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At the Cap Table #218 Ruth Foxe Blader, Anthemis Group

At the Cap Table #218 Ruth Foxe Blader, Anthemis Group

Now vs the dot-com era, diversity in venture and on how to assist founders and the art of being a good board member
Hailing from the power corridors of Anthemis, Ruth has co-founded WVC:E - one of the conferences NOT to be missed this fall. Get your ticket here.

Today, we have something good for all the fintech enthusiasts and venture investors out there. Hailing from the power corridors of Anthemis and with accolades in the global financial technology ecosystem, Ruth Foxe Blader is with us! With 15 years of international experience at Fortune 500 companies, Ruth leads strategic investment efforts across Europe and the US at Anthemis.

Prior to joining Anthemis, Ruth worked for Allianz SE, where she led digital innovation efforts. She was a founding member of the AllianzX team, where she led investments in startups including Lemonade, MoneyFarm, Argus Cyber Security and SimpleSurance.

She’s also the co-founder of WVC:E alongside Sophie Winwood - a movement that promotes inclusion, empowerment and integration of VC in Europe and beyond. Make sure to pick up your tickets for this year now 🎫

Whether you're an entrepreneur trying to decode the ever-evolving macro environment, or an investor aiming to fine-tune your fundraising strategies, this episode is not one to be missed!

Jump to the parts that matter to you 🎧 and watch the highlights below 👀

00:00:55 - Ruth's Background and Experience
00:03:21 - Surviving the dot-com bust
00:05:01 - Lessons from Investing in the US vs Europe
00:06:43 - Assisting founders, Market Size and Exit Strategy
00:10:49 - Fostering Cross-Pollination and Shared Goals in the Industry
00:11:35 - Creating Opportunities for Mentorship
00:12:21 - Diversity in Tech & WVC:E
00:13:51 - Creating a Space for Open Discussion and Industry Change
00:14:39 - Maternity leave best practices for startups and venture funds
00:16:13 - Key Learnings from the boardroom & the Importance of Realism
00:17:50 - Asking the Right Questions as a Founder
00:18:35 - The Importance of Board Members Staying Out of the Way
00:19:27 - Adapting to a Changing Macro Environment
00:22:40 - Founder fundraising strategies for the current macro environment

Read Ruth’s answers to the 🔫quickfire round 🔫 below

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🔫 The Quickfire Round 🔫

What areas, technologies or sectors excite you the most that other people don't really feel excited about?

Sorry, very uncreative here. I would say that many generalist investors have decided that InsureTech isn't worth the hassle. And I am seeing a retreat amongst some of my peers from the insurance industry given the performance of some of the publicly traded InsureTechs that went public in 2020 and 2021.

But I still think that the insurance industry is an amazing place to be investing. There are very few trillion-dollar industries, but this is one. And it's massively inefficient. It's still a filing cabinet industry. We have a lot of work to do.

What are your top tips for founders across Europe who are fundraising right now?

My top tip for founders who are fundraising (and founders who are not fundraising!) is really be ready during these market cycles. The window opens and closes - the winter thaws, and then it freezes again.

You just need to be ready to talk to investors when they wanna talk to you. If you're getting inbound from good firms, have the conversation! It is easier to fundraise when you don't need the money.

So I would say, There's something really fantastic about being heads down and working on your project. But unless you are fully funded for 36 months, I would be having a few more investor conversations than maybe I historically would have advised my founders to have.

What's the most counterintuitive thing you've learned in Venture?

For me, the most counterintuitive thing I've learned in venture is that people don't necessarily need answers. And I'm thinking specifically in the board context. The more I hone my own craft as a board member, the more I realize that it's really inappropriate to answer operational questions about a company that you're not operationally involved with.

And most of the time as a director of a board, you're not a day-to-day operator in the company. So I really think that rather than answering questions or providing wisdom or pontificating, great board members ask great questions and they help the founders develop an intellectual framework for confronting obstacles, for dealing with challenges and for better understanding their business.

And don’t forget to use this form to receive a very special treatment when heading over to to get the hassle-free back-office for your fund and SPVs that you’ve always dreamt of 🫠