An invitation-only network of C-suites female in corporate world she1K has launched in Singapore last week, aims to recruit 1,000 corporate women globally targeting to champion 100 startups by next year.

she1K seeks to put women leaders who are not in the business of serial entrepreneurship or private investing in power. The C-suites women who are on board will be able to lend their experience, share their connections, and industry knowledge to seed stage startups that are looking for support and funding.

she1K is the brainchild of the founder of Startup Asia Women, Christina Teo, who is also the tech corporate industry veteran. Teo had a stint as a Yahoo! Singapore’s GM and became immersed in startup world handling Slush event in September 2016.

“Coming from a corporate environment, I learnt first-hand that the startup world can look like a fascinating but rather scary alien landscape to those who are new to it – and likewise, to startups, corporates can be intimidating. she1K is a stress-free introduction into angel investing for female senior executives, a natural evolution of Startup Asia Women – a community for women in startups, and WomenChangemakers that showcases corporate female role models,” said Teo.

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According to a report by Women Business Angels for Europe’s Entrepreneurs (WA4E), many women investors are not investing in syndicates, potentially reflecting a lack of opportunity to join women-friendly groups, or a lack of understanding about fellow female angel investors.

The small opportunities to invest for women is believed to be caused by the lack of understanding of the core process of angel investing, believing that it is for the super-rich, and assume that it would be risky.

she1K aims to create safe space to build a community of support for women in leading corporate position and to keep them updated with the latest business and technological innovations.

“In most countries, there already exists a robust startup eco-system comprising of accelerators, VCs, other angel funds, global startup competitions. What we bring to the table in addition is the immersive industry experience and functional track record that our members have. she1K will provide a structure, network, and partnership reach to make the process easier.” said Teo.

she1K will work through angel syndicates such as AngelCentral in Singapore and other global accelerators such as Antler, leveraging their scouting and due diligence, thereby lowering the barrier to angel investment sums.

To amplify the impact, she1K will actively partner with global pitch challenges such as the long-running and highly regarded Cartier Women’s Initiative Award – an international
business competition that aims to encourage women entrepreneurs to solve contemporary global issues.

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Furthermore, it also has the potential to become the game changer for gender diversity on the startups’ company boards it will invest in-which is among the main goals of the initiative.

Right now, in Southeast Asia, less than 12 per cent women are occupying the board seats, with Vietnam holds the highest number with 25 per cent, and Indonesia at the lowest with 7.9 per cent.

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash