A potential investor lost interest in this Aussie entrepreneur’s Atlassian-backed jobs platform when she disclosed her pregnancy — now she’s raised $2.2 million

Gemma Lloyd, Kim Jackson and Valeria Ignatieva (image: supplied).
  • Australian jobs platform Work180 has raised $2.2 million to fund its expansion to the UK.
  • The funding round was led by Skip Capital, the private investment fund of Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar and partner Kim Jackson, and saw venture capital players Investible and Giant Leap invest $500,000 each, Business Insider Australia can reveal.
  • Work180 co-founder Gemma Lloyd undertook the fundraising project while pregnant and says at least one prospective investor was turned off.

Raising funds for a tech start-up can be difficult at any time of your life, but Gemma Lloyd, co-founder of jobs platform Work180 has just raised $2.2 million while pregnant and is now speaking out about her experience.

“I was really nervous raising capital while pregnant, but I decided to take the upfront approach with all the investors and tell them straight away that I was pregnant,” Lloyd told Business Insider Australia in an email.

“I found that having a good relationship with all our investors prior to the raise was definitely the key to their continued support. They’ve seen us grow over the last five years. They’ve seen our traction and what I’m capable of, so the news of my pregnancy was not really an issue.”

However, Lloyd said that for at least one prospective investor the upfront disclosure of her pregnancy was not exactly welcome.

“There was one investor whose facial expression and tone changed completely when I mentioned that I was pregnant. He very quickly lost interest in our company and suffice to say, did not end up investing,” she said.

Pressed on what may have deterred the investor, Lloyd makes clear she would only be speculating, but says it may have to do with a prejudice that she wouldn’t be committed enough to the business she was raising funds for.

“People may have concerns that priorities will change from the business to the baby however, men who are new fathers would never experience these concerns,” Lloyd told Business Insider Australia.

“It’s purely gender bias.”

Lloyd, along with co-founder Valeria Ignatieva, raised the capital to bankroll its expansion into the UK, where it says its jobs platform has been a beneciary of new regulations requiring companies with more than 250 employees to make their gender pay gap data public.

Work180 has a focus on supporting female job applicants and vets potential employers on their gender-friendliness before allowing them onto the platform.

The latest funding round was led by Skip Capital, the private investment fund of Kim Jackson and her husband Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

Atlassian is also a customer of Work180, alongside other big corporates NAB, BHP and Microsoft.

The round saw venture capital investors Investible and Giant Leap come onboard, with an allocation of $500,000 each, a Work180 spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Australia.

“Gemma and Valeria are incredible founders that have already made a lot of ground in improving diversity in the workforce — particularly in male-dominated industries,” Giant Leap investment manager Rachel Yang said in a statement.

“Giant Leap is excited to be on this journey with them to help improve Australia’s business landscape.”