Caroline Ramade, CEO of 50inTech on Paving the Way for Women in Tech
Diversity Matters. We’ve all heard it, but why? We sat down with 50inTech’s Founder and CEO Caroline Ramade to learn why we need more women in tech, the types of challenges that women face in the tech industry, and what we as a company and industry can do better.
We know that a variety of opinions and perspectives contribute to making better products and services. In fact, recent statistics show that there is a clear correlation between start-up success and team diversity in tech. And, let’s be honest, companies with more diversity are just more interesting and fun to work at.
In support of this, Caroline built 50inTech, a not-for-profit organization, and online platform to help support women in tech and to promote the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Launched in 2018, it has quickly become one of our favorite resources. The platform is open to anyone who believes that the future should be made up of a balanced and diverse workforce. Their solution helps pro-diversity technology companies get more exposure, share their work models, and promote employee benefits and job opportunities. In addition, companies can network, publish events, news and articles.
Here’s what we learned from Caroline about how 50inTech is paving the way for women in tech and creating real and actionable impact in the industry:
Welcome, Caroline! To start, we’d love to learn a little more about you?
Hello! I’m so happy to speak with you. Well, I am a mother of two, based in Paris. I am a fervent advocate for women in the tech industry and the Founder & CEO of 50inTech. I started my career in the world of political journalism and communication and I became more and more interested and involved in technology as digital media and platforms took off in these industries.
Tell us what inspired you to create 50inTech?
Over the years, my interest in gender equality grew as I observed that it was difficult for women to become leaders, even in the communication industry where I had been working for many years. Similarly, the tech industry presents itself as a modern and forward-looking industry, yet it has very few women and little diversity. Media is not consumed by only white male readers nor is technology. In fact, a 2020 survey found that women have only 20–25% representation in the tech industry, and access to less than 3% of VC’s. The disparity does not make sense for businesses or consumers.
Why is it important for women to be in leadership? We’ve seen that when a woman is a leader, diversity in other areas such as age, background, ethnicity, and so on, also follow suit more naturally; it’s not something that needs to be forced.
In my previous roles, I found I was frequently being asked by companies in several countries, such as France, UK, the US, and Sweden, where women in tech were? I realized that the opportunities were there, but the companies did not know where to find the women working in tech and the women did not know where to find the companies. There needed to be a better way to get connected within the industry.
The first thing that we focused on at 50inTech was creating a matching system to better connect women in the industry, such as providing events, networking opportunities, and a job board. We started a bootcamp series to address common issues and provide solutions. We have also established training programs to help tech companies improve on diversity and gender equality awareness and issues. We also assist businesses that have made mistakes to be more transparent, admit and accept where they went wrong, and work on reinventing themselves.
50inTech has developed into a professional community dedicated to improving the role of women in tech. The online platform connects women in tech to a professional network, provides them with training and practical tools, and supports companies in their diversity challenges and talented women’s recruitment.
Having attended the recent negotiation-focused bootcamp, we can confirm it was really approachable, practical, and useful. Starting any company, tech or otherwise is challenging. What did you find the most challenging when starting 50inTech?
Fundraising. Without a doubt, fundraising has been the most challenging. As I mentioned earlier, women have less access to venture capital and are underrepresented in the venture capital (VC) community. For things to change, we need more women VCs and VCs with less bias who understand the power of diversity and success rates attributed to it.
A great example is the founders of Strapi, who hosted one of the masterclasses in the Negotiate Like a Boss Bootcamp. Pierre and Aurélien are two white men. They were able to raise $10 million for their startup using the technique they shared with us. They were transparent and shared that they lacked diversity and wanted to improve, and as a result, 40% of applications they received came from women.
“Be more transparent, even if you’re sharing your weaknesses. Then, you’re more likely to improve and achieve greater diversity.”
— Caroline Ramade, CEO 50intech
What are the most significant issues you see for women in tech, and what needs to change in order to achieve 50intech’s goal of 50% representation of women in the tech industry by 2050?
Our name “50intech” and our goal represent this mission. We’ve learned through our work that approximately 37% of women are looking for other opportunities because their workplaces are not welcoming. An astonishing 1 in 2 women leaves the tech industry after 8 years of experience due to discrimination and toxicity. According to a 2019 State of Startups survey, found that 34% of employees will leave a company in the next year if employers don’t do anything about diversity (3x more likely to leave). That loss of experience and institutional knowledge hurts companies and the industry as a whole.
However, we’ve seen first-hand that investing in diversity, equality, and inclusion has a positive effect on overall performance and employee retention. This isn’t an issue and interest for women only. Studies show men want to work in more inclusive environments as well.
Startups can’t afford to wait for diversity to come to them and they must take action and early. We all have to work together to achieve change. It’s important to listen to women but it is also important to hear from men as well, which is why we have men involved on our platform and hosting masterclasses too.
To achieve our goal, 50inTech is focusing on gender equality first, because we believe that it will result in more overall equality and diversity across the board.
For sure, and that churn-rate should be eye-opening for any company. So, what’s next for 50inTech in 2021?
This will be an important year for us in terms of seed funding and finding strong impact investors for 50inTech. In 2021, we will provide more masterclasses and further develop the SaaS platform. Companies will be able to invite all their employees to participate on the platform, network and engage in the community, and participate in online events and up-skilling programs. Accessibility to the platform is key to success, and we want to make access to the 50inTech community totally free.
Thank you so much for sitting down with us, Caroline, and sharing your knowledge and all the exciting things that are happening with 50inTech. We’ve already been checking out the leadership, agile, and product management workshops coming up on the platform. You can be certain you’ll see us there!
You can learn more about Caroline and 50intech here: https://www.50intech.com/ and by following #WomenInTech and #TechHerOn on social media.
To learn more about supporting equality and diversity at your tech company, or how to get a career started in fintech, check out:
Money 20/20 Rise Up: Empowering Women in FinTech and Financial Services
Learn what top leaders recommend to support diversity and inclusion in financial services from Money 20/20’s Rise Up…
5 Minutes with 5 Inspiring Women in Fintech
Take five to hear from five inspiring female leaders in fintech