Tech Ireland, the not-for-profit tracking and serving Ireland's tech and innovation community, is launching a €100M campaign for female founders today, March 8, International Women’s Day.
With the launch of the €100M Campaign, TechIreland’s ambition is to track €100 million ($124 million) in funding for female founders in 2018, and to far exceed the 2017 figure they tracked of €79.4 million ($99.2 million).
In addition, Tech Ireland will be tracking the number of companies in Ireland founded by women, and the number of companies founded by women that receive funding. Last year those numbers were 18 and 49, respectively.
"TechIreland is unique as a data service that tracks innovation in Ireland so we’re in the prime position to track female funding throughout the year," said Niamh Bushnell of TechIreland.
"We also have strong relationships with many of the 299 female founder companies profiled on our platform and we feel it’s a responsibility, a duty, and an honor to track these companies’ progress and play our part in promoting seats at the funding table for female founders and cofounders."
She noted that there is already an impressive number of female-founder-focused initiatives making an impact on the funding landscape in Ireland with Enterprise Ireland leading the way.
"TechIreland will apply our platform, research and data science processes to helping all organizations involved in supporting female entrepreneurship measure their impact and double down their focus on the €100M target."
The five key steps forward are to:
- Encourage more funding for female founders
- Track of companies with female founders
- Regularly publicly promoting our progress in reaching our goal
- Encourage more females to start innovative companies and
- Encourage early-stage companies to seek female co-founders
TechIreland will act as advocate, spotlight, and connector - championing the mission, highlighting the work of female founders, and helping to introduce them to each other and to funding sources.
Venture capital firms already in support include Elkstone Capita, Tribal, Frontline Ventures, NDRC, Suir Valley and Draper Esprit.
Female founders in Ireland are applauding the initiative and speaking to its necessity.
Claire McHugh of Axonista (one of IrishCentral's 2018 Creativity & Arts honorees) said "I want to see an Ireland where our diverse population is fairly reflected in our industry. Being a founder gives me the power to drive that change."
"The thesis is simple: data favors companies with female founders yet less than 10% of venture dollars goes to companies with women on the founding teams, Andreea Wade of Opening.io pointed out. "Failure to recognize this by the investment community is just bad business."
"Supporting and investing in female founders isn't charity. It is an investment opportunity that is constantly overlooked," Trish Scanlon of SoapBox Labs commented.
"A diverse founding team that understands all markets and consumers is critical to prevent groupthink which limits a business’s potential. More than that, studies have shown repeatedly that female leaders run more profitable companies. Investing in companies with female founders just makes business sense."
What will 2018 be for female founders in Ireland? We'll be updating you on this TechIreland initiative.