June 13, 2023

Less than 1% of €50m+ rounds went to all-female founding teams last year

A new report from SISTA and BCG gives a snapshot of how Europe is faring on gender diversity

Alexandra Bacon

3 min read

European tech knows it has a gender diversity problem. There’s no shortage of reporting on how little VC funding finds its way to women founders, an issue exacerbated by the lack of capital that also flows into women-led VC funds.

A new report from SISTA, a VC firm that backs female and gender-balanced teams, and consultancy Boston Consulting Group that covers 1,788 startups across France, the UK, Spain, Germany and Sweden shines a light on how Europe fared for gender diversity in 2022. And progress was… limited.

Here are five key takeaways from the report.

Where are all the women founders?

Across the five countries in the report only 10% of startups were founded by women-only teams, while 12% consisted of gender-mixed teams. 


Sweden can hold its head highest out of that cohort, with around one in three startups created by at least one woman. France and Spain don’t perform as well, with around one in five startups created by at least one woman.  

When it comes to the funding funnel, it’s a man’s world

Less than a fifth of the money raised goes to a founding team that includes a woman, and the average amount raised by women-only teams is around four times lower than the amount raised by men-only teams. Overall, only 7% of funding rounds included a woman-founded startup, and those same startups raised a measly 2% of all funds raised.

Spain was the only country out of the five where all-female teams raised more than 2% of funds. That data, however, includes a huge outlier in the form of veterinary healthtech Unavets’ €114m raise. Without that the country would be in fourth place. 

As rounds gets larger, the involvement of women gets smaller

Only two funding rounds involving all-female startup teams in 2022 bagged more than €50m, compared to 215 deals for men — less than 1% of the rounds. 

The later the stage of the funding round, the number of women-only teams raising also diminishes. Women-only teams raised just 2% of rounds beyond Series D in 2022.

Consumer industries attract the most female founders whilst fintech and industrials lag behind

Women-only startups are most likely to be found in the fashion/wellness and lifestyle industries — 37% and 24% of startups founded in 2022 in those industries, respectively, have all-female founding teams. Healthcare is next, with nearly 18% of startups in the sector founded by women-only teams. Across those industries, the amount women-only teams raise is between 2.2-3.4x less than men-only teams in the same industries. 

Industries like fintech (7%), sports and gaming (6%) and industrials (5%) were among those in which the fewest number of startups were created by women-only teams. In those sectors, women-only teams raised between 5.6-6.9x less than men-only teams in the same sectors. 

Female founders are more likely than men to create mixed-gender founding teams

Female founders are more likely than male founders to launch startups with mixed founding teams. Only one in ten men partner with a woman, while half of women choose to partner with a man. Though it's unsurprising considering that gender-mixed teams raised nearly three times more than all-female founding teams.

Alexandra Bacon

Alexandra Bacon is an editorial intern at Sifted. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn