All-male teams get 93% of money

Written by Julian Blake, Editor, DigitalAgenda

Ninety three per cent of the money invested in European tech goes to all-male teams, with half of women in the sector reporting discrimination in tech business, one of the continent’s most respected venture firms said last week, as it released a ‘state of European tech’ report alongside a guide to boosting diversity in the sector.

Europe “must urgently fix its diversity and inclusion problem,” influential VC firm Atomico said last week, as it released new figures showing the extent of the challenge facing the industry on investment and business practice.

Atomico, led by Skype founder Niklas Zennström, made the call as it released its annual State of European Tech report. It paints a picture of a European tech community that is dominated by men, across a series of key metrics:

– all-male founding teams receive 93% of the capital invested and account for 85% of deals 

– one female CTO out of 175 CTOs that work at VC-backed European tech companies that raised a Series A or Series B in the past yea

– women account for just 22% of participants in tech-related Meetup events in the region.

“The entire ecosystem as a whole needs to challenge itself to make concrete commitments and change,” Zennström wrote in the Euro tech report.

check warner diversity vc

Check Warner (pictured) of Diversity VC, a London non-profit set up to create a more diverse venture capital market, said: “Europe is not necessarily tangi

bly better or worse than other tech hubs – however, given that Europe is such a diverse range of geographies and people this should be a key strength. I am encouraged to see the subject of diversity and inclusion appear on the agenda of more tech companies and more VCs over the last 12 months and to see so many funds participating in initiatives led by Diversity VC and others.

“I hope that this translates to sustained and impactful change – the first step though is understanding the situation as it is today, which is why Atomico’s commitment to this subject is so encouraging.”

There has been rising concern about not just the injustices of a lack of diversity, but also its effect on business. A report last month from Tech London Advocates said that a more diverse workforce was essential if London was to reach a target of a million tech jobs by 2023, while Tech Nation research concluded that gender-diverse boards earn more, and internationally diverse boards raise more capital.

In short: diversity is good for tech business, and good tech business is encouraging it.

Atomico has teamed up with Diversity VC on a new guidebook offering “a practical resource for entrepreneurs to plan and implement diversity and inclusion in their companies”.

The pair say their new diversity and inclusion guidebook is “a central place for technology companies large and small to find pragmatic, actionable advice for planning, implementing and measuring their D&I strategy”.

Emphasising positive trends in its guidebook launch, Atomico said that “people are changing their behaviour. We want to help them continue that change with this report and we encourage founders to #StartToday.”

“The massive weight of news coverage on this issue is negative,” Atomico added. “We want to have a positive conversation about positive change.”

Diversity guidebook – top 3 takeaways

  • 8 case studies, including from Monzo, iZettle, Streetbees and Memphis Meats, talking about the importance of diversity and inclusion in their companies and what they’ve actually done about it
  • 25 contributors from across the tech industry, including Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Alice Bentinck of Entrepreneur First, Henry Davis of Glossier and more.
  • Tools and resources for founders, diversity and inclusion leads and employees, on how to build consensus and make the business case for and plan out diversity and inclusion strategies, and implement across hiring, assessment and product design.

For the first time in 2019, DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards recognise efforts to boost diversity and inclusion in the UK tech sector. A diversity award, sponsored by BCS, is one of 12 tech-for-good awards and is open for entries until Friday 21 December.

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