82 percent of tech cash goes to male entrepreneurs

Sweden may be one of the most gender equal countries in the world, but a new report by DI Digital sheds light on a money divide in the startup world.

82 percent of tech cash goes to male entrepreneurs
2016 has been a record year for investments in IT firms. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Venture capitalists and business angel investors are expected to have invested 15 billion kronor ($1.63 billion) in Swedish IT companies this year by the end of 2016, according to database Nordic Tech List.

Four percent of 377 investments in 336 businesses have gone to female founders and 14 percent to businesses with both male and female co-founders, reports tech and business site DI Digital.

A total of 82 percent has been invested in companies with only male founders.

“The challenge is that there are so few girls who start tech companies. Venture capital goes mainly to that type of business,” Marie Wall, startup manager at Sweden's Enterprise Ministry, told the newspaper.

“We see the same pattern across the world. Why don't girls go for tech?”

State-run Vinnova split its investments equally between male and female founders. It was followed by the Springfield Project, which gave 50 percent of its cash to businesses run only by men and 20 percent to women, but 30 percent to businesses with male and female co-founders.

The statistics come amid a government push to make companies boost the number of women on boards in Sweden and efforts to persuade more girls to pursue careers in tech.

Earlier this year leading incubator Sting revealed that, for the first time, half of the startups awarded cash in its first investment round of 2016 were run or co-founded by women.

Peo Nilsson, programme manager and business coach at Sting Accelerate, told The Local at the time that it had not actively sought out more women.

“We don't have any quotas or so, we simply try to select the best companies (…) it is usually about two out of eight that have women co-founders,” he said.

“But I think that you could argue that we are pretty conscious when it comes to finding startups where at least one of the co-founders is a woman. We do that in a range of ways from sponsoring different events to word-of-mouth (…) getting into the right communities and events to tell women we are here to help.”

For members


Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

Have you ever wondered what to do with your private pension plan when moving to another European country?

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you're moving country

This question will probably have caused some headaches. Fortunately a new private pension product meant to make things easier should soon become available under a new EU regulation that came into effect this week. 

The new pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will allow savers to take their private pension with them if they move within the European Union.

EU rules so far allowed the aggregation of state pensions and the possibility to carry across borders occupational pensions, which are paid by employers. But the market of private pensions remained fragmented.

The new product is expected to benefit especially young people, who tend to move more frequently across borders, and the self-employed, who might not be covered by other pension schemes. 

According to a survey conducted in 16 countries by Insurance Europe, the organisation representing insurers in Brussels, 38 percent of Europeans do not save for retirement, with a proportion as high as 60 percent in Finland, 57 percent in Spain, 56 percent in France and 55 percent in Italy. 

The groups least likely to have a pension plan are women (42% versus 34% of men), unemployed people (67%), self-employed and part-time workers in the private sector (38%), divorced and singles (44% and 43% respectively), and 18-35 year olds (40%).

“As a complement to public pensions, PEPP caters for the needs of today’s younger generation and allows people to better plan and make provisions for the future,” EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness said on March 22nd, when new EU rules came into effect. 

The scheme will also allow savers to sign up to a personal pension plan offered by a provider based in another EU country.

Who can sign up?

Under the EU regulation, anyone can sign up to a pan-European personal pension, regardless of their nationality or employment status. 

The scheme is open to people who are employed part-time or full-time, self-employed, in any form of “modern employment”, unemployed or in education. 

The condition is that they are resident in a country of the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area). The PEPP will not be available outside these countries, for instance in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

PEPP providers can offer a maximum of six investment options, including a basic one that is low-risk and safeguards the amount invested. The basic PEPP is the default option. Its fees are capped at 1 percent of the accumulated capital per year.

People who move to another EU country can continue to contribute to the same PEPP. Whenever a consumer changes the country of residence, the provider will open a new sub-account for that country. If the provider cannot offer such option, savers have the right to switch provider free of charge.  

As pension products are taxed differently in each state, the applicable taxation will be that of the country of residence and possible tax incentives will only apply to the relevant sub-account. 

Savers who move residence outside the EU cannot continue saving on their PEPP, but they can resume contributions if they return. They would also need to ask advice about the consequences of the move on the way their savings are taxed. 

Pensions can then be paid out in a different location from where the product was purchased. 

Where to start?

Pan-European personal pension products can be offered by authorised banks, insurance companies, pension funds and wealth management firms. 

They are regulated products that can be sold to consumers only after being approved by supervisory authorities. 

As the legislation came into effect this week, only now eligible providers can submit the application for the authorisation of their products. National authorities have then three months to make a decision. So it will still take some time before PEPPs become available on the market. 

When this will happen, the products and their features will be listed in the public register of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). 

For more information: 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.