Level 20 secures funding from industry giants

The non-profit, which seeks to boost the percentage of European women in senior private equity roles, will use the backing to fund its mentoring programme.

Industry heavyweights Advent International, Warburg Pincus, TPG and KKR are among the first wave of backers for Level 20, a non-profit group aiming to inspire women to join and succeed in the private equity industry.

More than 25 firms have committed multi-year funding to support the organisation, according to a statement from Level 20. The funds will primarily be used to help finance Level 20’s mentoring programme and provide resources to engage the organisation’s first full-time chief executive.

The London-based group's goal is to ensure women account for 20 percent of senior professionals across the European private equity industry by 2020. Women hold only 5 percent of senior industry roles today. Fewer women than men enter private equity, and only a small proportion progress to take on leadership roles, according to Level 20.

The mentoring programme works with mid-career women to provide them with access to guidance from more senior men and women that they may otherwise not receive, Level 20 chair and co-founder Hanneke Smits told Private Equity International's sister publication pfm at the time of the organisation’s launch last September.

Since then, Level 20 has attracted around 600 members and commenced its first mentoring programme with more than 45 participants.

Level 20’s initial backers are: Accel; Advent International; Apax Partners; Bain Capital; Balderton Capital; Bowmark Capital; Bridgepoint; Charterhouse Capital Partners; Cinven; CVC Capital Partners; ECI Partners; Graphite Capital; HgCapital; H.I.G. Capital; ICG; IK Investment Partners; KKR; LivingBridge; Mid Europa Partners; Montagu Private Equity; Summit Partners; Synova Capital; TA Associates; TDR Capital; Terra Firma Capital Partners; Towerbrook Capital Partners; TPG; Vitruvian Partners; and Warburg Pincus.

“We are delighted to have received such an overwhelmingly positive reception from the industry and that so many firms have backed up their commitment to gender diversity with financial resources to enable to Level 20 to push forward to meet its targets,” Smits said in a statement.