Santander Women Now: Female-founded startups are the new tech frontier

More than 100 experts from around the globe gathered in Madrid during three days for the Santander Women Now Summit. The event, which was celebrated in the Reina Sofía Museum, served as a platform to debate on the role of women in society. During the summit, Iren Reznikov, a partner at RED Capital Partners, gave a talk titled “Female-founded startups: the new tech frontier”, where she pointed out that investing in female-led companies is a winning business strategy.

In this sense, she recalled that despite venture capital overall has boomed in recent years, the figures for female founders haven’t leapt forward at the same pace. In 2018, only 2.2% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups was channeled towards companies founded by women, according to Pitchbook Data. As a result, many female-led companies resort to alternative routes of funding (angel investing, grants, etc).

Despite the lack of funding, there are prime examples of successful female-led startups across a variety of industries, such as consumer applications (Rent The Runway and Glossier -both of which recently entered the Unicorn club-, Canva, Eventbrite and Houzze), Smart Mobility (Didi, Grab), and Enterprise (C3IoT, Cloudflare, Darktrace).

Investors are missing an opportunity to generate outstanding returns by backing these type of companies, Iren said, because the majority of them are usually reactive rather than proactive when looking for female-led opportunities. “Understanding these trends affects our ability to realize the untapped market opportunity that others are missing,” Iren concluded.

More information

ABC article: “The feminine big bang”

Mujer Hoy article: “Women now Madrid, capital of the European women”

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