Lift Women, the country’s first female-focused crowdfunding platform, has scored investment from LaunchVic’s sidecar VC for female entrepreneurs, the Alice Anderson Fund.
The Alice Anderson Fund co-invests with other venture funds, with Lift Woman attracting the backing of two global executives from major insurance companies, including Gordon Watson, CEO of AXA Asia, as part of plans to solidify the fintech’s growth across Australia and beyond. The size of the investment was not disclosed.
Founder Irene Tsang launched Lift Woman as a CSF platform 12 months ago to connect female founders with investors as part of a broader focus on improving access to capital for women.
A recent Deloitte report, commissioned by women-focused SBE Australia, revealed that funding for female-founded businesses fell from 3.8% between 2017 and 2021 to just 0.7% in FY22.
Tsang said Lift Women is part of the solution, enabling female founders to source equity-free and debt-free capital to start their business journey.
“It also provides founders with an all-in-one platform to validate product-market fit, prove traction, grow their customer base and increase brand visibility,” she said.
“What is good for gender equality and women empowerment is good for the economy and society as well. Currently, the gender balance is way off kilter. Women are severely underrepresented in the entrepreneurial world. Only 22% of startup founders in Australia are women. In 2020 alone, over six million crowdfunding projects were created globally, but less than 30% were women’s projects. With Lift Women, I aim to change this.”
Lift Women startups currently seeking funding include Wylde, a marketplace for house plants; Suitable a guide to sexual consent for male teens using gamification; and Yilum, a range of ethically and sustainably sourced camping equipment, from Indigenous Victorians from the Taungurung Nation
LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said they were thrilled to back Lift Women through Victoria’s $10 million fund for women-led startups.
“We share Irene’s passion for closing the gender investment gap in the early-stage market and look forward to seeing the Lift Women community continue to grow,” she said.
Lead investor Gordon Watson said he was pleased to throw his support behind the fintech platform
“I have been immensely impressed by all the work Irene and her team have been doing, and excited to be able to contribute to the journey of empowering women around the world to be all they can be,” he said.
Tsang points to a McKinsey Global Institute estimates that fully incorporating women into the economy would add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025 as one of her inspirations for building Lift Women.
“The opportunity is clear. We need to invest in female entrepreneurs, not only to help one generation, but to help and offer role models for the next,” she said.