Business incubator leading the way in backing female entrepreneurs

Okko Health

A record 45 per cent of total funds raised by SETSquared companies were led by women in 2022.

Women raised £15m of the total £33m raised by 85 of the companies working with the incubator.

New 2022 impact figures also showed that the healthtech and engineering sectors were particularly strong for investment, comprising 33 per cent and 36 per cent of total funding.

Examples of women funding raises included digital eye care company, OKKO Health, which raised £2m VC-led investment to support the launch of its sight monitoring app.

OKKO Health co-founder and chief executive, Dr Stephanie Campbell said: “Last year was pivotal for OKKO Health.

“As well as raising investment, we grew our Bristol-based team to 20 people and developed the base tech for our medical AI development. We couldn’t have done this without our SETsquared network, one of whom was our interim CTO, and another an integral board member.”

Ferryx, a University of Bristol woman-led spinout, raised £305,000 seed capital, as well as being awarded an Innovate Fast Start grant.

Jenny Bailey

Ferryx chief executive, Dr Jenny Bailey said: “2022 was a great year for Ferryx, we received our first investment and were able to use these funds to launch our first product, Ferrocalm, a food supplement to support gut health.

“The support we have received through SETsquared Bristol has been integral to both these processes and we would not have progressed as quickly otherwise.”

Other high-level SETsquared Bristol company raises included healthtech innovators Emm and FluoretiQ, metaverse tech company Condense, giving platform Neighbourly, and world-leading tech interface company, Ultraleap.

Kimberley Brook, director at SETsquared Bristol said: “It’s a testament to the entrepreneurialism and resilience of our women-led companies that they are raising more funding than ever before.

“We’re thrilled with these stats given that 83% of UK VC deals are to businesses who have no women on the founding teams, but there is more to do. We will continue to work hard to drive tech investment and increase support for underrepresented founders.”


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