News Briefs

Anthemis’ Female Innovators Lab Fund Becomes the Largest At $50M

Visa and BMO join Barclays and Aviva as Investors in FIL.

Anthemis, a specialist asset manager that creates value from driving financial systems change, announced additional investments from institutions including Visa and BMO for its Female Innovators Lab (FIL) Fund. Anchored by Barclays, with investment from Aviva, the fund now totals $50 million, making it the largest early-stage fintech fund focused on female founders. With this latest raise, the Fund will invest in additional early-stage companies and continue its focus on designing, sourcing, and scaling female-founded embedded finance startups.

Anthemis’ background

Launched in 2019 and led by Anthemis’ Global Head of Venture Studio, Katie Palencsar, the FIL Fund actively invests in women-led startups across North America, UK and Europe. FIL’s approach is modeled on Anthemis’ embedded finance investment thesis, targeting business models that deploy financial services within a diverse set of industries including sustainability, beauty, ecommerce, and more. FIL combines Anthemis early-stage asset management capacities with a singular network of strategic investors, diversifying deal sourcing and providing peerless strategic support to the FIL portfolio.

Through the venture studio and fund, Anthemis has sourced over 1,500 early-stage female-founded companies and shaped and funded portfolio companies like Addition (a workplace financial wellness platform), Pile (a cash management tool for businesses), and Upkeep (a marketplace for beauty treatments).

Supporting female founders

“Women are half of the world’s population, they control 70% of global household spending, profits are higher when they’re present in the c-suite, and the startups they build have a more rapid path to exit – but somehow, women-led companies still raised just two percent of all US venture investment last year. Female founder businesses are a massive market opportunity, yet chronically underfunded. FIL is purpose-built to seize that opportunity, helping women develop high-growth, high-impact startups at the intersection of finance, technology, and society,” said Palencsar. “Expanding with a partner like Visa – a world leader in digital payments – and BMO – the 8th largest bank in North America by assets – gives us the capital, strategic partners, and global reach to unlock a new cohort of women leaders blazing the trail for fintech and embedded finance.”

“Women power economies around the world, yet they remain underrepresented in the fintech sector with many barriers to overcome,” said Charlotte Hogg, Visa Chief Executive Officer, Europe. “At Visa, we believe partnering with diverse businesses, banks and fintechs is essential. Only by doing so can innovative financial and business services be nurtured that cater to the needs of all communities and underrepresented groups. We are excited to partner with Anthemis to execute on our joint purpose of supporting women’s economic advancement and to help bring the benefits of going digital to everyone, everywhere.”

As one of the earliest asset managers to establish a diversity and inclusion mandate, Anthemis is uniquely suited to lead FIL. Women account for 69 percent of the people across investments, 48 percent of portfolio company founders are women or people of color and 58 percent of all employees at Anthemis are women.

Thoughts from BMO

“BMO’s investment in Anthemis’ Female Innovators Lab Fund is aligned with our Zero Barriers to Inclusion strategy, which includes creating economic progress and removing barriers to the inclusion of women and women-owned businesses everywhere,” said Andrew Harrison, Head of U.S. Partnerships at BMO. “Through our support for FIL and the continued success of WMNfintech, North America’s largest nonprofit fintech industry program for women-led fintechs developed by BMO and 1871, we are bridging the gender gap by giving more women the opportunity to bring innovative technology forward.”

To learn more about the Female Innovators Lab Fund or to pitch the team, please visit

About BMO

Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $1.15 trillion as of January 31, 2023, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

About Anthemis

Anthemis is a specialist asset manager that creates value by driving financial systems change by investing in businesses committed to resiliency, transparency, access, and equity. Founded in 2010, our deep understanding of financial systems, endless passion for emerging technologies, and steadfast commitment to social purpose inspire everything we do. By creating fertile ground for a diverse group of startups, investors, entrepreneurs, institutions, academics, and visionaries to converge, we believe we can solve the financial system’s most pressing challenges.

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