 35 companies completed our programs
- 100 founders within Sie Founder Community including Alumni, Portfolio & exceptional founders invited to join.
- Our companies are backed by General Catalyst, LocalGlobe, Octopus Ventures, Lake Nona Fund, Norrsken, Recharge, Fin Capital, Ada Ventures, SOSV, InReach Ventures, Eka Ventures and many other known Venture Capital firms as well as incredible Angel Investors & Syndicates from our Network.
What are we looking to deliver in this year’s program?
Three programs, dozens of events and our first Sie Raise Summit has led to some really valuable learnings to implement into this year’s program.
Here are a few takeaways from the upcoming program:
- Pitch Deck, Storytelling and Financial Forecasts — What does “good” look like?
- How to choose lead investors and allocate board seats?
- How to structure your fundraise and build a strong cap table?
- What gets VCs and Angels excited?
- What are other alternative sources of capital?
- What is the difference between SAFE, ASA and equity round?
- What does the standard term sheet look like?
- How to navigate fundraising announcements?
- How to navigate unconscious bias in fundraising?
- How to handle conflicts with co-founders?
Throughout the program, founders will work closely with the Sie Team, their assigned investor-mentor and our Experts in Residence.
You can find more about our Venture Community (Mentors) and EIRs joining the next program here.
We have also created frameworks and pitching opportunities to provide better access to investor networks. You will also gain exposure to Sie Syndicate.
Our alumni share their experiences
“My understanding of how venture capitalists think and operate has drastically changed. I now have a better understanding of the criteria VCs use to evaluate potential investments and the risks and rewards associated with different stages of investment” ~ Cynthia, Co-Founder of Givver
“ I would highly recommend you to anyone. The intros have been so great, despite the challenges with fundraising and I feel so much more ready for fundraising and scaling” — Laura, Founder of Seep
“ Sie’s Team only has the founder’s best interest at heart, and that is hard to find. Sie’s network is wide reaching and we received several commitments for our funding round in 4 weeks. The team helped us make informed decisions every step on the way.” ~ Alexia & Margot, Founders of Juno
“One of the most added value I felt was to see how creative, pro-active and well connected you are! You always found a way to get to the right people” — Viktoria, Co-Founder of ReFresh Global
Our selection process starts today, as soon as we open applications. We review applications and decks on a weekly basis with our team and Experts-In-Residence.
If you are chosen to move to the next stage, we will set-up a follow-up discussion to learn more about your business and whether the program is the right fit for you.
As part of the final step, we ask our Venture Community (i.e investors involved in the program) to evaluate the shortlisted companies and help us select the final 10 to join the cohort in September.
You can expect to hear whether you’ve been successful by early August. Founders will then begin the onboarding process for their first day.
Apply to Sie Catalyst IV
Founders — Applications for our next program are open today (7/6) and will close on 28th July — Apply here!
Investors — To join our syndicate or get involved in our programs and gain first-access to Sie companies, apply here.
We’re excited to hear from you! Any questions, you can always reach-out to firstname.lastname@example.org.