Call it an “old boys’ club” or “brogrammer culture,” there’s no denying the tech world is still dominated by men. Much has been written about the industry’s lack of diversity, of course. Most tech companies are run by men, and female role models are few and far between.
According to a report by The World Bank, women make up less than a third of the world’s workforce in technology-related fields. In the European Union, they make up just 17% of the ICT (information and communication technology) sector.
This gap grows further at the executive level, where women hold a mere 11% of leadership positions. To add insult to injury, Atomico’s State of European Tech report revealed the proportion of funding raised by women-only teams has dropped from 3% to a paltry 1% since 2018. And, those who do receive funding, get less than male-led teams and mixed men and women-led teams. Sigh.
The statistics remain grim, even though countless studies show the most diverse tech companies consistently outperform homogenous ones. In a global analysis of 2,400 companies conducted by Credit Suisse, organisations with at least one female board member yielded higher return on equity and higher net income growth than those that did not have any women on the board.
And when VCs invest in women-led companies, they also make more money. Research shows that female leadership impacts business performance and overall growth. A survey conducted by BCG and Mass Challenge found women-run businesses deliver higher revenues—more than twice as much per dollar invested.
The following three women—Anne Boden, founder of Starling Bank; Victoria van Lennep, co-founder of lending platform, Lendable; and Dr Loubna Bouarfa, founder and CEO of OKRA Technologies—are living proof that women-led companies are ready to disrupt, innovate, and elevate the tech world. Better yet, all three are currently hiring.
1. Starling Bank
Anne Boden is quite the glass ceiling breaker. When Starling Bank gained its banking licence in 2016, she became the first woman in history to start a British bank. Since then, she has led her team to launch the UK’s first mobile current accounts, entered a partnership with the Post Office, raised over £300 million in funding, and opened three offices. Now, Starling employs more than 2,000 people and has over three million accounts.
“The vast majority of people in this industry are men in their early thirties, with beards. People don’t expect a fintech entrepreneur to be me,” said Boden, in The Times. “I think it’s harder when you stand out, but I’d much rather stand out by being the only woman who’s started a bank in the UK.”
Sound like the kind of leader you’d like to work for? Starling is looking for an Infrastructure Engineer to join its bank in London. Open-minded when it comes to hiring, Starling cares more about aptitude and attitude than specific experience or qualifications. It’s very open about how it delivers software. It believes in clean coding, simple solutions, automated testing and continuous deployment. If you care enough to find elegant solutions to difficult technical problems, Starling would love to hear from you. Find out all you need to know about this exciting role here.
Just as Starling Bank won plaudits when it announced in 2020 that it was profitable after just three years, leading AI-powered consumer finance platform, Lendable, was quietly generating money with earnings well-ahead of most European unicorns.
Launched in 2014, and co-founded by Victoria van Lennep, its mission was to undercut traditional banks by offering competitive rates and fast-tracking applications. Now, it approves a new loan every 30 seconds, employs over 200 people, and has appeared in The Sunday Times Top 10 in Tech, ranking by fastest-growing sales.
Lendable is hiring a new Senior Data Scientist for its team. This role sits at the heart of the brand’s USP, developing the credit risk models to underwrite loan and credit card products. If successful, you will have access to the latest machine learning techniques, combined with a rich data repository to deliver the best in market risk models. Is your interest piqued? Read all about the role here.
3. OKRA Technologies
OKRA Technologies is a leading provider of AI-driven analytics for global life sciences. The company was founded by Dr. Loubna Bouarfa in 2015, with the vision of moving the healthcare industry towards a future of personalised medicine powered by explainable AI.
Dr. Bouarfa’s goal has always been to ensure that AI makes us more intelligent as humans, and empowers us to make better decisions. She has been instrumental in building the OKRA Explainability Engine which empowers users by providing explanations behind the outputs of AI systems.
Last year, OKRA made the 2022 Deloitte Tech Fast 50 list for the fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, and it also beat 70 startups from 20 different European countries to claim the prize for Best Female-Led Startup at the StartUp Europe Awards.
The company is currently looking for a Junior/Senior NLP Data Scientist to join its Leiden team in the Netherlands. As an NLP Data Scientist at OKRA, you’ll play a critical role in designing and building solutions using the leading AI engine for healthcare and life sciences.
You will build new capabilities that can be leveraged to capture insights in unstructured free-text data to drive appropriate actions and desired outcomes. In this role, you’ll be working closely with the executive team, who have experience implementing machine learning tech in real-world applications for over 15 years, turning research into commercial reality. Sound like your kind of role? You can apply here.