This year, the UN theme for International Women’s Day is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.
The theme reflects the era of innovation and technological change that we’re living in and seeks to empower education in the digital age to achieve gender equality. IWD 2023 will explore and highlight the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.
When it comes to tech, women and girls are still severely underrepresented. Women are cut out from top-ranking jobs, are still missing out on opportunities, and, are still missing out on the development of the key skills needed to enter the rapidly-evolving tech space.
The last couple of years have seen record levels of funding pour into the ecosystem and yet women are largely prevented from accessing it. In Europe, 87% of all VC funding is still raised by men-only founding teams, while the proportion of funding raised by women-only teams has dropped from 3% to 1% since 2018. According to a recent UNESCO Science report, women remain a minority in both STEM education and careers, representing only 28% of engineering graduates, 22% of artificial intelligence workers and less than one-third of tech sector employees globally. Further, it’s been reported that 49.5% of women in tech have experienced sexism in the last year, with 66.9% believing that they are paid unfairly compared to their male counterparts.
Digital tech is seen as the solution to the world’s most pressing challenges. Aligning a more equitable tech space can help create more innovative, more sustainable solutions for the betterment of all. Listening to women, supporting their voices, and creating equitable access to opportunities are critical. To help tech become more diverse, we need to highlight inspirational references, giving the next generation the role models they need to look up to and also celebrating the wins that women are making.
So, here we highlight 100 of the most inspiring women in the European startup and VC ecosystem who are fueling a new, more equitable generation of digital tech.
PS. some of these women are going to be speaking at this year’s EU-Startups Summit in Barcelona!
Agate Freimane: General Partner of Norrsken VC, Aate is a vocal advocate for the interplay between impact and profit. Norrsken VC is the first impact VC in the Nordics, and among the first in Europe. Agate is a trailblazing woman in the VC space and is passionate about impact-focused startups. She started her career working in finance in London and New York, before co-founding the edtech charity Bright Mentors.
Alice Albizzati: Alice is the founding partner of Revaia, a Paris-based firm that is focused on European sustainable growth investment, partnering with mission-driven entrepreneurs. Alice has participated in the financing, structuring and oversight of more than 35 growth companies throughout her career. Prior to founding Revaia, Alice was an investor at Verlinvest in New York. She also sits on the boards of Deepki and Hublo.
Alice Pelton: Alice Pelton is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Lowdown, the world’s first review platform for contraception. It’s now the UK’s leading contraception and sexual and reproductive health platform, used by thousands of women every day to make informed decisions about their everyday health. The company is helping lead a new generation of period empowerment.
Aline Vedder: With a PhD in Neuroaesthetics, Aline is an investor with an impressive track record. Currently, she is Principle with LakeStar and previously worked with Munich-based Acton Capital Partners and Ananda Impact Ventures. She is passionate about impact investment, leveraging her knowledge of psychology and neuroscience to identify strong leaders and teams.
Alisée de Tonnac: Alisée de Tonnac is a Swiss entrepreneur who co-founded Seedstars World, a global startup competition covering 85+ emerging and developing markets. Alisée now serves as Seedstars World’s CEO, having been featured in Forbes, Le Monde and Wired.
Alix de Sagazan: Alix is the co-founder and CEO of AB Tasty, a global leader in feature management, experimentation and personalization solutions that enables companies to validate ideas, while maximizing impact, minimizing risk and accelerating time to market. She is also a board member of The Galion Project and an investor with Galion.exe and Side Capital.
Ana Wolsztajn: Leveraging over 15 years as an operator, founder and tech journalist, Ana is now investing in the angel and venture partner capacity in tech startups across Europe focusing on B2B SaaS, cleantech and healthtech. She was worked with a number of tech venture builders, accelerators, and tech event organisers in a variety of capacities and has been an influential connector between the wider startup community and the world of VC and media.
Angelica Kohlmann: Angelica founded Bloom Diagnostics in 2018 to enable people to take control of their own health through tech. After studying for her PhD in medicine, Angelica worked in cancer research before moving into the pharmaceutical industry and finally the VC space. After gaining experience with growth, exists and success stories, she decided to shift to digital health and become a founder. She is now a chairman of the Board of Directors for Bloom as well as Lonza.
Anna Brailsford: Anna is the co-founder and CEO of Code First Girls, as well as an Advisor at HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter. Code First Girls is a social enterprise dedicated to transforming tech by providing the skills, space and inspiration for women to become successful developers and future tech leaders. It’s made up of over 20k women, representing 58 nationalities.
