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Record 45 per cent of funding raises led by women at SETsquared Bristol

3 March 2023
The Business Magazine article image for: Record 45 per cent of funding raises led by women at SETsquared Bristol

A record 45 per cent of total funds raised by companies at tech incubator SETsquared Bristol were led by women, according to its 2022 impact results.

Women raised £15 million of the total £33 million raised by the 85 companies at the University of Bristol-led incubator.

The organisation says it is a testament to its long-term focus on inclusivity within the tech sector which includes its programmes, Enterprising Women and Breakthrough Bursary.

SETsquared Bristol’s new 2022 impact figures also showed that the healthtech and engineering sectors were particularly strong for investment, comprising 33 per cent and 36 per cent of total funding.

Examples of women funding raises included digital eye care company, OKKO, which raised £2 million VC-led investment to support the launch of its sight monitoring app.

OKKO Health co-founder and CEO, Dr Stephanie Campbell (pictured) said: “Last year was pivotal for OKKO Health. As well as raising investment, we grew our Bristol-based team to 20 people and developed the base tech for our medical AI development.

"We couldn’t have done this without our SETsquared network, one of whom was our interim CTO, and another an integral board member.”

Ferryx, a University of Bristol woman-led spinout, raised £305k seed capital, as well as being awarded an Innovate Fast Start grant.

Ferryx CEO, Dr Jenny Bailey said: "2022 was a great year for Ferryx, we received our first investment and were able to use these funds to launch our first product, Ferrocalm, a food supplement to support gut health.

"The support we have received through SETsquared Bristol has been integral to both these processes and we would not have progressed as quickly otherwise."

Other high-level SETsquared Bristol company raises included healthtech innovators Emm and FluoretiQ, metaverse tech company Condense, giving platform Neighbourly, and world-leading tech interface company, Ultraleap.

Kimberley Brook, director at SETsquared Bristol said: “It’s a testament to the entrepreneurialism and resilience of our women-led companies that they are raising more funding than ever before.

"We’re thrilled with these stats given that 83 per cent of UK VC deals are to businesses who have no women on the founding teams, but there is more to do. We will continue to work hard to drive tech investment and increase support for underrepresented founders.”

Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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