How Virgin StartUp's 5,000th founder is helping people who have lost a baby

Virgin StartUp's 5000th funded founder - The Worst Girl Gang Ever
The Worst Girl Gang Ever
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 14 June 2023

It’s incredible to see Virgin StartUp fund it’s 5,000th founder and distribute more than £70 million since we launched the not-for-profit in 2013. It’s even more incredible to realise this means 5,000 more businesses are out there making the UK a bit brighter.

The Worst Girl Gang Ever became the 5,000th founder(s) to receive Virgin StartUp funding, and it is tackling a devastating issue very close to my heart. The business was launched by Bex Gunn and Laura Buckingham three years ago following the devastating experience of losing their babies. Bex and Laura wanted to ensure that no other parents would have to navigate the experience of miscarriage or losing their baby alone.

Virgin StartUp's 5000th Funded Founder

The business started out as a Facebook group, created by Bex, to connect with other people who have lost a baby or gone through a miscarriage. As Bex put it: “I felt so strongly that if I was feeling this pain, then someone else may be too.” One day she received a message that struck a chord with her from Laura, who has been through nine miscarriages, which said: “Do you fancy going into battle together?”

From that message, The Worst Girl Gang Ever was formed and has since evolved into a support platform, a podcast, a book, webinars, courses, training for workplaces, and an incredible community that helps people get through this horrific experience that is faced by far too many people – often in silence and alone. The workplace training feels particularly important as well, as studies show that 25% of employees trying to have a child will experience baby loss or miscarriage and 69% say their employer didn’t know how to support them.

A black and white image of Holly Branson holding a newborn Lola to her shoulder
Image from Adam Slama

After experiencing two miscarriages and two failed rounds of IVF myself, I have nothing but admiration for what Laura and Bex have done. To turn an awful situation into a problem-solving and purpose-driven business that helps others going through the same situation is so selfless and inspiring. As Laura said:

The worst part of this whole experience for me was not knowing if I would ever get to be a mum. The desperation, hopelessness and ‘ugly’ feelings made this period of my life incredibly isolating. I withdrew from people around me and became a shell of myself. Having come out of the other side of the darkness I am adamant that no-one should have to go through these awful experiences without the support of someone who truly gets it.

Virgin StartUp's 5000th funded founder - The Worst Girl Gang Ever
Virgin StartUp

Bex and Laura turned to Virgin StartUp for business advice and an £18,000 Start Up Loan, which will help them create new expert content on the platform, raise awareness of the support available and grow their training for UK businesses. I love that Bex and Laura were drawn to Virgin StartUp because of its passion to support businesses that are making a positive impact in the world, and because of its pledge to equally fund men and women founders. As Bex put it:

Virgin’s mission to ‘change business for good’ really resonated with us and aligns with what we are trying to do with The Worst Girl Gang Ever. The funding will make a huge difference to the platform, enabling us to reach more people experiencing baby loss and bring in the best experts to run peer-to-peer support and creative therapy groups. We are also excited to grow our work with UK businesses to make sure that employers are better educated to support the thousands of employees going through baby loss each year.

So brilliant. Thank you Bex and Laura for building such a meaningful and impactful business, and thank you to Virgin StartUp for helping them grow. Congratulations to the team for funding 5,000 founders who out are out there changing business for good. Onwards and upwards.