Female Entrepreneurs and Funding

Based on one of our Bookshelf entries a while back alongside interesting conversations as well as some additional reading, we found ourselves discussing why funding seem to be difficult for female entrepreneurs to come by. There isn’t a shortage of accomplished female entrepreneurs and yet they are over 60% less likely to receive funding for their ventures. This gender bias within the entrepreneurial process should be taken seriously and potential measures discussed as to how it might be addressed.

Research from London’s Business School argues that the problem is most prominent when orientation choices are made at the moment of funding as well as at the funding seeking stage. Approaching the process from a pipeline perspective, the research implies that by looking at entrepreneurship from this angle it allows for any gender gaps to emerge more distinctly. In essence, where in the process could potential disadvantages to women be detected?

Embracing the pipeline approach to entrepreneurship as well as applying our own experience when it comes to engaging with female entrepreneurs, it is most definitely possible to detect the previously mentioned gender gaps during different stages. For instance, when working with start-ups a substantial part of the interaction involves listening to pitches and assist in making the delivery spot-on and relevant for the target audience. Here it at times becomes obvious that although said start-ups may have female CEOs or female team members, they are less likely to make the presentations.

As the article above questions as well, does this then perhaps mean that the female team members are less ambitious? No, not at all. However, the choice not to take centre stage remains and we have been unsuccessful in determining why. It is no secret that the cleantech field alongside its investor community are mostly represented by men. Although things seem to be changing and more conscious efforts into engaging with gender equal teams are being made both on the investor side as well as within the field in general, discrepancies in terms of gender equality remains.

The reading above left us with some interesting conclusions to ponder upon. First, women are less likely to start new ventures in general and even if they do they represent a significantly lower number than their male counterparts. Second, only a small portion of this group achieved high equity growth. What of potential solutions then? Well, the change needs to be structural as well as behavioural. I.e. the issue needs to be highlighted, a conversation started and most importantly a new behavioural pattern created. Here we should all shoulder the responsibility and opt for these changes as quickly as possible.

It’s game time! 
- Why we all need to gear up and read the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap 

The world is in trouble. This much we all know. We also know that we as human beings shoulder a pretty big part of the blame. Forecasts are grim and although there is a consensus among decision makers across the globe that actions need to be taken, the current political climate might not allow that to happen.

The Exponential Climate Action Roadmap is a 100 plus page report put together by key actors in the field concerned with the future of our planet. Taking its cue from the Paris Agreement it aims to shed light on what is actually possible and more importantly what we must do in order to save our planet. Although some might argue that we have come a long way towards settling on Mars, perhaps we should be focusing on the issue at hand in our own backyard before we plot to go squatting at our neighbours.  

The report argues that in order for us to reduce the impact of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020, halve by 2030 and then halve again by 2040. It leads us to believe that saving the planet is completely possible, both from a technological point of view but also from an economical one. The problem is the incentive to do so. One would think that merely saving the planet and therefore the future of mankind would offer that incentive, but it doesn’t. This is more than evident by listening to leaders of nations around the world. If they are not busy denying the mere existence of climate change they are off elsewhere discussing new ways of scaling current harmful industrial production patterns. So, is there any hope? Well, the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap argues that there is. Aside from providing compelling arguments as to what the problem is, they actually offer tangible solutions as well.

What are the priorities then and how should we meet the goals of the Paris agreement according to the report? Well for one, all players need to enter the field. This will never work unless everyone pitches in and takes responsibility for their own actions. This holds true for governments as well as citizens. Another important aspect put forth by the report is the fact that we have the solutions we need to curb the problems we face, we just need to apply them and above all scale them. Here the decision makers of the world have a huge responsibility as they are the ones with the financial and structural muscles to do so. Policies needs to be written and implemented as well as financial incentives argued for. Again, the playing field is uneven, this we know. However, this should no longer be allowed to serve as a viable option for not pulling one’s weight. Not when the stakes are this high. Instead we need to opt for offence.

Just as the report argues, reducing the harmful effects of climate change is more than possible. All players simply need to set their sights on the common goal in what will be the most important game of all of our lives. More significantly, all players need to gear up and take responsibility for their own actions and assist the player next to them when they fumble.

Cleantech Forum Europe

The crystal anniversary of Cleantech Forum Europe in Stockholm this May was an inspirational event to attend. The 15th edition of the biggest European showcase of innovations that are effectively blazing a trail to transform global industries in order for there to be a more resource efficient future, set the bar high.

Located this year at the enthralling Brewery Conference Centre Stockholm, the venue served its participants well. Divided between the different room at the venue it was possible to attend intriguing innovation showcases as well as sessions covering some of the most pressing issues of the contemporary world.

