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Diversity is good for business

Insights 02 April 2019

By Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Patient Capital

The latest report from the British Business Bank on female founders and venture capital, has some sobering findings. VC firms currently have few female decision makers: women hold just 13% of senior positions in UK investment teams. Furthermore, whilst UK VC deals in all-female founding teams have increased from seven in 2007 to 39 in 2017. This means over the past decade the increase from 2.7% to 4.4% amounts to just 0.2% growth per year.

Last year to mark International Women’s Day I wrote about my own experience of diversity, how it has influenced me and as a team leader. I discussed how I have actively set-up diverse teams as I believe it really does drive good business.

Since October, I have also become the CEO of British Patient Capital, and again have a marvellously diverse team. British Patient Capital are active proponents of increasing the spotlight in this area and are enhancing the diversity aspect of our due diligence by adopting the recently launched Institutional Limited Partner Association (ILPA), diversity template. I’m also proud that a member of the British Patient Capital team, Anu Adebajo, sits on the ILPA Diversity & Inclusion Committee which created ILPA template.

There is growing consensus that diversity is a critical success factor for high performing teams. As a leading Limited Partner (LP) in UK VC, if we aren’t actively promoting the necessity for diverse teams with the General Partners (GPs) we back, then we are failing in our mission to spread best practice and, importantly, missing out on better financial performance. The in-built caution of LPs as institutions means that changes in our focus are gradual but when they occur, they tend to be permanent. For diversity and inclusion, it’s clear such a change in focus has happened – we now need GPs to help us deliver.