“The next generation of founders and investors will look more like me”

Ahead of our April Pitch Night, Founder of Odin, the community unlocking better ways to invest as a collective, shares the “why” and how they are delivering a better investment landscape

By Mary Lin

24 April 2023

was born in Communist China. My father grew up in a rural farming village, in poverty. Two of his brothers died of hunger. My mother was from a wealthy family of landowners in the capital city at the time, but under Mao, the Party took everything from them.

When we came to England, we didn’t have very much. I remember living in a small house we shared with two or three other families, and the other kids being in awe that my parents could afford to buy me sweets. They couldn’t afford to pay for my two root canals (both before I was 20). Thank God for the NHS.

My parents sacrificed a lot. I was lucky enough to go to a private secondary school, and attend two top UK universities. I now run a venture-backed technology company that has raised millions of dollars from investors.

I often reflect on the fact that things could have turned out very differently. There are billions of people just like me who were not afforded the same opportunities.

I think we can do better.

At Odin we are on a mission to drive progress, by creating a radically better way for people to connect, collaborate and invest together.

As many of you know, our first product is basically AngelList for hot people. It lets anyone, anywhere raise money seamlessly from their network. It’s cost effective and it looks sxc af.

Why did we start with this tool?

If you want to build a future better aligned with society’s needs, you first need to look at who is allocating capital towards that future: founders and investors.

It is news to nobody that currently these people are, overwhelmingly, upper middle class straight white men.

I have no bone to pick with these guys - they are, for the most part, great in bed. But we are missing out on so much.

You see, venture capital, like all investing, is about spotting opportunity where others don’t. Being right when everyone else thinks you’re wrong.

People are more likely to build and invest in solutions to problems they have experienced or understand. If everyone allocating capital is the same, you end up with more consensus bets.

By broadening the base of founders and investors via platforms like Odin, in theory we increase the number of chances we have to strike gold.

Society is better served, and, in financial terms, LPs can make better gainz.

We believe many of the next generation of great founders and investors will look more like me.

But we think that the tools to help them succeed have been missing…until now.

We have massively lowered the barriers to entry for people to raise money and invest in Europe. How are our efforts affecting the venture capital landscape? Are we changing the way the future is going to look?

As a start, we decided to do some digging into the way men and women invest on Odin. We were very curious about what the data would say.

Here’s what we learned…

Women are >3x more likely to invest in other women

A whopping 75% of all capital invested by women-led angel syndicates on Odin’s platform was in female or mixed teams.

By comparison, only 24% of investments made by male-led syndicates were in female or mixed teams (interestingly, this is still higher than the European average in VC (13%)).

This confirms what we already know anecdotally: people build and invest in stuff that interests them. Female-focused investment clubs and emerging managers like Sie VenturesPact VCHermesa and Joanna Invests are run by women - so they are more likely to understand and be interested in the problems that female founders are solving.

Women-led and mixed founding teams represented 33% of all capital raised on Odin in 2022, vs. 13% for European venture in general.

Facilitating smaller cheque sizes (the minimum on Odin is £1,000) seems to be helping us achieve our goal of increasing participation.

Facilitating smaller cheque sizes (the minimum on Odin is £1,000) seems to be helping us achieve our goal of increasing participation.

This ratio is about double the UK average (70% of our investors are UK based, so it’s a reasonable comparable).

Women invest less on average

How does gender affect investment behaviour? Women on Odin, in general, invest less frequently and invest smaller sums.

This isn’t particularly surprising. Women earn less.

So What?

What does this data tell us? Why should we care?

I want to be clear: reaching a 50-50 gender split of investors / investments / average ticket size is not the end goal at Odin.

What we are interested in is building a system that better meets society’s needs.

Every investment you make is a financial vote on how you want the world to be. We simply want to help more people to vote, and we believe that doing this will improve things for everyone.

Tech bros love to paint big picture visions of “changing the world” and “solving humanity’s most pressing problems”.

I think we can all agree that 10-minute grocery delivery is not one of these.

And yet, in 2022, roughly the same amount of money was put into slightly faster grocery delivery as the entire Edtech vertical (based on compiled crunchbase data).

My hunch has always been that allowing more women to invest would change this.

What does our data show so far?

Women on Odin are ~4.5x more likely to invest in healthcare, ~3.2x more likely to invest in education, and also marginally more likely to invest in climate tech.

This is what excites me. It validates my belief that we are on the right path.

Risk Warning Investing in start-ups and early stage businesses involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Odin is targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. You will only be able to invest via Odin once you are registered as sufficiently sophisticated. This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.

The Short Stack

Ahead of our April Pitch Night, Founder of Odin, the community unlocking better ways to invest as a collective, shares the “why” and how they are delivering a better investment landscape.

By Mary Lin

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