Founded in December 2021, Leia Capital is a group of 100% female business angels that invests in ambitious projects led by women entrepreneurs. What projects have they decided to support and why? Meeting with Clémence Lejeune and Louise Bousquet, two of the fund’s 14 business angels.
How was the Leia Capital adventure born?
Louise Bousquet: The idea of investing came to me about five years ago. Two years ago, I joined the supervisory board of a start-up, where everyone spoke freely about their various equity investments. That’s when I saw the gap between my male counterparts, very knowledgeable about these subjects, while on my side, I was just getting started. A click !
Clemence Lejeune: After my business school, I left for Asia, where I worked for seven years at Lazadaa pioneering e-commerce company, which was later acquired by Ali Baba. It is by exchanging on the incentive program (BSPCE) set up for management, that I was able to observe this gap between men, who were ready to place their money and invest, and my female colleagues, for whom talking about money was still taboo. On my return to France, when I decided to set up my business in the FemTech, I found that the investor contacts were mostly male. This observation made me want to get involved in supporting women entrepreneurs in particular.
How does Leia Capital make it possible to move the lines and interest women in finance?
LB: By tackling the difficulties of financing projects carried out by women. According to the barometer Sista 2022, they raise on average 4.3 times less than their male counterparts with the main investment funds. A trend that has worsened compared to 2019, when the figure stood at 2.5. Leia Capital creates two verticals: by supporting women’s entrepreneurship, our fund promotes the diversity of projects, and invites women who so wish to mobilize their savings and allocate them to a dynamic of virtuous society.
How did you put together the team around you?
CL: Mainly by word of mouth. We didn’t think we would have as much resonance within our entourage, which meant that we quickly arrived at this group of 14 women from varied and complementary backgrounds and experiences, such as Cecile GuillouCEO of Franprix, Emilie Daversinco-founder of VO2 Groupa global player in digital transformation consulting, or even Aude Vandenbroucque, legal counsel at the house of Philip Morris International.
What type(s) of projects do you invest in?
CL: We invest in projects led by women, either as founders or as co-founders and holders of 30% of the capital. We invest in ambitious projects, which bring a real value proposition to their market, and which are compatible with our ethics. E-commerce, health, education, industry and AI are some of the topics that particularly interest us and that we want to promote.
LB: This round table at 14 allowed us to create a total financial vehicle of €400,000, divided according to the projects between tickets ranging from €30,000 to €70,000. To date, we are supporting six projects, and a seventh is under discussion.
How was the selection of companies?
CL : We have received nearly 200 files in five months, which is proof of the relevance of the investment thesis of Leia Capital. We are lucky to be fully integrated into the entrepreneurial and financial ecosystem. We also receive files from the incubators with which we work, as well as from other funds of venture capitalists or of business angel mainly male, who want to have women investing alongside them and supporting our initiative.
LB: With Leia Capital, we contribute to diversifying the landscape of investors, and to embodying a form of role model necessary for the younger generation. We are well aware that our participation does not change the situation from a financial point of view, on the other hand, it provides support of another kind. Women entrepreneurs come to us for this, as much for the expertise as for the human support that we offer.
What projects have you decided to support?
LB: Debongout, the first decoration brand to mix new and flea market [voir encadré]but also Auxiliaa start-up whose artificial intelligence solution connects to the hardware security systems of airports, prisons and also the 2024 Olympics. FoodTechwe selected yumgoa project led by the pastry baker Rodolphe Landemaine and his partner Anne-Vincentwhich offers vegan and plant-based alternatives to eggs, to a BtoB network.
CL: In health, we selected the company SiView and its state-of-the-art medical device that allows any health professional to carry out an optical check-up between 5 and 7 minutes (compared to 20 usually), and in the finance sector, the neo-bank Green Got and his green finance project caught our eye.
What are your ambitions for the future?
CL: Finalize discussions with the sixth project from the world of PropTech, and continue to support our entrepreneurs. We are also thinking about setting up a second vehicle to support other projects, see you next September!
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Louise Bousquet (co-founder Leia Capital): “We are helping to diversify the investor landscape, and to embody a form of model necessary for the young generation. Women entrepreneurs come to us for this, as much for the expertise as for the ‘human support’ – Forbes France
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