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Women-founded startups: Europe

In the last 10 years, the share of venture capital investment raised by women in Europe has doubled. The number of women-founded unicorns has increased 10x. And there are also more than 600 European venture funds with women amongst their partnership.

Explore the trends and dynamics of European startups founded and co-founded by women, how things have changed, and the challenges that remain.

Venture capital

Women in European tech: 2014-2024

Startups founded and co-founded by women accounted for 9.6% of all venture capital raised in Europe in 2023.

A lot can change in a decade. In the last 10 years, the share of VC investment being raised by women has doubled in Europe. However, despite a lot of chat and various initiatives to encourage women in entrepreneurship, this share has now distinctly stalled. The share has largely been stuck around 10% since 2017.

In addition there remains a gap between the share of number of rounds raised by women and the share of investment by amount overall. This means that rounds raised by women-founded startups skew smaller and earlier stage than the average.

See below for a breakdown of VC amounts and rounds by deal size.

Take a closer look at Europe's women-founded startup investment here.

Country benchmark: women-founded startups across Europe

The volume and share of investment of going to women-founded startups varies widely from one country to the next. Usual suspects, including more mature ecosystems like the UK, and DEI frontrunners in the Nordics, do not substantially lead when it comes to the role and place of women founders.

Explore how much of VC and rounds raised went to companies with a minimum of one woman (co-)founder across Europe, between 2019-2023.

*Lithuania had two large rounds raised by Vinted in the last 5 years which made up a substantial share of Total VC raised.


By industry

There is a difference in industry focus for women (co-)founded startups. Health remains the number 1 industry for both total VC and number of rounds. A closer look at industry amounts can be taken here.

Business focus

See below for the differences in business focus for women founded startups.

Explore all female founded VC rounds for the last 5 years here.

Unicorns founded by women

For a startup and their founders, joining the unicorn club remains a key sign of success.

There are now more than 35 European unicorns founded by women - this is almost as many as the entire European unicorn total by the end of 2013 (41).

See below how the number of female founded unicorns has grown over time.

These companies are concentrated geographically in Central Europe, however when considering the percentage these companies make up out of total unicorns, the picture changes.

Explore Europe’s Female Founded Unicorns here.


Women-founded startups across Europe

Use the interactive map below to explore startups (co-)founded by Women across Europe's top hubs.

Tracking Innovation from Women Founders

Some ways to track innovation in the industry is to look at patents and also where people with specialised PhDs go on to work. Both of these can be explored on the Dealroom platform - woman founded companies with patents here and woman founded companies where a founder holds a PhD here.


At Dealroom, we took a look at hundreds of thousands of companies to identify more than 12,000 European companies that we consider female founded in partnership with the Female Foundry. To receive the 'woman founder' tag, companies must:

- be a startup according to the Dealroom definition
- have at least one (co-)founder identified as a woman.

For more in-depth insights on the patterns, challenges, and milestones faced by female founders, we encourage you to delve into the detailed analysis presented in the full State of Gender Diversity report published by Female Foundry.


Related Content

  • Dealroom data: Explore all funded companies with a female founder
  • The landscape of women-founded scaleups and investors in Europe: Explore the full report published by EIT Food and Dealroom, mapping European women-led scaleups and their significance.
  • Taxonomy: Learn how Dealroom defines its entities, taxonomy, filters and more here