The gender funding gap in Nordic startups

We’re excited to have once again collaborated with Unconventional Ventures to explore funding in the Nordics through the gender lens, and discover the untapped potential of the world’s most equal region.

The report looks at the gender split for VC funding in the Nordics, average round sizes for all-men, all-women and mixed gender founding teams, and some brand new findings on whether VCs with more gender diverse teams are more likely to invest in gender-diverse founding teams (answer below).
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The gender funding gap

In 2019 €3.2 B was invested in to the Nordic tech ecosystem. Looking at companies founded since 2010 with at least €0.2M total funding, we explored how the funding was distributed between companies founded by all-men teams, all-women teams and mixed gender founding teams.

See all funding rounds in the Nordics

While H1 2020 has looked promising, with the year yet to close out we have to be cautious about this figure. And looking over the last decade as a whole for the Nordics, we unfortunately can’t see a conclusive trend for improvement between funding for all-men teams, and teams with at lease one woman. In the last 10 years, all-men founding teams have never received less than 83% of Nordic VC funding.

Over the last 4 years all-women teams have received 2.2% out of the total €9.1 B invested into Nordic Startups.

Smaller cheque sizes

Looking at average round sizes, we also found that cheque sizes for all-women teams were smaller than their peers, with mixed teams raising the most capital. At Seed-stage, all-women teams raise just 75% of the all-men teams and 69% of mixed.

European benchmark

While there is still much improvement to be made, when we look at the distribution of startups founded since 2010 with at least €0.2M funding, we actually see that Norway and Iceland compare favourably to European neighbours. In Iceland 29% of funded startups have a least one woman co-founder, compared to 20% in France.

Spotlight on the decision-makers

As well as looking at where the funding is going, we explored the gender make-up of the funding decision makers. Analysing the VC funds that have taken part in one or more funding round of Nordic startups founded since 2010 we found a close correlation between who writes the cheques and who gets funding. Just 19% of the investment teams at corporates, Angels, CVCs and VCs that were eligible, were women.

Looking closer at the investment teams at eligible VCs, we found that the closer to decision making you go, the less gender diverse the team. While at junior level in the investment team women were relatively well represented at 36%, at Partner level that figure was just 100%.

Comparing the team make up with their investment decisions, we found a strong correlation for gender diversity of investment team, and gender diversity of their investment targets.

Statistically we found a meaningful correlation between team diversity and portfolio diversity.

Coefficient (r) 0.4507079592
N 77
T statistic 4.37254421
DF 75
P value 0.00003899905557


read the FULL REPORT
We think this is important research on diversity in the Nordic tech ecosystem, but next year we want to cover more than gender. That’s why earlier this year we introduced a new ethnicity field in our Dealroom user profiles that we’d like you to populate. Whether you’re a founder, VC, corporate exec or work in a startup, we’d like you to claim or create your profile on Dealroom, and help us gather the most comprehensive living dataset on ethnicity and gender in the tech industry, to enable us to hold ourselves as an industry to account.