Investment Fund Leading the Fight Against Investor Bias by Anonymising Pitch Decks

Entrepreneurs / 23rd January 2019

A London-based VC firm is anonymising pitch decks sent in over the next three months.

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.

Interested founders can submit their pitch deck to be anonymised on Fuel’s website here: https://www.fuel.ventures/contact-form

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 the venture capital industry will follow suit in a bid to level the playing field for the UK’s future entrepreneurial success stories.

The identity of founding members will will be anonymised in each instance after submission by a small team before the principals that make investment decisions view the investment decks, although previous founder success, often an important arbiter for a deciding investor, will be highlighted by sector and financial information. By judging the initial deck without any identifying personal information attached, proposals will be assessed without bias and judged on the merit of each idea, particularly in terms of traction and scalability.

Fuel Ventures is a venture capital firm that specialises in providing seed funding to early stage technology companies. It invests in founders who have the ambition to build a global, market leading company, with the passion and ability to execute. Fuel provides entrepreneurs with expertise and insights in business development, marketing and brand-building through its experience of building, scaling and exiting global companies.

At present, Fuel Ventures is investing at the rate of one company a month, setting aside up to £2m per portfolio company.

Mark Pearson, Fuel Ventures founder, said:

“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.”

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