Octopus Ventures, one of Europe's most active investors, has confirmed it is parting ways with one of its key fintech analysts next week.
Juliette Souliman is leaving to kickstart a new investing startup, CRED, and its accompanying venture arm. The French-national will assume the role of chief commercial officer of the company — which will allow retail investors to buy shares in sports stars and musicians — and general partner of the venture fund.
Souliman joined Octopus in May 2018 as its youngest ever investment professional and as the sixth member of its Future of Money team. Prior to joining the £1.2bn fund, the 25-year-old founded two small startups; including an online marketplace for endurance sports events.
She has since become a growing name in London's tech scene, being named one of Business Insider's 10 "most trailblazing female VCs in London" and appearing on Innovate Finance's 2019 list of Rising Stars.
“Juliette was an incredible member of our team. Naturally, we are very sad to see her go, but she leaves with our best wishes," commented Alliott Cole, chief executive of Octopus Ventures.
Souliman told Sifted she intends to lead fundraising for the fund, although fellow analysts noted that first fundraises can take several years.
A rare breed
During her time at Octopus Souliman has been a vocal advocate for greater diversity in the startup space. Notably, women like her make up just 13% of the UK's venture capital decision-makers, which she said has added a new layer of responsibility and focus as an investor.
"I’m positively biased towards female founders," she told Sifted earlier this year. "If you want to spot startups who will give abnormal returns... we want to find abnormal founders."
All female-founded companies make up 1% of total UK venture capital, according to the British Business Bank. Fintech companies, in particular, have a stark lark of female leadership, despite studies showing that female-led startups show greater profitability than men on average.
Still, Octopus did not make any investments in female-led fintechs during Souliman's tenure there.
"Some VCs say that they would love to invest in female entrepreneurs, but claim that the talent isn’t there. This simply isn’t true and I think most people now agree that is an outdated view," Souliman said.