When Sue de Bievre tried to get funding to support her fast-growing online accountancy business she struggled to get backing from male investors.
"It was incredibly heartbreaking."
The chief executive of Beany tried to raise money all through 2018 and despite trying every avenue she had no luck.
"We just didn't get any traction at all and I rolled into 2019 feeling very flat."
Then she won backing from SheEO - a venture capital fund that lends to women-led businesses and that was followed up by investor network Ice Angels and ArcAngels - a fund set up specifically to fund startup businesses with female founders or leaders.
"It was just one of those moments when the light came on." De Bievre is now able to expand her business into Sydney and London.
Beany is one of six startup businesses the ArcAngels fund has already committed to invest in, another three are being lined up with the fund now looking for another 11 women led startups to invest in.
Cecilia Tarrant, chairwoman of the ArcAngels investor network group, said the fund had raised $2 million from 75 investors of which 40 per cent were male including Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 investment company.
Tarrant said the fund had been inspired by similar successful funds overseas such as the New York headquartered Golden Seeds which had been supporting female founders for more than a decade.
"We know that women entrepreneurs struggle to attract the same levels of investment and support as their male counterparts - and yet female-founded startups have been proven to perform better over time.
"We see the ArcAngels fund as a way of addressing the challenges women face when raising capital."
Tarrant said women entrepreneurs faced a lot of bias - some conscious and some unconscious.
"There seems to be a bias and presumptions that men are better at business than women, but it is not born out by the facts.
"When you look at the fabulous women running businesses you know it's not a fact yet we still have most money going to male entrepreneurs."
Tarrant said male entrepreneurs tended to get asked promotional questions like how much do you think you can make?
Females tended to get asked preventative questions like how will you reduce the risk of losing money?
Yet research by US-based Boston Consulting Group had found that for every investment dollar going into a female-founded startup, the company generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated just 31 cents.
Tarrant said all up the fund would look to invest in around 20 female-led startups over the next two years and there was no shortage of opportunities.
To qualify businesses have to have a female founder or leadership. When they raise money only half can come from the fund with the other 50 per cent committed by other investors.
They also require a lead investor that can take an active role in going on the board or mentoring the business and the fund must invest on the same terms as other investors.
Tarrant said the fund didn't have a set timeframe for getting a return on its investment.
"We are not like an investment manager.
"A lot of these companies, it's not unusual for it to take five years to get to a liquidity event."
When that happens the money returned from the investment will go back to the investors.
"We don't target a specific return. The range of returns can be negative to up 10, 20 or 30 plus."
Investors in the fund which closes to new investment at the end of September also have to meet certain requirements meeting the criteria of being either a wholesale investor or eligible investor.
Wholesale investors have to have an investment portfolio worth over $1m or a net worth of $5m plus while eligible investors usually have management experience in the sector and are able to invest.