European Female-Led Digital Deep Tech Startup & Scaleup Landscape

  • EIT Digital Accelerator publishes the second edition of its European Female-Led Digital Deep Tech Startup & Scaleup Landscape.
  • The landscape focuses on women deep tech entrepreneurs in the digital space.
  • Encouraging more female entrepreneurship could create 10.5 million jobs in the EU by 2050.
  • Highlighting the role models of female entrepreneurs is important to enable the ecosystem to unleash the human capital.

Earlier this year, the European Commission said that encouraging more female entrepreneurship could create 10.5 million jobs by 2050, boosting the EU economy by up to €3.15 trillion in the process.In addition to that, a recent report from the Innovation Finance Advisory for the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) highlights the ongoing challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in access to funding and support to create and scale their businesses. The report highlights the lack of female representation among both founders and investors as a contributory cause.

In the context of overall low numbers of female entrepreneurs in the European tech ecosystem, the recent final of the EIT Digital Challenge, a pan-European competition which focuses on digital deep tech ventures with exceptional potential to achieve considerable scale across Europe, showed encouraging results. The competition received 403 applicants from 12 European countries, and 40% of applicants, 55% of the 20 finalists, and 3 out of 5 winners (that is 60%) feature women as founders or C-level executives. That is a great testament to the growing share of female leaders in the digital deep tech ecosystem. 

"Gender balance is an issue in the industry and women are highly under-represented in digital, so we work really hard to address that all the way from our boardroom through to schools," Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital says. "The judging of the competition is purely done on quality, so it's a great reflection of the calibre of startups out there."

Promoting the role models of female founders and their companies is crucial for raising awareness about the gender balance in the ecosystem and aspiring more women to become entrepreneurs. In 2019, we launched the first edition of the European Female-Led Deep Tech Startup & Scaleup Landscape with the aim to highlight successful deep tech ventures led by female founders. Building up on that initiative, this year we’ve teamed up with Dealroom to build a more comprehensive and interactive landscape. It comprises 88 digital European companies with female co-founders. The companies employ over 6,000 people and have raised over €1 billion. 

The Landscape covers five key sectors that were chosen to reflect both key digital trends and areas where Europe shows leadership potential: Digital Tech, Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Finance, and Digital Wellbeing.

You can view an interactive version of the Landscape on Dealroom.

Did we miss a company here? Do you know a digital deep tech startup or scaleup with a female (co-) founder that should be included? Please nominate them by filling out this form.

The most represented areas of the Landscape are Digital Wellbeing and Digital Industry, which comprise respective 36% and 27% of the companies and raised in total of €630M funding. They are followed by Digital Tech (15%), Digital Cities (13%) and Digital Finance (9%). Several prominent examples of flagship female-founded scaleups can be found among the EIT Digital Accelerator supported companies and recent EIT Digital Challenge winners.

For example, Italian scaleup MIPU brings the power of AI into a wide range of industries, to transform collected data into valuable insights and boost manufacturing performance. MIPU’s CEO and Founder Giulia Baccarin is leading a diverse team of engineers with the goal to help factories and cities become more efficient and inclusive, while educating their people on the latest predictive techniques. The scaleup, founded in 2012 on Garda Lake, has over 260 customers, including brands like Alstom, ABB, Coca Cola, Pfizer, Schindler and Benetton.

Another prominent company is Dutch scaleup SwipeGuide, which provides intelligent work instructions and procedures via augmented apps to improve the productivity of factories and similar facilities. The company, which was founded in 2015, is led by serial entrepreneur Willemijn Schneyder-Valbracht and aims to change how we work and learn in manufacturing environments. The company has already earned an impressive array of clients, including PepsiCo, Heineken, and ABB, and in addition to winning the EIT Digital Challenge 2020, they were included in the Deloitte Fast 50.

Similarly, French scaleup and fellow EIT Digital Challenge 2020 winner Wishibam aims to transform the retail landscape by creating scalable marketplaces based on real-time store inventories. The scaleup, led by the Co-Founder & CEO Charlotte Journo-Baur, truly came into its own during the Covid-19 pandemic, when they powered the launch of Angers Shopping to provide an outlet for retailers whose physical stores were forced to close. The company aims to provide a more ethical, environmentally friendly, and human-focused alternative to the Amazon-driven world that so many have turned to during the various lockdowns experienced during 2020. The platform clearly struck a chord with shoppers, with over 570,000 visits in the first week alone.

In the next  article of these series that will be published shortly, we will explore the stories of some of the makers that have been growing their companies with support of EIT Digital Accelerator. In the meantime, if you’re a digital deep tech startup or scaleup with a female (co-) founder and want to be included in the Landscape, please fill this form.

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