Annalise Dragic: At age 29, Annalise Dragic was appointed Partner at Sapphire Ventures, making her Europe’s youngest VC Partner. She is involved in Sapphire’s investments in Adversity, Contentful, Currencycloud, GitGuardian, Matillion, Unmind, and Yapily, and worked on the firm’s investment in Cazoo (NYSE: CZOO) and Wandera (acquired by Jamf).
Aude Guo: Aude is the co-founder of Innovafeed, a startup that picked up one of the largest funding rounds in 2022 with a female leader. Based in Paris, the company is reinventing how we approach nutrition. It’s building a circular and zero-waste agri-food chain that reflects insects’ role in true, creating a new way of living with higher quality, sustainability and resilience. The company has now secured over $250 million.
Audrey Tsang: Co-CEO of femtech superstar, Clue, Audrey was the CPO before taking on the shared responsibility of leading the company. Previously, Audrey led products and teams at Pinterest, HotelTonight, and Yelp. Founded in Berlin in 2013, Clue is taking on the world by storm as the science-backed leader in femtech, helping over 12 million people with a cycle to understand their menstrual health.
Avent Bezuidenhoudt: CEO of Earth Capital, Avent is one of the UK’s leading water tech investors. She has over 25 years of experience in venture capital and is passionate about the sustainability sector. Prior to joining ECL, Avent was a Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group, an Assistant Director in the London Corporate Finance team at BDO UK and did advisory work with VCT funds and UHNWIs.
BaoY Van Cong: BaoY is a Partner at the international VC firm Target Global, an international investment firm headquartered in Berlin investing in European & Israeli tech companies. She is one of the leaders of the firm’s growth stage investment practice and focuses particularly on the edtech, consumer and software industries. She has participated in key deals such as Lepaya (where she is an Investor and Board Member), Crisp and Elopage.
Carlota Pi Amoros: Carlota is co-founder and Executive President of cleantech Holaluz, voted the most valued energy company in Spain. Carlota has grown a diverse team of 700+ people over the last 12 years, with a 50/50 gender divide.
Caroline Noublanche: CEO and founder of Apricity. Apricity is the world’s first virtual fertility startup. The app matches patients to world-class fertility experts and allows them to do as much of the IVF treatment from their homes as possible. Caroline works closely with some of the leading fertility researchers to better understand the factors affecting fertility and maximise the chances of conception.
Caroline Plumb: CEO of Gravita, Caroline has a track record of building and selling successful businesses having co-founded and sold the recruitment consultancy FreshMinds and then built the fintech business Fluidly, which was sold to Oaknorth, the challenger bank, in 2021. She is now chief executive of private equity-backed Gravita, a full-service accounting firm offering expert financial advice to growing businesses across all sectors.
Celine Lazorthes: The founder and CEO of Leetchi Group, which includes leetchi.com and MANGOPAY, Céline is deeply engaged in the startup community. She is also a founding member of France Digitale, an active business angel and a regular speaker on entrepreneurship and FinTech. She has invested in more than 40 companies such as Jimmy Fairly, Talent.io, Frichti, Le Slip Français and Tacotax.
Charlotte Baumhauer: In her role as Investment Manager with SquareOne, Charlotte is actively backing European tech companies that are positively influencing the world through climate tech innovation. Prior to this role, she worked with McKinsey, where she was part of the operations practice and mostly worked on projects in lean operations, supply chain transformations, and digital manufacturing.
Chelsea Slater: The CEO of InnovateHer, Chelsea is an active player in Europe’s startup ecosystem, helping more girls get involved in the tech industry. InnovateHer runs a school programme for 13-17-year-olds and consults with tech businesses on inclusivity. The vision is to equip young girls with the self-belief, confidence and skills to pursue a career in tech, whilst making the industry ready to take them on. Prior to this, she was the co-founder of Liverpool Girl Geeks.
Cindi Lindsborg: The head of Scania Ventures, Cindi is particularly focused on mobility solutions that are creating more sustainable futures. She is an experienced leader and management consultant, with a focus on strategy, digitization and innovation. She is especially experienced in approaching digital transformation and building strong, global teams.
Claire Novorol: Claire is a trained doctor, and served as a paediatrician in London before specializing in clinical genetics. In 2011, she turned her hand to entrepreneurship, becoming the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Ada Health. Based in Berlin, the global health company has been built by doctors to improve human health by transforming knowledge into better outcomes. It’s now counting over 13 million users and is available to 60 million users in total. It has conducted 31 million assessments.
