Women in Tech: Rewriting the script for the startup scene

Surprise, surprise: in 2022, men were still dominating the startup scene – particularly in the tech industry. No change there then. But women in tech are writing an important new script that promises to deliver a different future.

Women in Tech are changing the future.
Image: © s-o-c-i-a-l-c-u-t / unsplash.com

Women in Tech: Less support from the investor side

Female entrepreneurship has been on the rise in recent years, with women founders behind more and more startups. But female founders in the startup area are still underrepresented. The “Female Founders Monitor” study from 2022 has the figures on the current proportion of women in the startup industry:

20 %
of founders in Germany are women.
37 %
of founding teams include women as well as men.

Although the trend is positive, women are still in a clear minority among founders – and financing is one reason for that. According to the above study, investors are clearly biased in favor of men, with male teams receiving almost nine times more capital than female ones. That creates even more challenges for women to overcome in terms of financing – a topic that was discussed at DMEXCO 2022. The “Mission Female – Does Digitization drive Diversity?” panel highlighted why women are still underrepresented in business:

“It starts in the very beginning. If you look […] at company information in the digital area […] it’s a bit more than 15% female founders. […] Technology is a huge topic in digitization [but] it’s a male business,” explains Eva Reitenbach, Managing Director of oddity.

More and more funding programs for Women in Tech

Over the past two years, the EU has run the “Women TechEU” funding initiative to support female founders who want to develop startups in the field of cutting-edge technology. The aim is to reinforce female leadership in the deep tech industry and create fairer and more inclusive ecosystems. Applications can be submitted again this year.

The “unternehmensWert:Mensch” (“corporate value: people”) initiative with its “Women in Tech” program area is also aiming to boost equal opportunities in the IT and tech industry, alongside advising small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on how they can make themselves more diversity-oriented.

Networks led by women are crucial

Women who want to found startups in male-dominated industries don’t just require financial support; they also need the support of other female founders.

Women’s networks provide an opportunity for experienced, successful, and future female founders to come together, share expertise and experiences, and develop common strategies for the companies of tomorrow. In the tech area, Femtec.Alumnae e. V. is one network offering a platform for highly qualified, dedicated women with a passion for technology and an academic background – or an interest – in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math). Another option is moinworld e. V., which offers programming courses, mentoring, and networking as a way for like-minded people to come together in the technical field. The PANDA network aims to boost the proportion of women in leadership positions and has set itself a target figure of 50%. With 3,100 female executives on all rungs of the career ladder, the platform offers regular chances for women to share their experiences along with plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development. And last but by no means least, “Empowering Women in Technology” is the motto of the global Women Who Code network.

Female startups setting important trends for the future

Rather than products or services being gender-neutral, the tendency has always been to design them with men in mind. And this puts women at a disadvantage that can have devastating consequences, particularly in areas like healthcare.

FemTech startups aim to fundamentally change the healthcare industry and develop technical solutions specifically for women’s health, as well as closing significant gaps in data, research, and healthcare provision. New technologies should mean that women’s health is given the attention that is long overdue. FemTech success story trackle, for example, offers digital, hormone-free contraception, while startups including PINK! and Brea are pushing ahead with digital innovations for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

And female digital experts are also increasingly making their mark in software development. Founded by Verena Pausder, Fox & Sheep, for example, is a company that develops apps for preschool-aged children, which lay the foundation for digital education of adolescents. Another example is Demodesk; the first intelligent meeting platform for remote sales that efficiently supports sales calls and meetings.

Female founders: Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Although the startup industry is still a long way away from equal opportunity and gender equality, Women in Tech and FemTech are important movements that are upending the male-dominated market and giving women the attention they deserve. If you are a female founder looking for opportunities to implement promising ideas, then tap into the support of other female founders who have already achieved success. Instead of seeing them as competitors, join a community to create a fairer, more diverse, and more innovative future.