As someone who has always been passionate about protecting the environment and working in renewable energy, I never thought I would end up in the world of venture capital and entrepreneurship. But life has a funny way of taking you down unexpected paths, and my journey has led me to where I am today – as the founder of She Leads and StarBeam Capital.
My professional pathway was guided by my passion for solving complex problems, it led me to get a degree in Physics. My passion to safeguard meaningful causes led me to expand my interest to the energy sector and to finding solutions to climate change. After gaining a second degree in Renewable Energy Engineering I launched on a global journey and worked with various renewable energy technologies across both private and public sectors – an area which continues to excite me every day.
A lightbulb moment
After climbing the corporate ladder and gaining valuable experiences, I faced a setback due to health issues that made me re-evaluate my priorities. My focus shifted towards giving back. During my globetrotting years, I saw the tangible reality of inequality. From Europe to San Francisco and everywhere in between I observed first-hand that female-led startups were undervalued by investors and women had limited support compared to their male counterparts at the time. My mission was clear: increase funding opportunities available for female founders! And so, She Leads was born – a community for female entrepreneurs and investors focused on deep-tech and tech enabled startups. With time and dedication, it has grown into a global community for female entrepreneurs and investors seeking to connect women with the resources required for success in launching their own businesses.
However, I wanted to do more to not only increase the proportion of startup funding that goes to women but also to serve investors who seek to further diversify their portfolios into alternative asset classes and invest in undervalued assets. My research of education surrounding private market investing and the consensus from many industry professionals led me to sign up to Oxford Private Markets Investments Programme, as it included a mix of online sessions, debates, virtual forum discussion and self-study.
The programme offered a welcomed challenge and provided an extensive review of valuation methods and asset allocation in the private markets, as well as the funding of alternative investment vehicles through private equity, private credit, venture capital, and other specialized structures. Most importantly it also provided community; the classmates represented family offices, sovereign wealth funds, VC fund managers and private wealth advisory firms.
In fact, it was the programme community that impacted my next steps the most. It allowed me to connect with a like-minded student with a background in venture capital. We discussed the idea of building a deep-tech focused VC fund. Our combined interests and experience in science, energy, space, deep-teach and private markets were fundamental in laying out the foundations for the fund investment thesis. Finally, as a team of four co-founders, we founded StarBeam Capital VC fund. I’m also proud to say that the fund is also closing the gender diversity gap within the Venture Capital sphere, as we are a 50% female led fund.
A future full of opportunities
Realising the dream of starting the fund wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable community created by the programme at Saïd Business School and I’m grateful for the opportunities it has opened. Our funds mission is to support the energy transition as well as eliminate bias and inefficiencies in the funding process. The fund focus is on investing in next-generation deep energy tech solutions that help accelerate global efforts to achieve net zero by 2050, as we invest in companies that have the potential to address some of the world's most pressing problems.
My journey has been far from easy, but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. I am eager as ever for what lies ahead. And although I have already achieved a lot so far in my career, it feels like my journey has just begun. I hope that my story and the work that I am doing with She Leads and StarBeam Capital can inspire others to take the leap and pursue their passions.