Digital Revolution: Women Tech Leaders of 2018
Tuesday marked 100 years since some British women were first given the right to vote. This landmark moment paved the way for universal women’s suffrage across the UK. It’s an important time to reflect on the progress that has been made, to call for change and highlight the achievements of extraordinary women.
In technology, we see more women than ever starting their own company. Despite significant barriers, such as the huge gender gap in computer science, all-male funding teams at VCs and industry-wide harassment, these women defy these obstacles and challenge gender inequality.
Here we celebrate the achievements of inspiring female British entrepreneurs paving the way for women in tech in 2018.
Jules Coleman and Alex Depledge, Co-Founders of Hassle
Jules Coleman and Alex Depledge started on-demand cleaning startup in Hassle in 2013. Described as ‘Hailo for cleaners’, the company currently operates in 14 countries, and raised $6 million from Accel Partners before it was bought in July by Berlin-based competitor Helpling, in a cash and shares deal which valued the business at a reported €32 million.
Now the pair have teamed up again to launch BuildPath, to help reinvent home extensions.
Emily Brooke, Founder of Blaze
Emily Brooke is the founder and CEO of Blaze, a London startup that has built a laser bike light that can help save cyclists lives.
Brooke was part of EF’s very first cohort, designing a “Laserlight” which improves ride safety by projected a green laser image five to six metres in front of the cyclist.
In 2015 it was announced that every “Boris Bike” in London was fitted with the Blaze Laserlight, in a deal said to be worth £1 million.
Anne Boden, Founder of Starling Bank
Anne Boden is the founder and CEO of Starling Bank a licensed digital-only challenger bank. Previously, Anne was COO of Allied Irish Banks and Head of EMEA, Global Transaction Banking across 34 countries for RBS and ABN AMRO
Headquartered in London and operating as one of a few British financial technology startups, Starling is looking to disrupt the incumbent financial systems and challenge traditional corporations. Since its founding, it has received significant funding, including $70 m of investment in early 2016.
In July 2016, Starling received its banking licence from the Financial Conduct Authority.
Jessica Butcher, Co-Founder of Blippar
Jessica Butcher is the Co-Founder of Blippar, one of Britain’s best-funded technology scale-ups. Blippar is a technology company specialising in augmented reality, AI and computer vision. Since 2011, Blippar has been developing world-leading augmented reality technology.
Jess has in turn, managed the commercial, marketing and communication functions of the business earning Blippar 60M+ consumer downloads in <5 years and a blue-chip client roster. The business is currently 300 staff strong across 14 international offices.
Leanne Kemp, Founder and CEO of Everledger
Leanne Kemp is Founder and CEO of Everledger a startup that uses the blockchain, the ledger of all bitcoin transactions, to make a public record that valuable diamonds can be registered to, recording their unique characteristics. Everledger has so far registered 1.6 million diamonds on a blockchain. Entries on the digital record include dozens of attributes for each diamond, including the color, carat, and certificate number, which can be inscribed by laser on the crown or girdle of the stone.
Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and CEO Unruly
Sarah Wood founded video ad tech company Unruly, a startup which helps video adverts go viral.
Unruly, which works in 15 countries with more than 200 staff, champions diversity in the workplace — half her employees are female — and has set up mentoring programmes to help women become more confident in business.
Wood sold Unruly to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2015 for £58m.
Noor Shaker, Co-Founder and CEO of GTN
Noor Shaker co-founded GTN, as part of the Entrepreneur First programme, a startup that revolutionises drug discovery through novel quantum machine learning technology. GTN’s focus is on finding and optimising leads through advanced quantum-based representation of molecules and efficient AI for searching and sampling larger small-molecule drugs.
Before starting GTN Ltd, Noor was an assistant Professor at Aalborg University in Copenhagen working on machine learning, artificial intelligence and data mining. She has had more than 50 publications in these different areas including co-authoring a book on generative systems in games. Noor has won a number of best paper awards and grants for her master, Ph.D. and postdoc research.
Melissa Morris, Founder and CEO Lantum
Melissa Morris is CEO and Founder of Lantum. Lantum is a powerful platform which connects doctors and empty shifts in hospitals and GP practices. Lantum is saving the NHS millions annually and disrupting the medical labour market by providing the healthcare profession with with modern tools to manage staffing.The startup has raised £5.3 million.
Robyn Scott, Co-Founder and CEO of Apolitical
Robyn Scott is Co-founder and CEO of Apolitical, a global network for government, helping public servants find the ideas, people and partners they need to solve the hardest challenges facing our societies. Robyn previously co-founded OneLeap, a London based executive education company, and Level Up, which teaches coding to vulnerable young people in South Africa. She has written an acclaimed memoir about growing up in Botswana. She is an ambassador for the Access to Medicine Index, an advisor to the Responsible Mining Index, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Gates Scholar.
Aneeqa Khan, Founder and CEO of Eporta
Aneeqa Khan is the Founder and CEO of Eporta, an online marketplace for interior designers and architects. Khan came up with the idea for Eporta while working at Zoopla, where she helped lead the company’s IPO.
Saasha Celestial-One, Co-Founder and COO of Olio
Saasha Celestial-One is Co-Founder and COO of Olio, a food-sharing startup that lets you share food with friends and neighbours so it doesn’t go to waste.
Saasha previously worked at Morgan Stanley and completed her MBA at Stanford.
Jenny Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Snap Tech
Jenny Griffiths is the Founder and CEO of Snap Tech, originally a shopping platform that lets you find items by colour and shape. The company has now expanded to general visual search, offering tools which publishers and retailers can add to their own sites.
Jenny Griffiths started working on the idea whilst studying computer science at the University of Bristol. She went on to take on various software engineer roles at bigger firms like defence firm Thales, before starting Snap Tech.
Phoebe Chibuzo Hugh, Co-Founder and CEO of Brolly
Phoebe Chibuzo Hugh co-founded Brolly, as part of the Entrepreneur First programme, the UK’s first artificially intelligent insurance advisory app. Customers have all their insurance in one place, and can easily access and manage their policy details and documents through the app.
Phoebe previously worked for Aviva as an underwriter for several years before recognising the opportunity to start Brolly.
Brolly has already received £1m in seed funding in a round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and tech VC Pi labs.
Cherry Freeman, Co-Founder and Director of LoveCrafts
Cherry Freeman is the Founder and Director of LoveCrafts, a marketplace for craft products, focused on knitting and crochet. LoveCrafts builds communities around different kinds of crafts rather than serving as simply an online store. LoveCrafts runs two online communities: kntting and crochet. Last year the company raised £26 million in funding.
Before LoveCrafts, Freeman worked in operations and consultancy, and was previously an adviser at ILK Partners.
And our very own Alice Bentinck 🙂
Alice Bentinck MBE, Co-Founder and CPO of Entrepreneur First
Alice Bentinck MBE is the Co-Founder and CPO of Entrepreneur First (EF), EF supports the world’s most ambitious technologists to build their own tech startups from scratch. EF has £50m under management and has built more than 100 startups in London and Singapore. Significant exits include Magic Pony Technology ($150m to Twitter) and Represent ($100m to Custom Inc). EF’s investors include LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Greylock Partners, alongside Mosaic Ventures, Lakestar and Founders Fund.
She also set up Code First: Girls, a not-for-profit that has taught 5,000 women to code for free while at university.
If you think you can build something extraordinary, you can apply to join Entrepreneur First in London, Berlin and Singapore here.