It was a 2-day surge of critical information on such diverse albeit coherent topics as Exponential Roadmaps: The Big Picture Realities of What Industrial Transformations Need to be Achieved in the 2020’s, Linking the Food Chain: How to Waste Less Food with On-Demand Logistic and Approaches to Assess and Measure Impact, Changing Clothes: The Circular Fashion Economy and the Circular Water Economy: Opportunity & Innovation.

It was made clear from attending Cleantech Forum Europe that there are many challenges that lay ahead. However, it was also made clear by the talk given on the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, an outline of the global economic transformation required 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement on climate, that there indeed rare reasons to be optimistic as solutions do exist. A lengthier post on this crucial topic will be posted on our website in the coming week.

Thank you to the dedicated people working at Cleantech Group and we look forward to next year’s endeavour in Luxemburg!  

Busy times…

Busy times leaves us all wishing that the day had more than 24 hours so that we could accomplish all that we have set our minds to, however sometimes life interrupts and you find yourself writing a blogpost about an event a month after the fact.
We would still like to take this opportunity and draw some attention to the highly successful event that took place on the 28th of February 2018 at the Deutsche Technikmuseum in Berlin, curtesy of INAM (the International Network for Advanced Material) and its affiliates. The purpose of the event was to attract new members and to take stock of current members adhering their wishes for this year’s cycle of the AdMaCom (the Advanced Materials Competition hosted by INAM, find more information here).
The evening packed quite a punch in terms of content and the participants took part in everything from an inspirational tour of the museum’s aerospace exhibition to participatory table discussions where they hacked out among other things their dream start-up for the AdMaCom. During the evening we had the opportunity to listen to voices from both members and former AdMaCom attendees and everyone agreed that the outcome of last year’s cycle was a great success.
We would like to thank everyone involved and we are eager to follow this year’s efforts with great curiosity and admiration.

Where have all the Farmers Gone?

On January the 18th we were invited by our good friends at FOODnext to attend the iVenture Summit – Invest in the Future of Agriculture.

In a room filled with business suits but strangely enough not a lot of farmers (as pointed out by one of the panellists) we were guided through a range of different topics that were masterfully managed by among others Adam Anders from Anterra Capital. When discussing what the new face of agricultural innovation would look like, i.e. what the new disruptive ideas would be, the discussion included many though-provoking statement.

It is easy to detect that there has been a shift in the agricultural sphere when one is being told that the most important tool a farmer can possess today, is a smartphone. Not knowledge that has been passed down through generations or a piece of farming equipment that have been designed to relieve some of the burden of manual labour, but a smartphone. The reason for this is quite interesting and as the panel would deduct, essential to understanding how the future of agriculture will be shaped.

One of the major obstacles that still lie ahead of implementing great innovations within agriculture is the fact that farming is in essence a slow moving business. Farmers are still at the mercy of natural cycles and the different seasons will occur at their own discretion. This is troublesome as many of the innovations we see are dependent upon assembling data in order to create solutions that will optimize both yield and harvest. One of the panel discussions provided insight into this when explaining that computers rely on patterns to repeat often in order for it to make sense of information gathered, and as farming does not follow this trend the implementation of AI might be difficult. A division occurred in the panel as some still favoured attempting to bring in more AI solutions while others continued to believe that the human element cannot and should not be discarded. When opening up the floor to the audience one comment sparked a continuance of this discussion as it was asked why there still were actual people driving tractors in Germany instead of implementing more AI solutions. Why indeed?

During the afternoon the importance of family offices were discussed when focusing on the investment landscape in a segment labelled “Venture Capital meets Agriculture”. It was disclosed that no unicorn has as of yet been sighted in the agricultural sector, however it is not unreasonable to suggest that this might indeed occur within the next two years. This exciting statement came on the heel of determining that the new approach to investments might be found through social media and the consumer him/herself. All fascinating thoughts and it paved the way for introducing the presenting companies that conveyed innovations covering everything from weed-killing robots to satellites for environmental intelligence.

All in all it was an incredibly rewarding day with many interesting topics and insightful keynotes on the future of agriculture. Still, you find yourself reflecting upon the statement made as to why there were so few farmers in the audience, perhaps it is as simple as to say that they may be found on their tractors.

Thanks to AGCO and partners for a great initiative!

