Equality of the sexes in start-ups was given a boost when successful Tech investor Kim Jackson was presented with the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in Sydney.
She predicted that future investment opportunities in heath, waste management, wellness and ageing would be looked at enthusiastically by her company – especially if they were founded or run by women.
Ms Jackson, runs Skip Capital which last year invested more than $45m in 11 start-up companies, and true to her belief in supporting women in business, six of the 11 companies were founded and are run by women.
Accepting the award at a presentation in Sydney, Ms Jackson decried the withering percentage of women representatives in technology and business generally, saying the situation had to change in a hurry for Australia to become more significant on world markets.
She said it was ‘despicable’ that last year, only two per cent of global venture capital dollars went to businesses with a woman in charge.
“We can do so much better than that,” she told the audience at the presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art that attracted a glamorous audience headed by Channel 9 personality Sylvia Jeffreys.
“(Statistics show) that there are not enough women CEOs, there are not enough women on boards, there are not enough women in technology.
“So we need more promotion of their achievements. It is really important.”
Skip Capital is a private investment company Ms Jackson started in 2017 with her multi-millionaire husband. Scott Farquhar, the co-founder of Atlassian.
The six companies founded and run by women who received support from Skip Capital are: Applied, Brighte, Canva, Work180, Making Things and MetaOptima.
Supporting female-led companies in their infancy was the start of what Ms Jackson hoped would be an on-going agreement
“I’d like to think we could keep it going that way,” she added.
Having females leading companies was an asset male led companies were coming to realise, she said.
“I have a lot of women coming to me with brilliant big ideas and I have a lot of men coming to me as well.
“(They are) either men who are a selling a product that females predominantly buy, which is often a lot of products, given how females can be the big decision maker.
“I have quite a lot of male-led companies come to me and say they would really appreciate having a female on their cap table,” she told Fairfax media.
“They realise that diversity of really important around the board table and the shareholder group.”
Ms Jackson’s future plans included expanding Skip Captain’s administrative staff from its present minimal numbers and increasing the amounts of money being made available to companies with viable futures to “tens of millions of dollars a year.”
She said investment opportunities included finding creative solutions to questions and needs in health, wellness and ageing.
“The future of waste, water food and energy with the additional population and people living longer, we believe the world needs really creative solutions to these problems and we want to be part of solving them.”
Ms Jackson is a qualified engineer who began her financial career as an investment banker at Citigroup before moving to Hastings Funds Management.
“I’m really proud that we have about half of our start-up investment in female –founded companies,” she said.
She told Fairfax that Skip Capital’s ambitions for the companies it supports are long term and not as conventional as some other investors.
She said the company was more focused on finding great founders with great ideas and helping companies already on Skip Capital’s books achieve their ambitions.
“We are extremely founder aligned because we are not a venture fund or any kind of fund that has a start date and an end date,” she said.
“What is best for the founder is almost always best for us.” Ms Jackson said the goals of a start-up company were the prerogative of its founders and that Skip Capital took a long term view of any company in which it invests.