Unlocking Diversity: Female, Immigrant and Minority-Ethnic Founders in the UK Tech Sector
Sam Peckett, 10 August 2023
In partnership with AWS, we’ve published a report examining the state of diversity within the UK tech sector, providing insight into the challenges and successes of female tech founders and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. The report examines funding, accelerated businesses and those receiving innovation grants. We’ve summarised the key points below, but you can read our in-depth analysis in the full report.
Female Founders in Tech
Company incorporations with at least one female director have been steadily increasing. They grew from 211k to a record 272k between 2013 and 2022—however, this represents only 34.2% of the total incorporations in 2022. While 16.3% of high-growth tech companies are led by female founders, these companies have received just 8.96% of equity investment since 2013.
Equity investment into tech companies with only female founders—proportion of all equity investment into tech companies (2013-2022)
Despite these challenges, progress is being made. Equity investment for tech companies with at least one female founder has grown 25-fold since 2013, reaching £1.85b in 2022. The number of deals for all-female founded tech companies increased over 600% from 43 in 2013 to 313 in 2022, securing £557m in funding, and mixed-gender founding teams raised £1.30b through 538 deals in 2022.
Our full report digs deeper into these companies, with spotlights on women led startups, the top sectors for companies with one or more women led founders, and the fastest growing companies over the last three years with female founders. We’ve also examined the top regions in the UK by high-growth tech companies with one or more women founders, and grant funding over the last decade.
Immigrant Founders in Tech
Top tech sectors for high-growth tech companies with one or more founders from outside the UK (2023)
The number, and value, of equity deals secured by tech companies with one or more founders from outside the UK has grown significantly over the last decade. Between 2013 and 2022, the equity deals secured by these companies grew from £794m to £12.6b, and the number of deals increased from 765 to 2,784. Despite forming 39.1% of the tech sector, these companies have received 60.4% of the total equity funding since 2013.
Ethnically Underrepresented Founders in Tech
The value of equity raised by ethnically underrepresented founders has increased from £512m in 2013 to £10.4b in 2022. The total tech company population in the UK with one or more ethnically underrepresented founders stands at 35.1%, while their fundraisings total 46.6% of all equity investments secured by tech companies in the last decade.
To be included in our analysis, investment must be secured by some form of equity investment, secured by a non-listed UK company and issued between 1 January 2013 and 31 December. Gender data was primarily based on the honorifics founders have chosen for their directorship records at Companies House. Nationality data is sourced from founders’ information associated with their Companies House directorship records. The founder ethnicity data in this report has been generated using the Onomap software tool, which classifies names into the 2001 Census Ethnic Group, aligning with the UK 2001 Census Ethnicity Classification. For a founder to be classified as an ethnically underrepresented founder in this report, the founder must have been assigned to a category other than “White British” according to the 2001 Census Ethnic Groups.
The report underscores the importance of diversity in the tech sector and the huge contribution made by female, immigrant, and ethnically underrepresented founders. The data suggests a positive trend in both equity deals and value for women founders, but there is still work to be done to create a more equitable landscape for women in tech. Targeted funding, mentorship, and accelerator support can support women-led tech companies to grow their business.
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