secretleaders | Four top female founders reveal what it’s really like in the startup hot seat

Four top female founders reveal what it’s really like in the startup hot seat

To mark Women’s History Month Women’s, we’re serving you the secret sauce of four incredible female founders: Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First; Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of AllBright; Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of Olio; and Tamara Lohan, co-founder of Mr and Mrs Smith.

Although the numbers for female-founded businesses are improving, it still remains that of the 6 million businesses in the UK, only 1/5 are run by women. There are twice as many male entrepreneurs as female ones. And only 1% of startup funding goes to female-founded businesses.

“When I started, there was not a whiff of any kind of VC money specifically for female businesses, there were no female networking clubs, there were no female support groups, there was nothing.”

In this one-off episode, recorded at our live event for International Women’s Day 2020, these founders share some of the toughest moments they’ve had in their careers, they discuss access to funding, and why there has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur, if you’re female.

“I suppose my coping mechanism is to try and ignore [imposter syndrome] and just focus on solving the problems that will make my business better and more valuable, rather than constantly worrying about my own performance.”

We chat about:

  • Their toughest moments as entrepreneurs
  • Funding as female entrepreneurs
  • The shifting gender balance
  • Tackling imposter syndrome




The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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