British Patient Capital CEO: venture capital needs to do more to advance women

By Daniel Lanyon on Monday 8 March 2021

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Judith Hartley, CEO of British Patient Capital, comments on VC’s role in advancing diversity for International Women’s Day.

British Patient Capital CEO: venture capital needs to do more to advance women
Image source: Judith Hartley, CEO of British Patient Capital

The venture capital industry needs to do more to advance the role of women in funding start-ups, according to Judith Hartley, CEO of British Patient Capital.

Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day, Hartley says British Patient Capital includes diversity as an integral to assessing fund managers and that it and other institutional investors have an important role to play in encouraging managers to develop diversity within their organisations. 

“Today is a reminder that when it comes to the venture capital industry, we all have a responsibility to take action to encourage diversity and help advance the role of women,” she said.

“This International Women’s Day, I’d like to shine a light on the brilliant work of various women within the UK’s venture capital industry and the outstanding contribution they have been making at all levels of society. Notwithstanding their fantastic achievements, there remains a lot more we can all do to improve gender diversity within venture capital. It’s incumbent upon all of us to make this happen,” she added.

British Patient Capital, which invests in venture capital funds on behalf of the government, has been led by Hartley since September 2020 when she stepped into the role following its former CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre becoming CEO of the British Busines Bank.

“Diverse viewpoints have a positive impact across several areas, including deal-sourcing and the quality of decision-making. We also seek to understand the policies that managers have in place to support diversity and will encourage them to develop their approach where appropriate.” 

Hartley started her career at Barclays over 30 years ago before moving to other roles such as director at the Bank of Scotland, before moving to the British Business Bank nearly six years ago.  

She also noted that three out of four of its board members are female, while more than half of its team is made up of women.

“We are immensely proud of the contribution of Kate Bingham, partner at SV Health Investors, a fund BPC is invested in, who chaired the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce until January this year and who has played a leading role in the fight against COVID. Thanks to her leadership, millions of people across the UK have now received vaccinations. Irina Haivas of Atomico, Amelia Armour of Amadeus and Kerry Baldwin of IQ Capital are just three other examples of women in leadership roles amongst our fund managers. All use their insights in healthcare and deep tech to provide capital to breakthrough technology companies.”

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