Clara Chappaz: French Tech Director Clara Chappaz is a key figure in Europe’s startup ecosystem, heading up one of the continent’s most emblematic startup hubs. Prior to this, she grew Vestiaire Collective into one of the most iconic circular economy fashion brands. In her current role, she is a key part of supporting the French startup ecosystem growth, part of the Ministry of Economy & Finance.
Clare Jones: CCO of what3words, Clare joined the company in 2015. what3words is a geocoding system used by businesses and governments to operate more efficiently, and by individuals to find and share locations. Clare wants to ensure the concept has a positive impact on the world. She was featured in the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list for technology and is involved with London companies tackling social/environmental challenges.
Claudia de la Riva: Serial entrepreneur Claudia is passionate about finding and building solutions that improve welfare, quality of life and the development of people. She is the current CEO of Apolo Kids which is an exciting edtech startup based in Barcelona. Launched in 2020, the company motivates children through internet-based autonomous and on-the-go learning.
Cristina Bentue: Cristina is an increasingly powerful voice in the cybersecurity space as both an entrepreneur and tech leader as well as a mentor for young women and girls. She is co-founder and COO of IriusRisk, taking a small startup to a 150-strong team across three continents. She also is behind different initiatives and programmes to encourage more girls in STEM, giving them the tools and self-confidence they need to succeed.
Cristina Koehn: Cristina was made Partner and Head of Nordics By Picus Capital, tasked with opening up a new office in Stockholm in 2022. Previously she was the VP of operations at Kry, a Swedish unicorn, and she has built up an impressive wealth of expertise and experience in the entrepreneurial world.
Daisy Onubogu: COO of Diversity VC, Daisy is also Backed VC’s Head of Network and Community and a strong voice in creating a fairer and more diverse VC sector. Diversity VC is focused on building a network of VC professionals, working with universities and young professionals to help firms hire from more diverse backgrounds, and producing research to get a better understanding of the current state of the industry and how to improve it.
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill: Olympian turned entrepreneur, Jessica is now championing the use of tech to better women’s health and fitness. In 2019, she founded Jennis, a femtech startup aiming to improve knowledge around women’s health and training, drawing on her own experiences on the power of hormones and just how little women understand about their cycles.
Danila De Stefano: Danila is the founder and CEO of Unobravo, a company that is building an empathetic, clinically-backed and accessible end-to-end platform for mental health. Founded in 2019, the company is already the market leader in Italy with over 1 million sessions completed, over 2500 psychologists at work, more than 80k patients and a strong team of over 120 employees.
Deepali Nangia: Partner at Speedinvest, with a focus on investing in underrepresented and underfunded founders, Deepali is an inspiring angel investor. Deepali has co-founded Alma Angels, a free community of angel investors in support of female founders. Alma has invested close to €3.4 million into female founders since June 2020.
Diliara Lupenko: In 2019, Diliara Lupenko co-founded Impress, the Nº1 chain of orthodontic clinics in Europe with the aim of digitalising clinical work and creating great orthodontic treatments with the patient at the core. It raised the largest Series B in Southern Europe of €123 million in 2022.
Dr Fiona Pathiraja: Medical doctor turned investor, Fiona is a Partner of Crista Galli Ventures, a fund that invests in Seed and Series A in European healthtech. She worked in the NHS for over 15 years and first-hand saw the need for innovation and tech-driven solutions to mounting healthcare challenges. She is promoting healthcare innovation that is crucial for society’s health and wellbeing, she is advocating greater diversity and is actively bringing about change for good with her career.
Ekaterina Almasque: General Partner of OpenOccean VC, Ekaterina is a leading voice within European venture capital. Ekaterina was also recently part of the ‘Invest in Women NOW’ report calling for action from the European Commission to address inequities in funding for female-led firms. Ekaterina is on the board of IQM, the European leader for superconducting quantum computers, as well as several other companies.
Eleanor Kaye: Currently the Executive Director of Newton Venture Program, Eleanor is on a mission to level the playing field for people from typically overlooked backgrounds – ensuring that the next generation of venture investors represents the world we live in.
Emma Davies: Emma is co-CEO of Octopus Ventures, one of the largest VCs in Europe with £2 billion under management. Emma has a wealth of experience building world-class investment houses including J.P. Morgan, Perry Capital, Big Society Capital and The Wellcome Trust.
Erika de Santi: Erika De Santi is the Co-founder & International Expansion Director of WeRoad, a Milan-based startup specialising in group adventure travel for millennials. It’s providing a service tailored to a generation that is often finding themselves travelling solo – but looking for hyper-connected, personalised and fun experiences. It’s one of Europe’s fastest-growing travel operators, with offices in Italy, Spain and the UK, recently launched in Germany and France.
