capital300 is honored for Eva Arh to be named as Forbes 30 Under 30 in GSA
We strongly believe in the innovative and managerial capabilities of both women and men. Still there is a lack of female role models and support. We asked Eva as well as other amazing female investors and entrepreneurs from our network for their opinion and advice.
We are extremely proud for the privilege to work with some of the most talented female entrepreneurs and investors - and with Eva Arh we have a truly phantastic female leader on our team. However, when looking at our deal flow and the various companies who approach us, it is obvious that the playfield is still far from being even. We strongly believe that diversity is key for creating disruptive innovation and that a diverse set of minds and skills is essential to build enduring companies that are able to address and solve tough challenges.
As capital300’s one and only Eva Arh has been selected as a Forbes 30 under 30 leader we have asked Eva as well as other inspiring women in entrepreneurship, venture capital and tech to share their thoughts and insights.
Eva, under 10% of European investors are women. 3 out of 4 US venture funds have zero female investors. How can we change things?
I see things changing already. Compared to the past, quite a lot of female investors have been joining funds in the last 1-2 years, mostly in junior positions. It is important that senior colleagues support them on their way up and we will see more principals and partners in the near future. Funds actually want to hire women and ask in their networks for recommendations, that is what I have observed. On the other hand, I have heard other funds saying that they see women visiting their career page but not applying. It means that revisiting job descriptions might help as well to attract more female applicants. If we had more female founders with successful exits, of course, we would also have more female investors.
When we look at European start-ups, female founders have received only 9% of the overall venture funding in 2018. On the other hand various research sources show that female founders outperform male founders. What can we do to encourage more women to start companies?
I believe this comes down to the parents and school education a lot. For example, girls should be encouraged to explore new things, try out things and speak up. I think that is needed to see a real change in the future where women don’t think in terms of gender anymore and do not limit their career choices to what society expects from them. To support that, both women and men should be able to be equally responsible for household and childcare and society should appreciate that.
In short term, initiatives that support mentorship, knowledge sharing among peers, for example Elpha, are definitely helping. To be honest, I used to be somewhat skeptical about “women only” initiatives but after talking to female founders I changed my mind – they find valuable support there, feel comfortable raising their voice in such an environment and can openly discuss matters that they normally could not discuss with male peers. This in turn makes them feel more confident and comfortable also in male dominated environments.
Do you think more female investors would lead to more female founders?
To be honest, I am not sure. In the end, we want to invest in the best teams and opportunities. At Series A stage, while we unfortunately see very few female founders, the ones we talk to are really great and ambitious leaders that we would love to support. The issue is that there are very few female-led companies in the growth phase. I think it is more about enlarging the pipeline – encouraging women to start their own tech businesses and supporting them on their way, inspiring them to think big. I know female, and not only female, angel investors that really look for teams that have at least one female founder as well. These angel investors really make an impact.
I have heard one of our London based partner funds has more female applications for job openings than male. Do you think things are getting better?
They are, especially in more developed tech hubs like Berlin or London where there is more awareness about VC. I see a significant activity in hiring female investors and women interested in joining VC.
What made you choose this career path and what do you love about being an investor?
I started out as a CFO in an IoT software company, that is where I fell in love with technology and learned how angel investing and venture capital works. After a few years on the company side dealing with finance and business development, I was intrigued by the opportunity to team up with Peter and Roman at capital300 and support tech talent in GSA and Central Eastern Europe in building the next global champions. I saw what happened with Estonia after the success story of Skype and I am convinced that there is potential for more of those stories in the region. For me being a VC is very much about people, numbers and technology. That is what I love about being an investor - supporting and working with ambitious and smart people, being right in the middle of technology advancement. Every day is exciting.