Disrupt Africa has released the first ever publication focused on gender equality in the African tech startup landscape, in partnership with Africa-focused pre-seed investment programmes Madica, with the results demonstrating the lack of gender diversity both within startup teams and funding rounds on the continent.
Since launching its research arm in 2016, Disrupt Africa has built up a significant portfolio of publications, most notably the African Tech Startups Funding Report, Finnovating for Africa, and deep-dives into various leading startup ecosystems, available free for all via open-sourcing initiatives with various partners across the continent’s tech ecosystem.
Its latest publication, its 21st in total, is the company’s most ambitious ecosystem research project to date – focusing on gender equality in the African tech startup landscape, Diversity Dividend: Exploring Gender Equality in the African Tech Ecosystem.
It is released in partnership with Madica, an Africa-focused pre-seed investment programme empowering underrepresented and underfunded mission-driven founders on the continent. The sector-agnostic platform, affiliated with Flourish Ventures, aims to empower entrepreneurs with the provision of funding and also democratising access to world-class company-building support.
Other collaborators include FirstCheck Africa, which invests early in high-growth technology startups founded or co-founded by women; TLcom Capital, which has US$350 million of VC assets under management across Africa and Europe; LoftyInc Capital Management, a venture capital firm on a mission to build an ecosystem of Africans investing in Africans solving African problems; Google for Startups, which is on a mission to support thriving, diverse, and inclusive startup communities around the world; and RevUp Women by AfriLabs, which empowers early-stage women-led African startups and SMEs to overcome unique challenges that hinder their growth and success.
iceaddis, Ethiopia’s first innovation hub and tech startup incubator; the International Trade Centre’s Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V), a four-year partnership signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the digital technologies sector; and Janngo Capital, which builds, grows and invests in pan-African digital champions with proven business models and inclusive social impact, are also partners.
Key findings include the fact that of almost 2,500 African tech startups studied for the purpose of the report, only 14.6 per cent had a female co-founder and just 9.6 per cent were led by a female CEO. The report also includes survey data where female founders have spoken directly about their experiences within the ecosystem, as well as personalised case studies.
From a funding perspective, the report analysed 711 African tech startups that secured funding in 2022 and so far in 2023. Of those, just 21 per cent had at least one female co-founder, while only 11.7 per cent had a female CEO. Of the just over US$4 billion raised by ventures in the period in question, meanwhile, only 9.1 per cent went to companies co-founded by a woman, and just 2.9 per cent to startups with a female CEO or equivalent.
The report also includes data around female representation within the Africa-focused venture capital industry.
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