Indra Sharma
Published in
3 min readMar 8, 2019


On the 28 March we’re teaming up with Inventure and Invest Stockholm for Female Founder Office Hours — here’s why

On 28 March, EQT Ventures is hosting a Female Founder Office Hours (FFOH) together with Inventure and Invest Stockholm. The event aims to bring as many women founders and VCs together to discuss and share insights on fundraising, build networks and share learnings and the response to event has been fantastic.

What I’ve noticed recently though is that the following questions often pop up:

Why do we need events specifically for female founders?

Shouldn’t everyone be included in all events?

Isn’t there a risk for isolating women further when creating gender specific events?

Why don’t we have male specific events?

In response to these queries, here are a few reflections on why I feel it’s still, in 2109, important to host events such as FFOH.

It’s well-documented that female founders receive a disproportionately small amount of venture funding versus their male counterparts. For VCs, building a more diverse pipeline of potential investments is one of the steps towards ensuring an increase of funding going to women.

FFOH helps us introduce ourselves and build relationships with a group of founders that are currently getting less of our attention compared to their male peers. These founders are also important for developing products that reach a diverse client base, harnessing talent that otherwise might go by unnoticed and creating more diverse and thriving work environments. My hope for the the future is that women-only events won’t be necessary, but today the reality is they still are. According to Atomico’s report ‘The state of European Tech just over a fifth (22%) of Europe’s tech-related Meetups participants are women and this figure hasn’t changed much since 2016. The development in increasing women’s presence is moving very slow, if at all. The report also demonstrates that 93% of the funding in the region is allocated to male founding teams — this percentage is also not moving much. I attend several tech events per year and it’s clear that the tech community remains very male-dominated and at times I’ve been the only woman in the room. The EQT Ventures team is working hard on proactively contacting female founders and hosting FFOH. Of course, FFOH is not the only or even main solution to the lack of diversity in tech but it can be an important tool in finding solutions.

Having experienced being the only woman in the room, I find meeting other women investors and founders helpful, insightful and empowering. I’m sure this is the case for most women in tech and VC and explains the popularity of FFOH and other female-only events. Undoubtedly, it’s important for women founders to meet with both male and female VCs , however events like FFOH have a specific role to play when it comes to inclusion. How can a closed event for one gender help with inclusion? My background working for non-profit organisations on gender inequality taught me the importance of creating a space where marginalised groups have the opportunity to meet with others encountering the same problems and issues. In such spaces you’re able to discuss these experiences openly and honestly. When I meet a women entrepreneur or VC, I don’t have to explain that it — at times — feels lonely being the only woman in the room. When I speak with women entrepreneurs, they don’t have to explain to me how it feels to pitch for an all male VC team. By hosting spaces like these, we’re not insinuating that gender is the defining characteristic of a person’s performance or that most events should be gender-specific. However, these spaces allow us to learn from each other, find strength and grow. It also gives EQT Ventures specific insights into the experiences of women in tech and business, which we can leverage in various areas of our work. Our hope is that FFOH will be such a room for women building the tech companies of the future.

(And if you are looking for an all male event, there are plenty to choose from)