Just 4% tech company founders are women, claims study


On International Women’s Day, new research reveals that just 4% of the founders of the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies are women.

According to research by developer recruitment platform CodinGame, only 11 out of 251 founders of the hottest tech start-ups in the UK are women.

Of the 137 businesses identified by Deloitte and The Sunday Times as the fastest-growing tech companies in the UK, only seven have a female founder or co-founder. 

These include Evie, a company creating tech products for women, Phrasee, an AI copywriting tool and Seeker Digital, an SEO agency.

Only one tech company in the entire list, Buddi, a personal emergency alarm system, was founded solely by a woman. Sara Murray launched Buddi in 2005. 

However, 20 of the 137 companies have three or more male co-founders, including video game developer Firesprite, whose five co-founders are all men.

The research by CodinGame comes hot-on-the-heels of the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review, published last month, which showed that more than a third (34%) of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women.

The report said this was an increase of 50% over the past five years, and showed a dramatic shift in female representation at the very highest levels of British business. 

But this is not the case when it comes to the founders of the UK’s hottest tech companies, which are still predominantly men.

Says Aude Barral, co-founder of developer recruitment platform CodinGame:

“On the day (International Women’s Day) that women’s achievements are being celebrated across the globe and gender inequality is being challenged, our research should shame the tech sector.

“The UK tech sector is booming, investors are clambering over each other to invest in the hottest tech companies, and yet just four percent of the UK’s fastest-growing tech companies have a female founder.

“It’s simply absurd to say that the low number of female founders is due to women having no interest in launching tech businesses. There are many talented women out there who have the skills, vision, drive and determination, but for whatever reasons founding a tech company continues to be dominated by men.

“Women make up less than 20% of the tech workforce, STEM courses at UK universities are still heavily male-dominated, and unconscious bias continues to be a major factor when recruiting for tech positions, an area which CodinGame is addressing by offering skills-based recruitment to companies.

“Now these latest figures reveal that, while women making up less than one-fifth of the tech workforce is bad enough, the lack of female representation at founder level is far worse.”

Chris Price
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