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International Women's Day illustrations

The past couple of years have been tough on businesses globally. But arguably more so for women-led companies. 

Despite global venture funding hitting an all-time high during the first half of 2021, the percentage of funding going to women-only founders the year before was just 2.3%. And more recently, female founders based in the US raised just 2% of venture capital money in 2021

It’s a tale as old as time. In fact, there has been very little change when it comes to VC investment going to women-founded companies since 2012

And in fintech, it’s even worse. In the last 10 years, women-founded fintechs have raised just 1% of total fintech investment

It goes without saying: things need to change. We asked a mix of women founders to share their funding experience and give advice to other women-led organisations out there looking to step into the world of fintech, an industry typically built without them in mind.

Alexia de Broglie and Margot de Broglie, co-founders at Your Juno

We started Your Juno during the pandemic. We had a keen interest in investing, and realised that we were having very different conversations about it with our male and female friends. We found our guy friends often had trading accounts, investments in crypto and stock picking. And most importantly were speaking about it with their friends. Whereas our women friends often had their earnings sitting in savings accounts and were less confident talking about money.

That’s when Your Juno was born. It started off as a money course via a newsletter and went viral. We raised a £250k pre-seed round to build our app, which has been dubbed ‘the Duolingo of money’ and launched on the App Store in October 2021. It’s now grown to a community of 10k users, supporting each other to financial confidence. This week we also announced a $2.2m Seed Round to continue to scale the product. It’s been a pretty crazy year so far!

Your Juno drives finance education for women and non-binary people. It’s a fantastic idea, but why does the world need it? 

77% of millennial women lack financial confidence and only 46% pass a basic financial literacy test. The impact of this lack of education and confidence is huge on real-world finances.

In almost every country in the world, women earn and own less than men. It’s estimated that women lose out on £1 million pounds across their lifetimes. 

Our lack of financial education and confidence isn’t because women are born less interested or able to understand money. It comes down to the biased financial education we’re served by the media and as children. A study by Starling bank found that 90% of finance articles targeted at men focus on investing, while 73% of finance articles targeted at women focus on spending less.

This tide is changing and the pandemic has been a big player in that. In 2015 just 27% of Nutmeg (an online investment management tool) users were women, in 2020 this jumped to 40%. The rise of FinTok has also helped to engage women and finance, 19% of Gen-Zers now use social media to learn more about money.

You’ve just received your seed funding. What was that investment experience like as under-represented fintech founders?

Raising a $2.2m seed round as 24 and 25-year-old women in a market that in 2021 gave just 2% to female-led businesses in 2021 was very interesting. Some viewed our age as damaging to our credibility and others saw our deep understanding of our target user as a superpower.

You'll notice that 70% of our investors are women, and 75% of those are women of colour. That's no coincidence, female investors tend to be more open to our pitch because they can see as both users and investors that financial technology as it stands is still built and made by men, they see the market opportunity.

We also wanted to work with primarily female investors because we want the success of Your Juno to go back into the hands of women, sticking true to our mission.

Monika Liikamaa and Denise Johansson, co-founders and co-CEOs at Enfuce 

Enfuce offers payment, open banking and sustainability services to banks, fintechs, financial operators, and merchants. By combining industry expertise, innovative technology and compliance, Enfuce delivers long-term and scalable solutions quickly and securely. 

To us, the most exciting thing about the fintech industry is the ever-evolving landscape. Neither of us are maintainers, we are builders by nature. Being part of this industry gives us the excitement of new possibilities all the time. 

What has been your experience when looking to raise money as female investors? What have you learned since your Series A round?

We’ve had great and exhausting experiences from raising money, I assume any founder would describe their experiences. We’ve heard a lot that we’re not the ‘typical’ Fintech founders the investors meet, maybe we’ve got to meet investors that others don’t get access to for first meetings? But in the end we don’t believe gender has played a role in the results. 

If we reflect back to the A round, we were more faced with questions and comments regarding combining different roles of our lives, family mum vs entrepreneur. While in the C round we had a five-year track record of what we’ve been building and I don’t think we discussed even once the same topic. So is it the VCs that have evolved over the years? Or is it the fact of track record or age? 

Either way, the discussions we faced during the Series A round is probably nothing male fintech founders ever faced.

What’s your advice to other women-founded companies out there looking to raise money?

Trust yourself. Know your product, know your numbers, be bold in your goals. This advice we give to all entrepreneurs is just as valid for men and women. But the trust yourself part we've seen is harder for female founders we’ve mentored than for male founders.

Just trust yourself.

See part one of this campaign “Founder talks: Closing the fintech gender gap” here

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