Eva-Valerie Gfrerer: Founded in 2020, Morphais is a firm based in Berlin and invests in exceptional founders, independent of their background. Morphais was launched by Eva to put the focus on the founder – not their background – to build world-class companies. A behavioural scientist and entrepreneur at heart, Eva is fascinated by the possibilities of predicting human behaviour with data.
Fariha Shah: Fariha has been a tech entrepreneur for more than 10 years, an angel and VC partner investor, a startup mentor, and diversity & inclusion ambassador (speaker and media contributor). Currently, Fariha is the CEO Investor and Consultant at SHAH Invest, and, Partner and investor with 50 Partners Impact. She was also the co-founder of Golden Bees.
Francesca James: Francesca is the founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and community. With a background in publishing and events, Francesca is passionate about telling the stories of entrepreneurs in an effort to support and champion their endeavours. Founded in 2013, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards acknowledges the hard work and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs and businesses in the United Kingdom.
Geraldine MacCarthy: The CRO of Personio, Geraldine is an international business leader with impressive experience building and scaling global companies. She advocates bringing a positive approach to creating high-performing and results-focused teams. In her role as CCRO for Personio, Geraldine is a key part of this company’s impressive growth and becoming Europe’s most valuable HR tech company.
Grace Beverley: Grace is the CEO and Founder of TALA and SHREDDY, as well as a popular podcast host where she delves into the world of female entrepreneurship and empowerment. Grace was named first in Forbes 30 under 30’s retail and e-commerce list, aged 23, has been ranked as the 26th most influential online creator by The Sunday Times, and featured in Glamour alongside Emma Watson and Rihanna as one of ‘the 10 amazing multi-hyphenates to be inspired by’.
Hélène Falchier: Partner at Portage Ventures, Hélène is an early-stage investor dedicated to backing the next generation of innovative, impact-driven companies, particularly in the financial sector. Hélène has been influencing the fintech space during her distinguished career, helping empower more female representation in this space.
Hélène Huby: Hélène is the founder of The Exploration Company, one of Europe’s fastest-growing spacetech companies. The former Head of Innovation at Airbus Defence and Space, she launched The Exploration Company to shape sustainable, scalable, and affordable space journeys made in Europe. Founded in 2021, the startup has already secured over $42.9 million and has partnered with the European Space Agency – ESA and ESA Business in Space Growth Network (BSGN).
Inka Mero: Inka is the founder and managing partner at Voima Ventures, a Finnish deeptech fund that’s on a mission to solve the big global challenges humankind is facing through science, entrepreneurship and capital. Inka is passionate about purpose-driven startups and how they are using digital tech to shape a better future.
Itxaso el Palacio: Partner at Notion, a leading European B2B SaaS-focused VC. Prior to this, Itxaso was the Investment Partner for M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) in Europe. Some of the most recent investments led by Itxaso include MyaSystems (conversational AI for recruiting), ForestAdmin (admin panel framework), Yulife (new life insurance provider), Onfido (identity verification platform), Unbabel (Machine Translation solution) and Beamery (CRM of recruitment).
Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch: Jacqueline is the Founder and CEO of Privilège Management SA, a wealth management company providing wealth management services for private and institutional clients. Jacqueline launched Privilège Ventures SA to support entrepreneurs, before embarking on the Privilège Student Ventures Initiative, which runs during the academic year to educate the young generation of students to become venture capital investors and/or entrepreneurs.
Jacqueline van den Ende: Jacqueline is an entrepreneur AND investor, passionate about high-impact and mission-driven business. She founded Carbon Equity in 2021, a fintech platform that seeks to power the world’s most impactful climate technology solutions with retail capital. She has spent much of her career in investing with experience as a partner with Peak Capital and an investor at HAL Investments.
Jane Reddin: Based in London, AlbionVC is helping to build the future of enterprise and healthcare and has over 20 years of experience making tech investments. As Talent and Platform Director, Jane helps invest in the best founders by assessing their leadership potential and advises the leadership teams to support and accelerate the rapid organisational scaling of companies.
Janneke Niessen: Janneke is a Founding Partner at CapitalT, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, board member and diversity advocate. She has started and exited two international tech companies, is a prominent board member for several organisations and is often called upon by the government for advice. Her expertise lies at the crossroads of technology, talent, investing and diversity
Jenny Saft: Jenny is the co-founder of Apryl, an employee fertility benefits platform that enables companies to support employees on their path to parenthood. Jenny also operates as an investor with Nucleus Capital and Atomico, looking to support impact-driven ventures. Previous to this, she worked with the likes of Adyen and Fyber.
