Women make up just 4% of UK tech startup founders — CodinGame

Released on International Women’s Day, the research from CodinGame also found that only seven of the 137 businesses identified by Deloitte and The Sunday Times as the fastest growing tech companies in the UK have female founders or co-founders.

Those start-ups being led by a woman include Elvie, a company creating tech products for women, Phrasee, an AI copywriting tool, and SEO agency Seeker Digital.

What’s more, just one tech firm in that entire list, Buddi, a personal emergency alarm system, was founded solely by a woman, with Sara Murray launching the company in 2005.

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

“On the day that women’s achievements are being celebrated across the globe and gender inequality is being challenged, our research should shame the tech sector,” said Aude Barral, co-founder of CodinGame.

“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.”

Human-centric innovation: how to drive a trusted D&I future

Fujitsu’s Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing – Kelly Metcalf – shares her top predictions for D&I in 2021. Read here

These findings from CodinGame follow the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review, published last month, which showed that over a third (34%) of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women.

The report declared an increase of 50% over the past five years, and said this showed a dramatic shift in female representation at the very highest levels of British business, but CondinGame research has revealed that founders of UK tech start-ups are still predominantly male.

Barral continued: “The Hampton-Alexander review last month showed that progress is being made in addressing gender diversity in the higher positions within FTSE 350 businesses, but the tech sector across the board, from working for a tech company to running one, is making slow progress on gender equality.

“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. The tech industry may claim they are taking the gender diversity issue seriously, but very little seems to be changing. In the meantime, women are missing out on the tech boom.”

Avatar photo

Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.