According to Backstage Capital, less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and LGBT+ founders. Other VCs see this as a pipeline problem but Andy and his team at Backstage see this as their biggest investment opportunity. Why is this important? Well many of us have heard it all before, diverse teams have stronger business outcomes and innovative ideas, founders don’t succeed in isolation, they need strong ecosystems to start, and many need strong investor networks to grow.

Is there a lack of money? No, 2018 was a record year for investment, particularly in London’s tech scene. According to investment data published by London & Partners and PitchBook, the capital’s businesses received £1.8 billion (72 per cent) of the total £2.49 billion raised by other British businesses. According to the same investment data, the UK benefitted from over £1 billion of additional growth capital than other European countries including table leaders Germany (£1.38bn), France (£1.03bn) and Switzerland (£531.80m). Founders from underrepresented groups will naturally point to the structural biases built into the current investment landscape.

Kasia knows all too well the investment challenges faced by female founders but she also knows the importance of diverse teams as her Brainpool team seek to build and advocate for fairer algorithmic decision-making. They are on a mission to democratise access to machine learning tools and sit at the centre of London’s tech scene as they lead the frontier with world class academic hubs including UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, NYU.

As noted by the UK’s national institute for data science, The Alan Turing Institute, algorithms are increasingly assisting in life-changing decisions, such as in parole hearings, loan applications, and university admissions. However, if the data used to train an algorithm contains societal biases against certain races, genders, or other demographic groups, then the algorithm will too. As the London tech scene continues to go from strength to strength, it’s not without its own fairness challenges.

This your chance to go deep as this Workspace Business Insight Dinner brings together leading authorities on a mission to build fairer algorithm-led decisions and investor landscapes for an evening of thought-provoking discussion that has deep relevance to leaders of all types of businesses. Our panel will look at just some of these key questions:

  • How can business leaders from tech firms seek to identify and ensure societal biases aren’t replicated in their algorithms?
  • What specific approaches can the UK’s venture capital and investment community undertake to better support women, BAME and LGBT+ founders?
  • How can business leaders from overrepresented groups support firms who are on a mission to build fairer algorithm-led decisions and investor landscapes?
  • How can founders from underrepresented groups better access funding and investment from the venture capital community and beyond?
  • Will algorithmic led decision-making and VC investment, ever truly be “fair”? Have we lost the plot?


  • 6:00pm to 6:30pm | Welcome and Networking Drinks
  • 6:30pm to 7:30pm | Panel Discussion & Audience Q&A
  • 7:30pm to 9:00pm | #WBIDinner and Networking Drinks

The Panel

Andy Ayim, Managing Director of Backstage London

Andy Ayim is a father, podcast junkie, blogger and Managing Director of Backstage London. Backstage London runs a 3-month accelerator programme that invests and supports women, BAME and/or LGBT+ founders. Backstage believe these founders are underestimated and have the most potential for unlocking innovation and creating valuable businesses that is inclusive for us all. Outside of that he is a big advocate of supporting entrepreneurship for people from low income backgrounds and is a Board Advisor to YSYS and Board Member at Mixtape Madness.

Kasia Borowska, Managing Director and Co-founder of Brainpool AI

Kasia Borowska is a co-founder and managing director at Brainpool AI, a worldwide network of Artificial Intelligence experts. With over 300 top level data scientists, Brainpool is a mix of academics and professionals leading the frontiers of AI development and coming from world renowned AI hubs such as UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, NYU. Brainpool AI provides access to these experts on a project basis as well as AI consultancy services. After finishing her degrees in Mathematics and Cognitive & Decision Sciences, Kasia started her career in B2B marketing. Having experienced both the academic and corporate world, Kasia realised how little of the knowledge gained at university corporations actually have access to.

Helena Murphy, Co-founder and Head of Investment at Raising Partners

Helena Murphy has raised millions in investment for both her own and other start-ups. She also has extensive experience sitting on the other side of the table working with private Angel Syndicates as well as consulting accelerators and some of the world’s largest crowdfunding platforms. She is co-founder and Head of Investment of consultancy Raising Partners. The business partners with businesses of all sizes to secure investment through angel networks, VCs and Crowdfunding. Sitting between the entrepreneur and the investor, Raising Partners provides a comprehensive service for entrepreneurs, start-ups or established businesses looking to raise equity for their business and aims to level the fundraising playing field.

Alejandro Saucedo, Chief Scientist at the Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning  

The Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning is a research centre based in the UK. They carry out highly technical research to answer some of the most challenging questions present in the intersection between Machine Learning and industry. Alejandro builds and leads a team of researchers & engineers focused on developing open source tools and industry standards for machine learning and bias evaluation. He leads research & development functions at the institute, including the development of their opensource frameworks, as well as their university partnerships and contributions to IEEE, ACM and the European Commission.


Diarra Smith, Operations Director at Knowledge Peers and Informed Funding

As lead of the business Insight programme run by Knowledge Peers, Diarra leads efforts as the programme supports business owners and directors from across Workspace’s customer ecosystem by delivering key insight events and data on trends that will impact business in the future. At Informed Funding, Diarra leads the delivery of key strategic partnerships and events across the business. Informed Funding is an online and offline information resource designed to help business owners and directors identify the range of options available to them to raise finance. Diarra started his career in a data services consultancy supporting the Cabinet Office and leading UK research bodies. He has experience supporting clients across the political and violent risk analysis and regulatory monitoring space. In 2018, Diarra was a Top 10 finalist in RAHM 2018, RAHM brings together the most outstanding present and future LGBT+ leaders in the world. Diarra holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Toronto.

What to expect?

The insight events provide a platform for senior directors to discuss the most relevant challenges facing growing businesses today. Sharing their insights, advice and best practice together with an open Q&A with fellow industry leaders.

Our insight events focus on what you can learn and how it might impact you or your business. We don’t spend that much time talking at attendees and we build in plenty of opportunities for attendees to question the panellists.

We leave ample time for attendees to network with the other senior leaders and of course enjoy a delicious dinner.

Where do I sign up?

Register for a complimentary spot at our #WBIDinner, Investment and Algorithms: Tackling Diversity and Bias Challenges in Business on Tuesday 26th March at Workspace’s The Record Hall from 6:00pm to 9:00pm

This #WBIDinner is open to Directors and Senior Leaders from current Workspace customers and Club Workspace members and selected guests.

Would you like to bring a guest to our #WBIDinner?

Email and let us know.

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Photographs and/or video will be taken at this event.

By taking part in this event you grant Workspace and Knowledge Peers full rights to use the images resulting from the photography/video filming for publicity or other purposes to help achieve our aims. This might include (but is not limited to), the right to use them in printed and online publicity, social media, press releases and funding applications.

Barley Mow Centre
Cargo Works
338 Goswell Road
Fleet Street