What lies behind the paper dress? – an evening of algae fabric and fashion consortiums

By suggestion of Germany Trade and Invest, Cordinata took part in the first of three evening events hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Berlin last week, bringing together fashion and science. This first occasion gathered a diverse crowd and the focus of the evening could be said to capture a myriad of hashtags such as #sustainablefashion, #sustainableconsumption, #ciruclareconomy and #fashionforward. More specifically, on this evening, ”all eyes were on fibre innovation”.
In a perfect blend of fashion and nature from the perspective of several initiatives such as Mistra Future Fashions, an interdisciplinary consortium bringing together 50 partners with the aim of bringing about change through circular processes, the spotlight was placed on how we as consumers can influence the industry to make better and more conscious choices in the production line. Speaking of production lines, we as an audience were also treated to a fascinating new take on how to bring organic algae’s into the very heart of what we wear by using dried algae powder when creating sustainable fibre (SeaCell). Along the same line, on the topic of “Design for Recycling” the initiative Smart Textiles disclosed a beautiful paper dress that made one really ponder the idea of wearing clothes from alternative fabrics. Finally, RISE Research Institute of Sweden, gave a very thought-provoking summary of how to create a revolution within the process of recycling both cotton and polyester.
An inspiring evening that delivered several new perspectives on the synergy between fashion and science, we look forward to delving deeper into this fascinating world!

Christmas Greetings

2017 has been an eventful year and there are still exciting things to come in the last days. Cordinata has not yet had its one-year anniversary but we still feel as though we have gotten our feet more than wet. Since being posted in Berlin we have connected with many interesting, passionate and driven entrepreneurs, industries, investors and key figures within the German ecosystem. A resolution for next year will be to learn German though..
Since our start in April this year we have ambitiously pursued our goals and we have made progress in expanding to new and exciting areas. We have dived into the Agritech sector, visited the Agritechnica fair in Hannover and the FOODnext conference. We have also worked with Advanced Materials initiative INAM to learn more about deep tech innovations and will engage further within this field.
Our CEO, Nathalie Nebelius, has become Venture Partner with Cap A, a US VC fund investing heavily in the Nordic region. This is a very exciting new challenge and learning opportunity.
We continue to further explore great initiatives with a focus on circular economy and impact investments as we find it inspiring to meet people engaged in finding innovative solutions to make life more sustainable.
We are very much looking forward to cultivating more relationships as well as staying closely tied to existing clients. As we gaze forward to 2018 we are looking to explore even more of Berlin and embrace all the new challenges that lies ahead. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients for a great experience so far and we look forward to continuing along the same lines in the year to come.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Nathalie and Madeleine

Visiting the Future of Agriculture

Last week we spent some time in lovely Hannover at the Agritechnica fair, more specifically at the exclusive FOODnext conference. It was an intriguing afternoon as we delved deeper into the realm of AgTech and Digital Farming.
A combination of interesting keynotes, panel discussions and technology pitches allowed for a rewarding mix and as it covered a wide range of topics with everything from the idea of applying Blockchain technology in agriculture to the latest information on digital cure’s against pesticide resistance.
The afternoon further entailed interesting cases by representatives from for instance Metro, an active player engaging in corporate start-up cooperation’s in order to foster new technologies and to make consumers aware of emerging innovations with in the food industry.
Other trends that were detectable was the focus on data that seemed to provide an undercurrent for the topics discussed, as in most other verticals. The leading experts of the day were providing some thoughtful insight and predictions as to what trends one should immerse oneself into in order to stay ahead of the game.
Thanks to the guys at FOODnext for bringing together such an inspirational crowd!

CEO Nathalie Nebelius appointed Venture Partner for US VC fund!

This week Cordinata is delighted to share some good news involving our CEO Nathalie Nebelius and her latest venture. Adding to an already impressive CV she is now able to also add Venture Partner to the mix. As of this month she is officially part of the Capital A Partners venture team and Nathalie is very much looking forward to this new collaboration.
Capital A Partners is a global venture capital firm actively supporting leaders of innovation between the Nordics and the US. Primarily Nathalie will be working on securing investments for Cap A’s Butterfly Venture Fund II which focuses on investments in hardware powered high growth opportunities. Further Nathalie will supply dealflow from the south of Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Exciting times ahead!

2 successful days in Dresden!

Last week we represented one of our clients at one of Europe’s leading matchmaking and funding program for international hightech companies at the HighTech Venture Days in Dresden, Germany.
It was an exciting experience and yet again the event delivered on its promise to bring together the most prominent actors within the field of hightech. Among interesting keynotes and rewarding networking we found many opportunities for potential collaborations.
The different technology sectors made for an interesting arena and the participants all brought their A-game! This is also an excellent opportunity to meet a large group of family owned German industry companies that have an interest in innovation. The event really delivered on its promise to “activate venture capital for European innovation”.
We are already looking forward to next year’s gathering!