June 5, 2024

Funding to female founders in DACH region was half the European average in 2023

A new report shows women are still underfunded — but that public money and a robust early stage VC environment has helped startups generally throughout the downturn

The percentage of funding going towards all-female founding teams in the DACH region was half the European average in 2023. 

Across Austria, Switzerland and Germany, just 1.5% of funding went to all-female teams, according to a new report by Female Founders, an Austrian organisation supporting women entrepreneurs, and the Vienna Business Agency.

That compares to the 3% of total capital that went to all-women teams in Europe in 2023, according to Atomico’s State of European Tech report. 


The region also fared worse than the European average when it comes to funding levels for mixed-gender teams. The Female Founders report found that 6.5% of total capital invested in startups last year went to mixed-gender teams, compared to 15% across Europe, as per Atomico’s research. 

That means that, in 2023, all-male startup teams raised 92% and 82% of capital in DACH and Europe, respectively.

When looking at the number of funding rounds instead of the total funding volume, the numbers look slightly better in the DACH region. All-female teams secured 4.3% of the rounds, compared to 7% across Europe.

Like elsewhere in Europe, dealmaking was generally down in the DACH region in 2023. Funding volume dropped by 31.6% to €9.5bn across 1,605 deals. 

Public funding steps in 

Despite clear gender disparities in money being dished out to startups and an industry-wide dropoff in funding, there were positives to be gleaned from Female Founders’ research when it comes to the role of public institutions supporting startups. 

The report describes how grant funding accounted for around 15% of total deal making and was the “most popular” type of funding pursued in the region last year.

Also, early-stage VC investments remained robust, with 31% of funding rounds categorised as seed funding and 13.6% as pre-seed. The report concludes that this demonstrates a strong pipeline of new startups and investor confidence in supporting early-stage ventures. 

“While 2023 was a challenging year for fundraising in the DACH region and beyond, the underlying strengths of the ecosystem — such as a vibrant early-stage funding environment and supportive public funding mechanisms — provide a foundation for recovery and growth,” said Nina Wöss and Lisa-Marie Fassl, cofounders of Female Founders & Managing Partners of Fund F.

“Entrepreneurs need trusted partners and reliable touchpoints from both the private and public sectors to succeed. By fostering these connections, we can continue to drive progress and create a more inclusive and dynamic startup environment.”

Miriam Partington

Miriam Partington is a reporter at Sifted. She covers the DACH region and the future of work, and coauthors Startup Life , a weekly newsletter on what it takes to build a startup. Follow her on X and LinkedIn