Two years prior, London’s Ada Ventures embarked on an ambitious plan: in order to address the disproportion of female angel investors, 15–18% (Investing in Women Code Report, 2021), and 10% for Mixed, Arab, Asian or Black ethnicity angel investors (UK Business Angels Association and British Business Bank, 2020) in the UK, they put £50,000 each in the hands of five of its scout network and let them have at it.
Arfah Farooq, Anjel Noorbakhsh Ashman, David Fisayo, Nicole Crentsil, and Ash Phillips, each invested in at least four companies which they truly believe in, with six of these companies going on to become Ada Ventures fund investments.
Now with the launch of its second cohort, Ada Ventures is quadrupling down on this effort, welcoming 20 angel investors, all with £50,000 to invest.
"Our second cohort is one of the most diverse angel programmes in any European or UK fund,” said Ada Ventures Founding Partner Check Warner. “It is 65% female, 20% Black, 20% Asian, 15% LGBTQ+, and 10% have a disability. We will only solve the hardest problems we face with talent from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences.”
Amongst the incoming 20 is Izzy Obeng, CEO at Foundervine, a social enterprise that supports diverse tech founders, and named to Forbes’ 2022 edition of its 30 under 30 social impact list commented, “As someone with lived experience of the challenges that ethnicity, economic background, gender, and place have on entrepreneurial opportunities, I know first-hand the impact it can have when investment decisions are more objective, transparent, and fair.
Beyond the free reign to invest in companies that they truly believe in, Ada Ventures will incentivise cohort members with a profit share structure that includes 100% of the carried interest the angel investments might generate and an additional 10% of the carried interest from Ada Ventures’ fund if their angel investment is invested by the firm.
“The Ada Angels programme is a critical part of Ada Ventures' strategy to diversify the early-stage ecosystem. We want the Ada Angels programme to be an onramp for starting your own venture firm and we hope that this provides an opportunity for the angels to build their track records and develop their investment thesis,” says Warner. “Ultimately, we need more diversity at the cheque writing level and we are really pleased that this group of 20 people is drawn from so many different backgrounds and lived experiences from all over the UK.”