Sarah King is the CEO and coFounder of Obu – the fintech pioneering a new approach to angel investing. Sarah passionately believes business can be a force for good and that gender equality within entrepreneur and investment is critical in building businesses that create progressive societies.
The world we live in and experience day to day is dramatically shaped by the businesses that exist within it. These businesses shape the problems that get solved, the innovations that cause leaps in progress, the workplaces we spend 90,000 hours of our lifetimes in. They
shape our impact on the environment and our economic output.
These businesses are only able to have this impact because of the investment that is placed in them on their startup to scaleup journey. There is of course no guarantee that this investment will lead to success but in the course of their growth, we cannot underestimate the impact these businesses have on the way we all experience our lives.
I believe in business. I believe that the impact business has on us all can be positive. I believe that commerciality and purpose can co-exist.
But I only believe this is possible when we have equality in our investment ecosystem.
Today that equality does not exist.
Just 2% of investment is placed in businesses founded by women.
Just 0.024% in businesses founded by black women.
Our investment ecosystem contains fundamental flaws. Flaws that create an extreme level of inequality in where investment is placed; dramatically shaping the type of problems that get solved and the types of businesses that have the opportunity to scale.
For me – as both an entrepreneur and a consumer – I want to live in a world where a diverse range of problems get solved, by a culturally rich, diverse and thriving community of entrepreneurs. I want for this community to be matched by an investment ecosystem that is equally diverse. And I want this because of the positive impact this will have for us all.
Obu exists because we (our team, our Board, our investors, our customers, our cheerleaders) believe that equality within our investment ecosystem is not only desirable but (even in the face of a system that staunchly doesn’t seem to want to change) is possible. And importantly that disruptive innovation – led by pioneers, like Obu – can and will accelerate change.
At Obu our focus is on early stage investment. The type of investment that an individual who embraces the title of ‘angel investor’ makes in a business whose products they love, with founders whose business they believe in, as a result of them describing a future they want to be a part of.
At Obu we’ve taken an inclusive design approach to angel investing on the principle that when you understand an audiences life experience of money, finance and wealth you’re able to design products and services that resonate with them. And when you do this, you drive up participation.
In the UK (as is the case globally) we need more women to participate in angel investing. We need more ally’s to recognise the impact they can have by placing capital in diverse founded businesses.
We’ve built Obu to allow these people to count themselves in.
When the angel investor pool is diversified, and when that population recognise the power they have to positively shape the world we live in, more diverse businesses receive investment. And when more early stage, diverse founded businesses receive angel investment, the more we create demand on the VC community to diversify where they place their capital.
I passionately believe that what I’ve described here is possible.
That’s why I’m the coFounder and CEO of Obu.
And that’s why I’m proud to work with a team who – even on the challenging days – believe that this is possible too.
Sarah has been recognised as one of the The Telegraph & Natwest Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch; as an EISA Finalist for Best EIS/SEIS Advocate and the UKBAA’s finalist for Investment in Diversity Champion. Sarah cocreated and led the #overbeingunderfunded campaign which successfully lobbied the U.K. Government to change Legislation to make early stage angel investment more accessible to businesses founded by women.
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