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Exclusive: Barclays and Anthemis launch startup studio for female founders

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Rhian Horgan pitched countless accelerators on what would become Kindur, a fin tech startup that helps baby boomers plan for retirement. She got rejected from all of them.

“I did not have the profile that a lot of accelerators were looking for, quite frankly,” Horgan says. “I was almost 40. I was a sole founder. I had worked for one company for my whole career. And I wasn’t willing to move—I have two young children, so going out west for three months just wasn’t a reality for me.”

Horgan knew her idea was a harder sell, too. “I was solving a problem for quote-unquote old people,” she says. “Most people I spoke to didn’t even understand the problem.” But in 2017, Horgan found a receptive ear in Anthemis, an early-stage fintech investment firm. By then, Anthemis had introduced a studio model, which empowered the firm to invest in founders even earlier, sometimes building a company around an appealing founder.

Now Anthemis has teamed up with bank and financial services company Barclays to double down on the studio model. The result of their partnership is the Female Innovators Lab, a New York-based startup studio for female founders in the fintech space, which launches today.

The lab will make an initial seed investment in each founder, though the amount will vary depending on the person and business; portfolio companies would also be considered for subsequent rounds of funding. (Anthemis would not disclose how much Barclays will be investing in the fund.)

Katie Palenscar, the founder and CEO of edtech startup Unbound Concepts, will lead the lab with the help of mentors from Anthemis and Barclays. The founders who make the cut will initially work out of Anthemis’s studio space. Once they have a clearer roadmap for their product and move to the seed stage, Barclays will........

© Fast Company