London-based female founders join Silicon Valley trade mission

Fifteen of London’s fastest-growing female-led tech companies will head to Silicon Valley next month as part of an international trade mission organised by Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (‘SVC2UK’) and the Mayor’s International Business Programme – both run out of London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency.

The fifteen female entrepreneurs, who are leading businesses that are growing at an average of 115 per cent annually, will travel to the Valley on June 19 in a bid to learn from US founders about scaling businesses globally, drum up investment, develop new networks and identify new customers in the Bay area.

Women-led companies are growing rapidly in the UK. According to research produced by Founders4Schools, businesses led by women added over £3billion to the UK’s economy in the last 12 months.[1] The research also found that there are 871 companies in the UK, with a turnover of up to £250millon, which are led by women and are growing at a median rate of 28 per cent annually.

The three-day trade mission, which will be led by Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of London & Partners, Sherry Coutu CBE, co-Founder and Chair of SVC2UK, and Janet Coyle, Principal Advisor on Growth at London & Partners, will offer female founders the chance to connect with senior-level tech executives and meet with potential clients, investors and partners.

Leading high-growth tech companies travelling on the trade mission include property tech platform Settled which removes the need for an estate agent when selling a home, free app OLIO which connects users with their neighbours to share surplus food and tackle waste, and online network Raremark, designed to connect families affected by rare disease.

Gemma Young, CEO and Founder of Settled, said: “In strengthening connections between London and Silicon Valley, our opportunities become more and more global. We’re excited to be part of that mission; to continue to be a part of London’s wonderful tech hub and most of all; to be a part of the next generation of global businesses created in London.”

The companies will be joined on the trade mission by Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of London & Partners, who will be banging the drum for London as a leading destination for foreign investment and as Europe’s fastest-growing tech hub.

Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of London & Partners, said: “London is one of the world’s most successful tech ecosystems, and shares many strengths with Silicon Valley: Creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship. These female tech pioneers personify these qualities. I look forward to helping them maximise their investment and networking opportunities in North America, contributing to London’s economic prosperity.”

This is the third time that SVC2UK has led a female founders trade mission to Silicon Valley. Last year, entrepreneurs met with Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and author of ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead’.

Emily Forbes, Founder of Seenit, said: “The trade mission was inspiring, motivating and empowering. Not only because of the companies and entrepreneurs we met, but also because of the incredible women I got to travel with as part of the delegation.”

Launched in 2006 by Sherry Coutu, Ellen Levy and Reid Hoffman, SVC2UK is a not-for-profit programme run by London & Partners to promote stronger networks and entrepreneurship between Silicon Valley and the UK.

Janet Coyle, Principal Adviser on Growth and MD SVC2UK at London & Partners, said: “The female founders travelling with us represent some of London’s most exciting tech companies and demonstrate the diversity of the capital’s tech sector. This unique experience will showcase the best of London’s tech talent on a global stage, while providing companies with the partnerships and the support needed to scale up. I look forward to seeing what this network of female entrepreneurs will achieve in the years to come, and I hope this visit helps them along the way.”

[1] ‘Women are ‘driving force’ of UK economy’ publication, Founders4Schools, March 2017. Full report available here.