Top 5: Female Founders in the UK
A look at some of the amazing females founding tech companies and products that are shaping the perception of the tech industry and women’s role within it.
5 min read
Before I go through this list, I am in no way saying these are the ‘top 5’ EVER, nor are they in order or who I think is the most important to the least. These are 5 women who I have noticed recently within the tech industry, who have founded companies and brought about innovations, ideas, and products that I think are unique and/or poignant. Please feel free to comment below any female founders, CEO’s, or other women in the tech industry who you think are inspiring, exceptional and making a difference.
1. Debbie Woskow OBE – Co-Founder of AllBright
Debbie Woskow is the co-founder of the company AllBright, a venture capital fund that invests in female entrepreneurs. The reason she is on this list is because during my research to find some inspirational tech female founder stories, I saw a range of articles expressing the limitations of female entrepreneurs in the UK, which could reflect the smaller number of female founders in the UK compared to male founders.
According to data from Barclays and the Entrepreneurs Network, as little as 9pc of the investment that poured into British start-ups in 2016 went to companies with a female founder. Debbie states that female founders are “underfunded even though they deliver great returns for investors” and hopes that her investment platform can change this for the future. It seems there is a total paradox between the benefits of female founders and the unconscious bias limiting investment in them. Whilst she is not directly related to the tech industry as such, she is an important female founder as she can open the gateway to women looking to start up and gain funding for a new technology (or other) business.
2. Priya Lakhani OBE – Founder and CEO of Century Tech
Century Tech leverage advanced technology to provide a top-tier education for every individual. They focus on the fact that people learn in different ways and want to create technology-based learning to help everyone get the chance to learn.
I think using technology to improve education is a great thing. Not only is education important in harnessing the potential of young children, but using different methods to teach is a great way to stop those who don’t align with more traditional methods give up with education. More children continuing and succeeding in education is a sure way to produce happier successful adults. Learning using technology is not only interesting and exciting, but it may also encourage girls (and boys) to gain an interest in technology itself, as well as an understanding of the technology. Using technology for education is also beneficial as it shows people that technology can be emotional and help people on a human level – something that isn’t always perceived in the industry.
3. Elizabeth Varley – Founder and CEO of TechHub
TechHub refers to itself as ‘the global community for tech start-ups’. It essentially helps nurture start-ups to grow and scale up, successfully. They create spaces for tech entrepreneurs to meet up, work together, learn, and collaborate. It connects entrepreneurs (and their teams if they have one) who are specifically working on tech-based products.
Having an organization that ultimately focuses on the success of tech start-ups is obviously great for the tech industry – as it will look to create more technology, and more jobs. It also highlights the collaborative and creative nature of technology, which is often overlooked when people think of the industry. They also run loads of great events, advice sessions and much more – which else develop the skills of all that are involved, plus increase awareness of the tech industry. Working alongside other tech lovers will encourage collaboration, which can help problem solve, and is ultimately better than working solely independently. Who knows what could happen if you decided to join?
4. Tania Boler – Co-Founder & CEO of Elvie
Elvie is a company behind ‘the new gadget for the embarrassing problem no woman wants to talk about’. Essentially, the company’s first product is a Kegel trainer. It is an egg-shaped, sensor-packed device, designed to ‘lift and tone' the pelvic floor. Your Kegels (or more commonly known, pelvic floor muscles) are located between the tailbone and pubic bone and are critical for bladder control and childbirth and important for a good sex life.
Health and technology are so interlinked, yet, in my opinion anyway, personal problems have never really been tackled in such a modern refreshing way. Tackling a taboo subject in an open and honest way, and focusing on the woman, is so progressive for the technology industry.
Elvie’s ambition is to become the world’s number one health tech brand for women, by offering intelligent and connected tools to improve women’s health on a global scale. They are all about helping women love themselves. The Kegel trainer looks like it will be the first of many products made by women, for women...and I love it, go on Elvie.
5. Emily Brook – Founder & CEO of Blaze
Blaze is cycling brand, focused on using innovation, technology, and design to make urban cycling smarter, safer, and more enjoyable. Their end goal is to increase more people cycling in cities, to ultimately have fewer cars on the road which will improve safety and environmental issues and to increase the health of individuals.
They have focused on technology to help improve the visibility of, and for, the cyclist. Their lights are brighter, last for longer, and mean you can see on a wider perspective and be seen on a wider perspective. Their laserlight, for example, uses a green projection of a bike to beam out of blind spots, junctions, and situations where you're otherwise unseen.
For me, I think it’s amazing to have a technology led brand and product that focuses on improving safety and environment in such a unique way. Blaze has also collaborated with bike share schemes, such as the Santander London Cycle Hire scheme administered by Serco, to kick start its focus on improving urban cycling.
Charlotte Anderson is a marketing enthusiast with a First Class Degree in Business from the University of Sussex. Currently, she is working as a digital marketer involved heavily with social media marketing and content creation, and hoping to gain further knowledge in coding and website development. Having written many essays around the subject of gender equality and representation in the media, she hopes to convey the passion for the subject through her blog posts with SheCanCode.