State of Gender Diversity in European Venture report

In the face of a challenging fundraising landscape, female founders and emerging female fund managers in Europe demonstrated resilience.

In 2023, European startups with at least one female co-founder secured €5.9 billion in funding. Moreover, European funds led or co-led by women announced fundraising of €4.4 billion in new capital, earmarked to support the growth of European startups.

These findings are part of the ‘Female Foundry State of Gender Diversity in European Venture’ report, published on 30th January 2024.

About the report

“Space scientist, senator, molecular biologist, architect ... who are the women entrepreneurs and investors shaping the future of Europe?”

It's well-known that only 2% of funding is allocated to female-only teams, and 10% to female emerging fund managers today. However, Female Foundry adopts a 'glass half-full' perspective, rather than focusing on the diversity shortfall in the European venture ecosystem. This inaugural report, drawing on 300 insights, offers a detailed and vivid portrayal of the female entrepreneurship and investment funnel, thereby highlighting innovation in 2024. The report presents opportunities for investors to support female entrepreneurs and fund managers in Europe.

To compile this report, over 645,000 European companies were analysed, feedback from 1,200 verified founders and investors was gathered, and interviews with 70 prominent European venture capitalists, angel investors, Limited Partners, emerging female fund managers, and female entrepreneurs who secured funding in 2023 were conducted.

Key findings include:

  • A notable increase in confidence for investing in female founders across Europe
  • Investments into European female-led startups reached €5.9 billion in 2023, the third-highest year on record
  • 11% of total venture capital in Europe in 2023 went to startups with female co-founders, a 1% increase from 2022, despite a difficult fundraising environment
  • European female entrepreneurs are securing larger funding rounds, with significant increases in Series C and Series A round sizes
  • Four female-founded companies raised mega rounds (€100 million or more) in 2023. Synthesia, a UK-based startup, achieved unicorn status, though no female-founded IPOs occurred
  • The UK and Denmark lead in venture capital investment in female-founded startups, with Luxembourg notably standing out in 2023
  • 70% of surveyed VC investors are tracking female founders in their deal flow, with 40% actively seeking more investment opportunities in female co-founded companies

The 2023 Top 50 Rounds List for female-founded startups predominantly features entrepreneurs with scientific educational backgrounds, with 90% holding an MSc or BSc degree.

Female General Partners (GPs) and first-time managers in Europe raised more capital in 2023, showing resilience despite a challenging global climate for Venture Capital fundraising. In 2023, female GPs raised €4.4 billion, a significant increase from the previous year. There were 26 new female-led funds announced, primarily in the UK, France, Spain, and Germany.

Agata Nowicka, CEO of Female Foundry and creator of the State of Gender Diversity in European Venture report said: “Despite the challenging macro fundraising climate, female entrepreneurs and emerging fund managers in Europe continue to build and innovate. The 2024 Female Foundry State of Gender Diversity in European Venture Report clearly demonstrates not just the resilience of female entrepreneurs and investors, but also highlights the significance of the untapped potential for innovation driven by these women, which is crucial for Europe's future.

“Challenging times serve as fertile ground for innovation, and so, it could not be a better time for investors to step up and meet the ambitions of female founders and fund managers who are at the forefront of new business creation in Europe.”

The State of Gender Diversity in European Venture 2024 edition will be available at