Women entrepreneurs and startup ecosystem influencers across Europe are some of the biggest champions addressing the gender gap on the continent in terms of access to financing and technology.
Vocal about the existing disparity in various sectors, these female leaders have not only created solutions to some of the problems, but have also attracted investors to support their missions.
Research published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Sista in June revealed that women are highly under-represented in startups across Europe, with less than a fifth of the money raised going to a founding team that includes a female and with amounts raised by women reaching a glass ceiling after only six years of startup existence. Meanwhile male counterparts have not only managed to raise money easily compared to female founders, but they also saw growth.
Despite the challenges, trailblazing women in Europe’s tech scene have pushed forward initiatives that empower the next generation of female startup leaders, helping to create a more inclusive future. Here are a few of these women and the projects they’re working on.
Denmark-based Female Invest, a financial education platform, was founded with the mission to educate and empower women to take control of their finances. Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Emma Due Bitz and Camilla Cloëtta Falkenberg are the co-founders of the firm that has raised €7.3 million from prominent investors including Y Combinator, Green Visor and Educapital.
The three founders have been vocal about their mission to close the gender gap in investing and changing the negative stereotypes about women’s attitude towards money, while talking to big media houses like Financial Times and Vogue.
Being Europe’s largest financial educator of its type for women, the company plans to prioritize expanding its presence in the United Kingdom and the United States in 2023, having opened a London office already in 2022. The platform has established a community of 39,000 members across 100 different countries.
Alexia de Broglie and Margot de Broglie are the sister co-founders of Your Juno, a financial empowerment platform “aimed at providing the best education in a fun way.”
The London-headquartered Your Juno aims to be able to “give women and non-binary people the financial knowledge and confidence to build their wealth.”
To reduce the gender gap in financial literacy, Your Juno partnered with Wealthify, a platform to make investing accessible to everyone.
In March 2023, fintech news outlet Altfi covered the partnership revealing that together, Your Juno and Wealthify are offering customers free access to the platform for one year (with the code WEALTHIFY), hoping to empower more people to get their finances in order.
Founded by Alina Bassi, Deborah Choi and Stephanie Von Behr, Berlin-based Founderland claims that it is building the fastest growing community of women of colour founders across Europe. Established in 2020, the German company has managed to raise €661,000 through big name investors like Google for Startups and Google.org.
Silicon Canals covered the co-founders earlier this year, where the Founderland creators highlighted that only 1% of women-led startups and 0.7% of ethnic minority founders received venture capital funding in Europe in 2021.
“The underrepresentation of women is not just a problem for the tech sector itself, but a problem for our whole society,” Founderland’s website states.
“This is due to the fact that most technology is developed by homogenous groups of individuals – such as white men – and therefore is more likely to contain bias.”
Code First: Girls
To increase the number of women in tech and entrepreneurship, co-founder and chief product officer Alice Bentinck established London-based Code First Girls. The company has delivered €5.8 million worth of free tech education over the last four years, including teaching over 8,000 women how to code for free.
Code First: Girls has raised over €5.2 million through investors including Active Partners and Claire Davenport. In all the company has eight investors. Bentinck’s company is now the largest provider of free in person coding courses for women in the UK.
The Times listed Code First: Girls as one of the four companies helping bridge the gender technology gap.
CodeOp is another company established with the aim of solving the gender disparity problem in the tech space.
Founder and CEO Katrina Walker managed to raise €1.6 million with the support of investors including Ship2B, Sabadell Venture Capital, Thomas Meyer and Heiko Rauch.
Spain’s CodeOp offers boot camps and workshops for women, transgender and and non-binary individuals who want to transition to, or upskill in tech.
Walker also gives back to the community in other ways, serving as a Startup Mentor at the Women Innovators Programme (WIP), part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).