The UK technology industry has plenty of women in leading roles. It’s still a male dominated arena, of course, so we’ve collected together some of the UK’s most interesting women in tech, ranging from VCs, to startup founders, to government advisors.
Many are investors in some of the world’s most exciting companies, some are members of the House of Lords, and others are helping fledgling tech companies conquer the world.
CEO and cofounder, Dattch
Dattch is a dating app for lesbian and bisexual women that connects users based on location. Exton created the app after realising that existing lesbian dating sites were simply reskinned versions of other sites. Using her experience of working with a dating site at a branding agency, she set about making a dating app specifically created for lesbians.
Unlike many dating sites and apps, Dattch has been praised for its positive approach to LGBTQ dating, and the app has won countless awards, including the Best Design award at the 2013 LAUNCH conference. The business brought its operations to the US in 2014, and plans on expanding to Android in the near future.
Judith Clegg is the founder of two companies that work closely with the UK's tech industry.
Takeout is a consultancy that connects startups and larger businesses such as Microsoft with academics and new business opportunities. Her other company, Glasshouse, is an events business favoured by big-name tech companies like Craigslist, Index Ventures, Moo and Mind Candy.
CEO and founder, Blaze
The Blaze laser light is a green laser that attaches to the front of a bicycle. The laser then projects the image of the bike several metres in front of the rider. The bright images keeps cyclists safe on the road by helping drivers to see them.
Over 3,000 laser lights have been sold so far, after devices began shipping in early 2014. Blaze has raised £500,000 from Richard Branson's family and Index Ventures.
Founder, Innotech Summit
Jennifer Arcuri is the woman behind one of London's most well-known technology events, the Innotech Summit. The yearly event, started in 2012, helps bring together London's technology scene with the British government.
Thanks to her close ties with London mayor Boris Johnson, the shaggy-haired politician has repeatedly agreed to speak at the event, which also shows the government's interest in the east London tech cluster.
Sugru is a type of self-setting rubber that was invented in 2003. Stick it onto something, then wait overnight, and you have a ready-made fix that can repair holes, change grips, and work as a kind of superglue. Unlike other products, Sugru can be shaped by hand and sets within minutes.
Dhulchaointigh, from Ireland, used government grants to develop the material. In 2012 the company had over $US2 million in annual sales.
EDITD is bringing big data to the fashion industry, helping clothing designers understand exactly what it is that customers want. It works with brands such as Gap, ASOS and Target to help them understand the data of fashion using real-time analytics.
Fowler founded EDITD in 2010 with experienced IT professional Geoff Watts.
Songkick was one of the London startup scene's first big success stories. The site lets people track their favourite bands to see when and where they will play.
You founded Songkick in 2007, and has served as its Chief Product Officer ever since. Before starting the company, she was the managing editor of Theme Magazine and an associate at Random House.
Vice president, Silicon Valley Bank
Bindi Karia joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2012 after working for five years at Microsoft as Venture Capital and Emerging Business Lead. She previously led the BizSpark program in the UK, known today as Microsoft Ventures. Now working at Silicon Valley Bank, Karia is leading the bank's early-stage efforts in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Founder and CEO, TechHub
Elizabeth Varley founded TechHub in 2010 after realising that London was lacking in shared workspaces for tech companies. TechHub was one of the first hubs for tech startups in London, situating itself around the Old Street area. In 2012 it opened up office space in Google Campus, a larger workspace for internet startups sponsored by Google.
The company is jointly run with TechCrunch's Editor-At-Large Mike Butcher, and TechHub has expanded to locations including Bangalore, Bucharest and Riga.
Kathryn Parsons founded Decoded in 2011 with the aim of teaching people how to code in just one day. Courses at her computing workshop start at £750, and teach people the basics of how to write programs. Her clients include employees from companies such as the BBC and Facebook. Parsons is in a relationship with another of London's well-known tech figures: Michael Acton Smith, the founder of Mind Candy.
President, Ballou PR
Colette Ballou started Ballou PR in 2002, just as the European startup industry began to emerge. Since then, she has worked with some of the word's fastest-growing technology companies, including Autonomy, Evernote, Facebook, Flipboard, Groupon and Zendesk.
In 2011 she sold the US wing of her company to MWW Group, moving to focus on Europe only. She's a regular figure at startup events, offering sage advice on how to grow companies.
VC, Passion Capital
Eileen Burbidge founded investment fund Passion Capital in 2011 with Stefan Glaenzer and Robert Dighero. Since then, Passion Capital has invested in a series of successful London companies including DueDil, GoCardless, GoSquared, and Smarkets.
Prior to founding Passion Capital, Burbidge worked at Apple, Yahoo, Skype, and Sun Microsystems.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on the Digital Economy
Joanna Shields has been one of the London technology industry's most well-known success stories. She started working in tech in 1989 as a product manager for Efi in Silicon Valley.
In 1997 Shields became the CEO of video streaming company Veon, which was acquired by Philips in 2000. After that, she became Google's Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Shields became the President of Bebo in 2006, where she oversaw the company's sale to AOL for $US850 million. In 2009, she was recruited by Sheryl Sandberg to run Facebook in Europe. And in 2012, Shields entered government when David Cameron asked her to run the UK Tech City investment scheme. Shields was appointed an OBE in 2014 and named a working peer in August.
CEO and cofounder, Skimlinks
Skimlinks started life as a consumer shopping website in Australia in 2006. Founder Alicia Navarro realised after backpacking around Europe that her technology that turned normal web links into affiliate links was the future of the business. Since then, Skimlinks has grown to generate 300 million clicks a month.
In October 2013 it was announced that Skimlinks had been selected as part of a government support scheme that guides companies toward a stock exchange flotation.
VP EMEA, Facebook
Mendelsohn joined Facebook in July 2013, having previously served as executive chairman of advertising agency Karamarama. She spent 20 years working for advertising agencies before making the move to the social-networking giant. Facebook's London office is one of its largest in the world, and it houses the company's new engineering team.
Regional General Manager - UK, Ireland & Nordics, Uber
Jo Bertram joined Uber in 2013 after working as a management consultant for McKinsey and Accenture. Now, she manages the on-demand ride service's operation in the UK, Ireland and Nordics. Those are important markets for the app, which has seen frequent protests from London's iconic black cabs and even its own drivers.
Bertram has guided the company through those tricky periods, even managing to turn those protests to Uber's advantage after sign-ups increased 850% following a protest in London.
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