Joanna Torngren Redebran: Joanna turned her curiosity for investment into a business idea, aiming to facilitate growth across Sweden’s tech ecosystem when she founded Nyfikna in 2021. The firm is becoming one of Sweden’s most impactful business-angel networks aiming to support early-stage startups. In 2022, it opened up its membership network to angel investors across Europe for the first time.
Julia Bijaoui: Julia founded Frichti in 2015 and has since grown it into a food delivery success story, finding the right ingredients to make ecommerce work. Frichti, based in Paris, handles everything from cooking to order to delivery and has secured over €43 million to date. Prior to embarking on his entrepreneurial experience, she was the Strategy and Operating manager fro Birchbox and a business developer with JolieBox.
Julia Hawkins: Julia is a General Partner who takes a particular interest in health, creative industries, mobility and fintech. She has backed companies such as Yulife, Vira and Hertility. Currently working with LocalGlobe and Latitude, she aims to back ambitious founders seeking to leave a positive impact and finds healthcare to be her number one priority.
Karoli Hindriks: Karoli founded her first company at just 16 and has always been ahead of game-changing trends. She founded Jobbatical in 2014 before international recruitment became a booming market, successfully pivoted the company in 2019, and has since scaled the company to global success. In 2020 she was named by the EU Council as one of the 8 most inspiring women in Europe.
Katrina Walker: After working as a data scientist in both the public and corporate sectors, Karina launched CodeOp, a venture-backed social venture focused on addressing the gender disparity in tech through technical training and game-changing partnerships with local and regional governments as well as NGOs and corporates. So far, the organisation has women, trans and non-binary people from over 70 different countries worldwide.
Kerry Baldwin: Kerry is the Managing Partner of IQ Capital, a deeptech early-stage VC based in Cambridge and London. She co-founded IQ Capital in 2006 and is one of the UK’s most experienced VC investors with over 24 years deeptech venture capital experience. She joined Venture Technologies in 1998, investing in the first wave of UK deep-tech companies.
Kristina Walcker-Mayer: Kristina has over 10 years of digital experience and is now the CEO and former CPO of Nuri, formerly called Bitwala. Before starting her roles at Nuri, she worked at German unicorns N26 and Zalando during their hyper-growth stages, where she led product teams for customer-facing mainstream products. Kristina has extensive career experience and knowledge in building up mobile strategies and creating innovative mobile solutions for major clients in the retail, television, NGO and automotive industries.
Laura Urquizu: Laura Urquizu is the CEO and President of Red Points. In 2020, Laura was named one of the 100 Leaders transforming business by Business Insider and among the most creative people by FORBES. Laura joined Red Points in 2014 as CEO & Partner, and during her time in this position, she has been the driving force in making the company a globally renowned SaaS solution. Previously Laura Urquizu held executive and management positions at Arthur Andersen, Caja Navarra & CAN Corporation.
Leila Maidane: Leila is the founder and president of Femmes Fieres, founder and CEO of begreator as well as a member of the WEgate Thematic Group on ‘digital & green transition of women entrepreneurs’. Femmes Fieres, launched in 2017 is an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports women to launch and grow impactful companies. Meanwhile, Begreator develops innovative solutions to address the digital skills shortage and increase diversity in the space.
Lina Chong: Lina joined Target Global in 2018 and is one of the leaders driving early-stage investments. She specializes in the growing areas of SaaS, Consumer Products and Web 3.0, and has worked with some big names in Europe’s startup ecosystem including TravelPerk, Fresha, Bloom and Kippah.
Lina Zakarauskaite: Currently Principal at Stride.vc, Lina has had previous experience as Head of Growth for Secret Escapes. Stride is a leading early-stage fund, backing healthtech startups. Lina is passionate about the power of healthtech, a vocal advocate for the NHS and public health, and believes the blockchain could hold the answers to some of the world’s current healthcare crises.
Linnéa Kornehed Falck: Linnea is the co-founder Deputy CEO, CMO and Board Director at Einride, an innovation-based technology company that helps shippers go sustainable through digital, electric and autonomous technology. As a member of the World Economic Forum’s tech innovators community, the ambition is to help accelerate the transition to new clean and resilient technology. Linnea is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology and creating a positive impact on the planet and society.
Lisa Barclay: Executive Director of Nesta Impact Investments, Lisa has driven business growth as an investor, advisor and manager for 20+ years. She is passionate about impact investments, having also worked as COO for Social Finance, Assistant Director for Bridges Ventures and Co-Foudner of EGS Group. Lisa is currently Board Observer for Koru Kids and backing startups like AirEx Technologies and Habitual Health.
Lisa Carter: Lisa is the founder of bootstrapped Discussion Box, a Bristol-based startup that helps global brands bring together high-level stakeholders for conversations that change historyDiscussion Box is currently the only black-woman owned and run business in the industry, and, in its first year of trading in 2021, it generated over €1.3 million. As well as being the CEO and founder of this venture, Lisa is also the founder and designer of the jewellery brand NIKAO, which Beyonce and Zendaya are fans of.
Lubomila Jordanova: Lubomila is the founder and CEO of Plan A, a science-backed and AI-drive Saas platform for business carbon accounting, decarbonisation and ESG reporting. A sustainability advocate, Lubomila also co-founded the Greentech Alliance, a community that connects over 3000 greentech companies to over 500 VCs, media and experts, and, she part of the Obama Foundation Leaders Europe programme, which aims to build a network of changemakers driving impact in their communities.
Luciana Lisandru: Partner at Sequoia Captial, Luciana partners with impactful European founders who are pioneering impactful change. She has invested in Series A at UiPath, Series A at Miro, Series B at Deliveroo, seed stage at Hopin, seed level at Tessian and more. Luciana has also been a Board Member for companies such as Miro, Tessian and UiPath.
Lucile Cornet: Partner at Eight Roads, Lucile is an impactful investor backing promising companies, particularly in the fitness and SaaS sectors. She has an extensive career in the investment space and is currently backing companies like Reveal, Amenitiz, Spendesk, Interaction and Fuse Universal. She previously worked as an Associate with Summit Partners and an analyst with Merrill lynch.
Lupina Iturriaga: Lupina began her professional career working in international banking, first in New York before returning to her home city of Madrid. She very quickly became a young expert in the financial world and advocates bringing people who are passionate and visionary into creating great teams. Lupina founded Fintonic in 2012, and within one year the startup had 70k users and 36k downloads for its solution that is helping users across the world manage their finances better.
Manon Sarah Littek: Founder of the Green Generation Fund and founder of Katjes Greenfood, Manon is passionate about growing impactful ventures in the foodtech and greentech spaces. She has been an active investor in shaping the food revolution across Europe and currently works with Upfield, Change Foods, Lypid and The Rainforest Company.
Marcia Kilgore: Marcia is the founder of Beauty Pie, a startup that is shaking up the beauty industry. Since 2016, Beauty Pie has been aiming to provide quality beauty products whilst prioritising female empowerment, encouraging self-worth and teaching women that they deserve what they work for. The startup has secured $100 million and Marcia is an influential figure encouraging more women leaders to find their self-confidence and glow.
Margo Polishchuk: Margo is the co-founder and COO of proSapient, a primary research and expert networking service for institutional investors, consultants, and corporate clients around the world. The firm aims to deliver actionable intelligence and relevant experts to clients, giving them an edge to reach their commercial ambitions.
Marie-Helene Ametsreiter: Marie-Helene is a renowned business personality and has been a trailblazing woman in the Venture Capitalist space. Now General Partner at Speedinvest, she is the lead partner of the Speedinvest Industrial tech team. She is an active voice advocating for more diverse representation in the EU startup and VC space. She is currently backing companies like Greyparrot, Fernride and CELUS.
Mariya Gabriel: Mariya Gabriel has served as European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth since 2019. She previously served as a Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2017. Currently, she is responsible for EU policies related to Horizon Europe (the EU R&I programme), research and innovation, the Erasmus+ programme, education, culture and sport. Under her leadership, the Digital Single Market of the European Commission became a reality.
Melanie Gabriel: Melanie is the co-founder and CMO of Yokoy, a Swiss fintech that leverages AI to automate corporate expense, invoice and credit card processes of midsize and large enterprises. She is a strong advocate for more diversity in the tech and innovation space as an active board member of WE SHAPE TECH.
Merit Valdsalu: Merit was one of the early employees at Pipedrive as Head of Localization and is now bringing disruptive solutions for corporate environmental action with Single.Earth. Single.Earth was founded in 2019 with the aim to make sustainable forest and land management the new norm.
Mette Lykke: The brain behind TooGoodToGo, one of Europe’s biggest names in the sustainability space, Mette is an inspiring founder. TooGoodToGo works with around 30K supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and hotels that have surplus food and leads a team of 400+ talented Waste Warriors. Previously she was co-founder and CEO of Endomondo, a successful social fitness community based on free real-time GPS tracking of running.
