Let’s play a guessing game. Taking Europe as an example, how much funding for tech startups do you think goes to all-male teams? 50%? 70%?
Not even close. According to a report from venture capital firm Atomico, the number is 93% – and these aren’t outdated numbers, they cover the year 2018. In other words, very nearly ALL money invested in tech startups this year went to all-male teams.
How can that be?
This paints an extremely bleak picture – equality, diversity and equal opportunities have never been more important than they are now… and yet the reality is, that there is still so much left to be done. Startups are a relatively recent trend, at least in the way we have them now. Despite this, in some ways, they can be far less inclusive than other types of businesses, and that simply doesn’t need to be the case.
At a time where more women than men earn college degrees and more and more efforts are made to draw women into STEM education (and thus, into technology), qualified women are out there, they simply don’t quite seem to achieve the same success as their male counterparts do. This can be for a variety of reasons if we look at individuals, but when it comes to the broader picture, there is an undeniable trend: For all that tech startups often try to impress with their snack bars, yoga Thursdays and what not, they are often a less than friendly environment for women.
This problem doesn’t look the same way it did a few decades ago – that can actually make it more difficult to recognize it as a problem. Still, the reality is that it is a problem, and one that can only be solved by one group of people: Women.
If you’ve got girl power in the team you can achieve a lot
Strong, successful role-models have already made all the difference in other areas and have led the way many times in history. Thankfully, many such women have already begun this journey and are headed down this path, but in order for those staggering 93% to lower to something reasonable, it will take as many skilled women as possible.
Also interesting: Booth Babes and Women in Tech
Change isn’t easy, and neither is leaning up against stereotypes or societal pressure – thankfully, there are countless women that have already taken the first step. Whether it’s joining an existing startup in the technology industry or founding a new one, change can only happen through actions. In this case, the actions of brilliant, female minds.
Rather than simply encouraging friends, colleagues or even children, women should ask themselves whether there is a place for them in this industry as well… and if there isn’t whether they can carve out a niche for themselves. The answer is probably going to be yes.
Here are some amazing tech startups from around the world led by women – just to show it’s possible.
Tech startup spotlight
EmptyTrips (South Africa)
Founder: Benji Coetzee
Through machine learning and smart matching algorithms, EmptyTrips creates a marketplace where shippers, agents, and transport carriers can easily connect and pool resources, and even store or insure themselves for higher efficiency and a significantly improved carbon footprint.
Fove Inc (US and Japan)
Founder: Yuka Kojima
Fove created the first consumer-friendly priced VR headset with complete eye-tracking technology to rival the ‘big names.’
Hatch Apps (United States)
Co-founder: Amelia Friedman
Hatch Apps allows users to launch native apps for iOS, Android and the web with no coding required, through the use of an app framework.
Co-founder: Judith Gampe
The first Bluetooth headset that can be integrated into earrings with a built-in speaker, microphone, and volume control – in other words, wearable technology.
Womena (United Arab Emirates)
Co-founder: Elissa Freiha
Womena is a platform that promotes diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship in the Middle East – traditionally a very difficult area for women to break into.
Co-founder: Laura Mendoza
Quick and affordable diagnostic and disease surveillance technology for diseases which allow medical professionals to diagnose certain diseases directly, in less than 15 minutes, is what Unima makes so interesting.
Which is your favorite?
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Andrea Piacquadio. The hicking photo has been done by Jason Blackeye. The motivational girl boss image has been done by Gerd Altmann.
Source: Report by Atomico