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UK’s Code First Girls lands €5.2 million to empower more women to access opportunities in tech

Bringing about more parity in the tech space, Code First Girls has just raised €5.2 million to support more women with even more opportunities in the sector. The UK-based firm is growing fast and making a real impact in this male-dominated industry.

Coding, software development, tech, business  – all spaces that are inherently dominated by men. The tech industry has a bad reputation when it comes to gender equality and parity, with women making up just 21% of the UK’s tech industry and black women making up less than 3%.

The figures are shocking, to say the least. Women have, for far too long, been facing additional hurdles in accessing opportunities and getting their voices heard, ventures funded and vocations fulfilled. And that’s what Code First Girls is addressing. 

The UK-based business supports women with coding education and employment for free, and they’ve just got a welcome funding boost.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, said: “At Code First Girls, our mission is to close the serious, long-term gender gap in the tech industry by giving women the opportunity to learn to code and get jobs in tech, at no cost to them. We’re growing at an incredibly fast pace, with businesses, government and universities across the country getting on board because they recognise we’ve found a model that works.”

Funding details

The €5.2 million Series A came from consumer-focused investment firm Active Partners and prolific female angels including a former director of Bumble and CEO and Founder of Peanut, CEO of notonthehighstreet.com, former VP of Monzo and Co-Founder and COO of Stealth, CEO and Founder of the UpGroup, and COO of MoneyBox. 

Michelle Kennedy, CEO and Founder of Peanut, said: “Investing in Code First Girls was one of the easiest investments I’ve made to date. Anna is an extremely impressive CEO who has a clear vision not only to train more women in order to secure roles in engineering and tech more broadly, but as importantly, to create a funnel to meet the demand from employers for world class talent. Another example that bringing women into tech is not solely about equality, it’s just great business.”

The funding witll enable the company to reach an ambitious new target of providing one million opportunities for women to learn how to code and secure a job in tech over the next five years. 

Active Partners, the lead investor, boasts an impressive portfolio of well-known brands including Leon, Rapha, Soho House, and Honest Burgers. The funding round has also attracted support from CEOs and COOs of leading companies like Bloom & Wild.

Supporting women in tech

Founded in 2013, by Alice Bentinck MBE and Matthew Clifford MBE, who also co-founded startup accelerator Entrepreneur First, Code First Girls has been transitioning in recent years from a social enterprise to a rapidly accelerating profit-making business. Code First Girls has now helped over 80k women learn to code and by working with companies globally, is boosting employability, diversity and social mobility, and transforming local economies and communities. 

Tom Profumo, Investor at Active Partners, said: “Traditional education providers are failing to address the significant tech talent shortages across the industry today, as well as the huge lack of diverse talent. Code First Girls offers the solution to this problem. By providing free coding courses for all women and supporting them into employment at some of the world’s biggest companies, Code First Girls is facilitating social mobility, boosting the diverse tech talent pool and addressing the tech skills gap.”

Alice Bentinck, Co-Founder of Code First Girls, said: “Code First Girls is special because it’s practical. Our DNA is all about doing – providing young women with the practical skills, confidence, and community to break into the tech world and progress through it. It’s a privilege to continue being a bridge between organisations who are keen to improve diversity and women who want to be an active part of the tech sector.”

The gender gap in the tech industry can’t be overstated. And with the tech job market projected to be worth over €34 billion in the UK alone by 2025 (6x larger than it is now), a diverse talent pipeline will need to be put in place in order to unlock this value. However, analysis by Code First Girls of employment and higher education data finds there will be one qualified woman for every 115 roles by 2025.  

Rona Ruthen, Co-Founder and COO of a stealth mode start-up (former VP at Monzo), said: “The tech industry is full of opportunity, but far too many women are still facing barriers to entry. I’m delighted to support Code First Girls as it plans to scale up and provide more women with routes into this exciting industry. As a Female Founder in tech, I’m passionate about boosting diversity and inclusion in the sector and empowering the female entrepreneurs of the future.”

The company answers to the growing global demand for developers by connecting female and non-binary talent with organisations, helping businesses find top-tier talent and women access opportunities previously closed off to them. 

Matthew Clifford, Co-Founder of Code First Girls, said: “There is a desperate need for more diversity in tech and we founded Code First Girls to deliver it. Following the success and astounding growth we’ve had, investors are clearly sitting up and taking notice. Their faith in our model will support us to significantly scale up the company and bring our work to more tech businesses. This is an exciting new chapter for Code First Girls, and we have ambitious plans to reach even more women, providing one million more opportunities for education and employment, turbocharging the tech industry and boosting the economy.”

Alongside free online courses at every stage of the pipeline, Code First Girls plans to put over 26k women through the ‘CFGdegree’ and place them into tech roles over the next five years. Given an average starting salary in tech, this equates to billions in economic opportunities for women entering into the tech industry.

Anna Brailsford added: “We’re proud of both our social and commercial impact, having already taught 80,000 women to code for free, linking talent with jobs, and having recently 10xed our revenue and user base. Our next goal is to become the world’s first EdTech unicorn dedicated to women.”

“This funding round is a vote of confidence from major figures in the tech industry, who see our pioneering model as a solution to the tech gender gap. We’ll use this investment to provide one million opportunities for women to learn to code for free and enter the industry, driving a huge £1 billion in economic opportunities for women and a boost for the entire sector.”

Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.

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