Michaela Eschbach: Michaela Eschbach is an experienced leader with an impressive background in the early careers and financial services spaces. As the CEO and co-founder of Workfinder, Michaela leverages strategic and financial leadership skills, combined with her entrepreneurial mindset, to lead the company’s growth and scaling efforts.
Michaela Jeffery-Morrison: The Founder and CEO of Ascend Global Media, Michaela is trailblazing new opportunities for women in tech. Ascend Global Media connects businesses with talent and talent with businesses, aiming to empower women and girls to join and succeed within technology, whilst working with businesses to adopt best practices, we can help create a fairer, more inclusive sector, which creates products fit for all.
Miriam Wohlfarth: Miriam is a serial founder and founded one of the first fintech companies in Germany – payment service provider Ratepay. With her latest company Banxware (founded in 2020), she revolutionizes the European lending sector and enables platforms to offer banking products. Miriam is committed to the startup ecosystem, cooperation between business and politics, and digital education through various advisory boards and initiatives.
Montse Suarez: Currently the founder of IRIS Ventures, Montse is an experienced industry expert with a distinguished career in the VC, private equity and investment banking industries on a global level. She previously founded Vaultier7, a consumer-focussed private equity firm that’s backed success stories like French fashion unicorn Vestiaire Collective. Currently, she’s backing startups like APircity, Olistic and Artemest.
Namrata Sandhu: Namrata is the impact-driven co-founder and CEO of Vaayu, a startup that is helping retailers track and cut their carbon emissions. She has over 17 years of international experience building, developing and implementing sustainability strategies across companies – focusing on climate change, carbon emissions, human rights, ESG reporting and ethical supply chains. She has worked with Zalando and Arcadia group to enhance their sustainability efforts and is also currently a board member of Nia, a platform that is supporting girls to be mentored and reach their dreams
Nana Addison: Founder and CEO at CURL Agency and CURL Con, Nana is a vocal advocate for making the tech industry more diverse and inclusive. Founded in 2018, CURL Con aims to bring more diversity to the cosmetics fashion and entertainment industries by highlighting the work and talent of black professionals and talent in the ecosystem. Also founded in 2018, CURL Agency is a Berlin-based international brand communications and consulting agency with a global reach. Nana is also a popular podcast host of the enlightening show, Young Broke and Sharp.
Niamh Sterling: Investment Consultant for Ireland’s largest angel network – Halo Angel Business Network (HBAN), Niamh is responsible for sourcing the best in deal flow and managing the overseas network of HBAN syndicates in Dubai, London, Singapore, New York and the West Coast US. She is a Senior Executive and Board Member with over 20 years of track record of assessing viability & building great companies into successful commercial players. Niamh was also the co-founder and director of Interact and H2O Solutions, both acquired by Bidvest in 2021.
Nicola McClafferty: Partner at Molten Ventures and board member of several startups, Nicola also founded Covetique, an online curated marketplace for pre-owned luxury fashion. Previously, Nicola was an Investor at Ravensbeck and Balderton Capital focusing on cross-platform media and ecommerce. Nicola also has experience as an investment banker with Jefferies in the Internet and Digital Media team.
Paulina Jänsch: Founding partner of Leanox Impact Capital, Paulina has a passion for backing sustainability-driven startups and supporting female empowerment. Leanox Impact Capital prioritises the founders and innovators that make a difference, are driven by purpose and look for impact beyond return. Paulina is also an active mentor at various startup organizations, NGOs, and universities. With Leanox’s latest fund, Paulina is aiming to attract more women to become investors and to achieve parity in the startup scene.
Rachel Delacour: Already a serial entrepreneur and leading female figure in European tech, in 2020, Rachel Delacour decided to take urgent action and help reduce the consequences of climate change by founding Sweep, a B2B software platform that lets companies understand, manage and reduce their carbon footprint. She has also been the co-founder of BIME Analytics (which was acquired by Zendesk) and a business angel and board member at multiple US and French startups.
Raja Skogland: Raja is an angel investor in 70+ startups and has been advising 1000s of founders since 2015. In 2020, she launched The Visionary Company to give founders access to the best practices and tools to accelerate their fundraising and scaling. Previously she was the CEO at TheFactory, one of the largest accelerators in Norway and she also launched thehub.io in Norway back in 2016, the largest job platform for startups in the Nordics.
