Whilst evidence suggests that gender diversity in the UK PE industry is increasing, it is clear that there is still a long way to go, as discussed in our Private Equity – DE&I in Focus report.
To further the discussion, we have launched the Livingston James ‘No Diversity No Deal’ interview series. Here, Livingston James PE and VC specialist Sophie Randles catches up with Gillian Fleming, Founder and CEO of Mint Ventures, the women-led business angel investment club and network offering a fresh approach to investing by providing Social, Human and Economic (SHE) Capital for women entrepreneurs and diverse executive teams or boards.
What first attracted you to work in Private Equity (PE)/Deals community?
By working with university spinout companies supporting them to move from a research project into a company. This was my introduction to the investment world initially as a kind of game keeper of exciting opportunities that required investment.
How long have you been in your current role and what was your career path to get there?
Mint Ventures was set up in 2020 and officially launched in Dec 2021. It was carefully crafted after much research from WES and bringing together all the Directors experience of the start up and scale up ecosystem.
Prior to launching Mint, I had been working as a consultant supporting high growth companies to seek investment and also working part time for a private VC. All the time I was acutely aware that there were very few women working in this sector and even fewer making investment decisions which had an impact on women led companies getting on the first step of the investment ladder.
How does your organisation promote diversity, particularly relating to women in the PE/Deals industry?
Diversity is in our DNA and our reason for being. We are on a mission to make angel investing more accessible both for women to become and angel investors and for women led and diverse teams to apply for funding.
Discussing diversity, what has worked in your organisation and how it can be developed?
Gender inclusive diversity is proven to be more successful, and we use that as a basis for selecting the companies we invest in. We ensure that we are very open about this with all the companies we work with and as we scale plan to ensure that we have a diverse board going forwards.
What value can be created from having a diverse workforce?
As I alluded to previously, it leads to better decision making and amore balanced attitude to risk.
What advice would you give to other women interested in a career in Private Equity?
I would encourage them to apply to investment organisations that have signed up to the Investing in Women code and to work shadow to learn as much as possible. Learning about this sector can start with doing a little angel investing and getting involved with an accelerator program as an advisor with commercial expertise.
To find out more about our No Diversity, No Deal series, or for a confidential discussion about your PE and VC executive search requirements, contact [email protected]