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Notes on our "why" at Odin, and an analysis of how well we are delivering
I was born in Communist China.
My father grew up in a rural farming village, in poverty. Two of his brothers died of hunger. My mother was from a wealthy family of landowners in the capital city at the time, but under Mao, the Party took everything from them.
When we came to England, we didn’t have much. I remember living in a house with several other immigrant families, and the other kids being jealous because my parents could afford to buy me sweets (they couldn’t afford to pay for my two root canals though, thank God for the NHS).
My parents sacrificed a lot. They saved everything they made and put it towards my education. I went to 2 private, girls-only secondary schools (would not recommend) and attended a top university. I now run a venture-backed technology company that has raised millions from investors.
I often reflect on the fact that things could have turned out very differently. There are billions of people just like me who were not afforded the same opportunities.
I think we can do better.
At Odin, we are on a mission to drive progress, by fundamentally reimagining how we invest.
As many of you know, our first product is basically AngelList for hot people. It lets anyone, anywhere raise money seamlessly from their network. It’s cost effective and it looks sxc af.
Why did we start with this tool?
Our mission at Odin is to drive progress. When talking about progress, the first question you have to ask is: What is progress? And whose idea of progress are we moving towards?
Is it colonising Mars, is it nuclear fusion, is it faster grocery delivery or new models for education?
The important thing is, different people have different priorities.
If you want to build a future better aligned with society’s needs, you first need to look at who is allocating capital towards that future.
It is news to nobody that currently these people are, overwhelmingly, upper middle class straight white men.
I have no bone to pick with these guys, but we are missing out on so much.
You see, venture capital, like all investing, is about spotting opportunity where others don’t. Being right when everyone else thinks you’re wrong.
People are more likely to build and invest in solutions to problems they care about or understand. If everyone allocating capital is the same, you’ll end up with huge, underserved segments of society, and a lot of consensus bets.
By broadening the base of founders and investors via platforms like Odin, in theory we increase the number of chances we have to strike gold, and, in financial terms, LPs can make better gainz.
We believe many of the next generation of great founders and investors will look more like me.
But we think that the tools to help them succeed have been missing…until now.
We have massively lowered the barriers to entry for people to raise money and invest in Europe. How are our efforts affecting the venture capital landscape? Are we changing the way the future is going to look?
As a start, we decided to do some digging into the way men and women invest on Odin.
Here’s what we learned…
Women are >3x more likely to invest in other women
A whopping 75% of all capital invested by women-led angel syndicates on Odin’s platform was in female or mixed teams.
This confirms what we already know anecdotally: people build and invest in stuff that interests them. Female-focused investment clubs and emerging managers like Sie Ventures, Pact VC, Hermesa and Joanna Invests are run by women - so they are more likely to understand and be interested in the problems that female founders are solving.
Women-led and mixed founding teams represented 33% of all capital raised on Odin in 2022, vs. 13% for European venture in general.
Facilitating smaller cheque sizes (the minimum on Odin is £1,000) seems to be helping us achieve our goal of increasing participation.
The amount raised maps almost 1:1 to the male:female angel investor ration on Odin.
This ratio is about double the UK average (70% of our investors are UK based, so it’s a reasonable comparable).
What does this data tell us? Why should we care?
I want to be clear: reaching a 50-50 gender split of investors / investments / average ticket size is not the end goal at Odin.
What we are interested in is building a system that better meets society’s needs.
Every investment you make is a financial vote on how you want the world to be. We simply want to help more people to vote, and we believe that doing this will improve things for everyone.
Tech bros love to paint big picture visions of “changing the world” and “solving humanity’s most pressing problems”.
I think we can all agree that 10-minute grocery delivery is not one of these.
And yet, in 2022, roughly the same amount of money was put into slightly faster grocery delivery as the entire Edtech vertical (based on compiled crunchbase data).
My hunch has always been that allowing more women to invest would change this.
What does our data show so far?
Women on Odin are ~4.5x more likely to invest in healthcare, ~3.2x more likely to invest in education, and also marginally more likely to invest in climate tech.
This is what excites me. It validates my belief that we are on the right path.
We still have a lot to do; if you want to get involved, we are hiring!
Here are the infographics in higher quality if you'd like to use them.
Investing in start-ups and early stage businesses involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Odin is targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. You will only be able to invest via Odin once you are registered as sufficiently sophisticated. This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.
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