Roberta Lucca: Roberta is the co-founder and CMO of Bossa Studios, angel investor and keynote speaker on the future of games, entrepreneurship and leadership. BOSSA is a BAFTA-winning independent games developer and publisher based in London. Driven by creativity, it takes a community approach to content and games development.
Sana Afouaiz: Sana is the inspiring woman behind Womenpreneur as well as an award-winning gender expert, women advocate and public speaker, she is also the author of “Invisible Women of the Middle East”. Sana established Womanpreneur in 2016, aiming to advance women’s place in the entrepreneurial scene, technology, innovation & society. She has also advised United Nations, European Commission, corporate institutions and organisations on gender issues and is the co-founder of Womenquake, a global movement, that revisits and critically examines the beliefs, myths and ideas about gender.
Sara Resvik: Sara is an experienced early-stage investor and leader with experience from BackingMinds, Industrifonden, Schibsted and Axel Johnson. Founded in 2016, BackingMinds was built on the thesis that the next unicorn will come from looking to the overlooked parts of Europe’s startup ecosystem. It recently closed a fund of €50 million.
Sarah Barber: CEO of Jenson Funding Partners, Sarah was part of the team responsible for creating the first Jenson SEIS Fund in 2012, to help startups raise capital through the scheme. She has been instrumental in the growth of the fund, leading the team in fundraising, deployment and managing the portfolio of investee companies utilising her experience gained as an FD.
Selma Prodanovic: Selma is the Vice-President of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), Co-founder & Board Member of the Austrian Angel Investors Association, and Founder & Board Member of 1MillionStartups. Since 2005, she has launched a dozen brands with her business creation and advisory boutique Brainswork.
Shrestha Chowdhury: Shrestha is the Co-Founder and CTO of Berlin-based razor, a startup that became a unicorn after just one year of operations. Shrestha moved to Berlin in 2020 from New Delhi, where she led technology and analytics functions at various e-commerce startups, including as Chief Technology and Product Officer at leading Indian e-commerce fashion-tech company StalkBuyLove.
Simone Brummelhuis: Simone is the founding Partner and Fund Director at the Borski Fund, a VC fund investing in technology leaders and diversity. Simone is a supervisory board member of Royal Schiphol Group, Rabo Amsterdam and Media Huis Nederland. She previously founded The Next Women, providing access to capital, programs, resources and networks for female entrepreneurs and is the founding investor and director of The Next Women Crowd Fund.
Sophie Hersan: Sophie is the co-founder and Fashion Director of Vestiaire Collective, the leading global online marketplace for preloved fashion. The company is certified B-Corp as it aims to transform the fashion industry. It counts over 23 million buyers and sellers and has a global reach with offices in Paris, London, Berlin NY, Hong Kong and beyond. Sophie founded the firm in 2009 and is passionate about creating a more sustainable future through the power of community.
Talia Rafaeli: Talia is a General Partner at KOMPAS, an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on investing in the startups that will lead the digital transformation and sustainability revolutions in major industry verticals. She backs ambitious founders who develop technology to transform buildings into more sustainable and healthy spaces, reduce the environmental impact of the construction and manufacturing industries, and transform the way modern organisations work.
Tugce Bulut: The founder and CEO of Streetbees, Tugce is passionate about the power of data and its positive impact. Before StreetBees, she was a strategy consultant advising technology and consumer companies on how to accelerate growth. Founded in 2015, Streetbees has now raised over $50 million for its AI-powered customer intelligence platform.
Vivienne Hsu: A strategic communications expert with 20 years working with both B2B and B2C organisations, Vivienne is currently co-founder and CEO of Anasbasis Partners, a Founding Member of Chief, and a mentor for startups and scaleups in the fintech space. In her current role with Chief, she is helping drive more women into positions of power and keep them there – it’s currently one of the few organisations designed for women executives, helping them to strengthen their leadership skills, magnify their influence and inspire others.
Yonca Braeckman: Yonca is the founder and CEO of Impact Shakers, a global impact ecosystem tackling societal and environmental challenges through inclusive entrepreneurship. Passionate about mission-driven projects and backing underrepresented founders, she has been a key part of developing more diversity in the Belgian and European Tech startup ecosystems. She has also been an adviser and mentor for startups, founders and budding entrepreneurs.
Yvonne Bajela: Yvonne is a Founding Member and Principal at Impact X Capital, a UK-based venture capital fund founded to invest in companies led by underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe. Recognized by ‘Forbes 30 Under 30′ in 2020, she has invested over $250 million in startups across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Yvonne is also a startup mentor, female founder coach and World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
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