In the German FinTech environment, according to CB Insights (only) N26, Mambu, Wefox and Deposit Solutions managed to crack the 1 billion company valuation And with that, congratulations go to Valentin, Maximilian, Eugene, Julia, Frederik, Julian, Tim and your teams! A double congratulations goes to Julia, because she succeeded in two things: not only did you lead your company to the top, you are also the only woman in the circle of the mentioned entrepreneurs. You first have to manage that – and in Germany anyway.

Facing the FinTech reality

According to Barkow Consulting’s Fintech Money Map, 105 FinTechs were founded in Germany in 2019. If we take the cross-sector share of female founders, only every sixth FinTech (17/105 FinTechs) is co-founded by a female founder. The numbers look even more dramatic when you look at startups launched by an all-female team. Only every 25th business (4.2/105) is set up exclusively by female founders without men in the founding team.

Thesis 1: Conversely, this means that 88 out of 105 FinTechs are all-male cliques. To make it even more vivid: With 900+ FinTechs in Germany, that’s like 756 gentlemen’s clubs.

Figure 1 Because we do not grasp what diversity can mean: 88/105 to 17/105

Hardly any female founders and investors

Medially, financing rounds and unicorns get the most attention. In this cosmos, venture capital firms distribute the play money and thus play a decisive role in determining the chances of success and market developments. At the same time, interesting things can be observed: There are not only few female founders, but also few female investors who enable female founders on the funding side. Now the change of perspective … and the picture is completely different! There are as many founders as there are investors.

people holding shoulders sitting on wall

Hypothesis 2: There is a correlation between the number of female founders and the number of female investment partners.

For example, according to Barkow Consulting’s Fintech Money Map, DvH Ventures was the most active FinTech investor in the German market in 2019. The investment team and founders of the portfolio companies on the website? You can guess: All men.

Various teams are more successful

This imbalance is therefore unfortunately surprising in a negative sense, since studies have long shown that German companies are twice as likely to be above average in terms of profitability. This should also apply to investment teams. Why do we (still) not use the success lever?

white ceramic piggy bank

What does that mean? Female founders are often confronted with questions about potential losses in the fundraising process, while male founders are more likely to answer approving questions about potential gains. It reinforces the character differences (perceived by the investor) between founders. In addition, female investors are more likely to invest in (pre-)seed and A rounds, according to an evaluation of the Global Women VC in Directory.

Thesis 3: Founders (over)assess themselves and their business potential with more self-confidence than do female founders.

But but but … today is International Women’s Day and it also serves to make female FinTech founders visible and to specifically search for committed women in the venture capital environment. And lo and behold, the Global Women in VC Directory lists more than 3,000 women – including German ones – who make investment decisions for institutional investors, corporations or family offices.

Making women even more visible

The UK is one of Europe’s startup hotbeds. At the same time, it is also worth taking a look at the non-profit organisation Diversity VC. The
Initiative connects venture capital professionals with each other and with diverse founding teams, assists in hiring diverse VC team members, and collects data to drive awareness. At the end of 2020, 15 funds in Europe and Canada committed to the Diversity VC Standard. On the way to certification, policies and practices of venture capital firms are reviewed. Sara Turner – also UK based – achieves similar things in the business angel environment with Angel Academe.

After 2020, the Business Angel Netzwerk Deutschland (e. V.) is also proclaiming 2021 as the “Year of Women Business Angels”. The aim of the initiative is to increase the proportion of female business angels in Germany to 25 percent by 2025.

Women founders strengthen women founders

In its position paper, the Young Digital Economy Advisory Council of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology also calls on the federal government to make unconscious bias training mandatory for educators, teachers, lecturers and professors. More importantly, however, the Council also calls for the provision of nationwide workshops for female coders and founders and for the visibility of female founders. In addition, social structures need to be strengthened in order to create an equal distribution of tasks between men and women in the area of childcare and other care work.

The call to female founders to “stop speaking on all-male panels,” also invites founders.

Venture capital firms are likewise being called upon to train away automatic stereotypes and other faulty, subconscious biases in perception, as well as to commit themselves to a diversity quota in their own investment teams and portfolio companies. Female founders should also pay attention to diversity in their shareholder lists and teams, become more visible on stages colleagues and themselves to lead the way as role models. The call to female founders to “stop speaking on all-male panels,” also invites founders.

These women are already making their mark today

  1. Caroline Bell formerly Finmarie
  2. Leonora Beyhl, Landopay
  3. Anne Connelly, and Fund Women
  4. Alexa Cotiaux, Uplyvt
  5. Martina Gstöttmayr from Uplyvt
  6. Karolina Decker, Finmarie
  7. Diane Delava, Mattrvest
  8. Jennifer Dussileck, finway
  9. Andrea Fernandez, Alice
  10. Lea Frank, Anybill
  11. Carolin Gabor, formerly Jonkoo
  12. Lena Hackelöer, Brite
  13. Jessica Holzbach, Penta
  14. Naomi Jaguttis, bill.less
  15. Julia Profeta Johansson, Remagine
  16. Katharina Young, Kuno
  17. Lena Justen, formerly fino
  18. Christine Kiefer, RIDE Capital
  19. Rukayyat Kolawole, Paceup Invest
  20. Susanne Krehl (stealth mode)
  21. Katrin Lech, bill.less
  22. Maria Mann, Financery
  23. Karin Garcia Moreno (stealth mode)
  24. Sofia Nunes, Mambu
  25. Salome Preiswerk, Whitebox
  26. Léonie Rivière, heyfina
  27. Marie Louise Seelig, Acatus
  28. Aiga Senftleben, Billie
  29. Lisa Sorg from Visionaries Club
  30. Ines Streimelweger from Creandum
  31. Şebnem Elif Kocaoğlu Ulbrich, Contextual Solutions
  32. Natasha Wegelin, Madame Moneypenny
  33. Miriam Wohlfahrt from Banxware and Ratepay
  34. Leah Marie Zeppos (stealth mode)

    Top FinTech Women Investors:
  35. Charlotte Bruce of Cherry Ventures
  36. Dr. Tanja Emmerling from High-Tech Gründerfonds
  37. Ulrike Hinrichs of the Federal Association of German Equity Investment Companies
  38. Fabiola Hochkirchen from Auxxo
  39. Kiana Mardi from Alstin Capital
  40. Dr. Gesa Miczaika from Auxxo
  41. Rina Obi from Global Brain
  42. Nina Rinke from Earlybird
  43. Daria Saharova from Vito one
  44. Bettine Schmitz from Auxxo
  45. Romy Schnelle from High-Tech Gründerfonds
  46. Olga Shikhantsova from Speedinvest
  47. Eva-Juliane Stark from Venture Ladies
  48. Dr. Aline Vedder of Ananda Impact Ventures
  49. Marie Wennergren from Fly Ventures
  50. Miriam Wohlfarth from Banxware and Ratepay

… and many more. Do you know of other female role models with a FinTech focus? Please let me know for more ‘Julias’ in our FinTech scene.