The second STATION F exit is also female founded — don’t be surprised

I’m so very pleased to share that another STATION F startup was recently acquired. AI-based analytics startup Daco was participating in the Impulse retail program by vente-privee and was acquired by the company.

This officially constitutes our 2nd public acquisition (we have several that went unannounced) in just over a year. The last acquisition we announced was Recast.ai, a B2B bot platform that was acquired by SAP only 6 months after joining the Microsoft AI Factory at STATION F.

Claire Bretton (left) and Jasmine Antenuis (right)

2 startups with female founders, what are the odds?

Now, what’s perhaps interesting about both acquisitions is that they involved female-cofounded teams. In the case of Recast.ai cofounder Jasmine Antenuis and for Daco cofounder Claire Bretton.

For us at STATION F, female founders are no longer the exception — but the rule.

And we are hoping our numbers will continue to support this. We were extremely proud to announce last year that in our Founders Program 40% of the participating startups had a female founder or cofounder. Despite being less than 50%, this happens to be a high figure for the industry, where women are still the minority.

A quick word on gender.

There is so much going on in tech with regards to gender. This last year has seen the #metoo movement pick up. We’ve seen some pretty prominent tech industry titans get called out on their heinous behavior. And now we’re also starting to discover that company policies of some of tech’s most-loved companies may also be contributing to the problem.

We put the “F” in “feminism.”

Think Station F — “F” like femme, like feminist. Let me start by saying — and this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone —at Station F we are proud feminists. In other words, we believe in the woman’s right to everything, including education, work opportunities, fair wages and equal pay, maternity leave and more. And within the tech industry, we believe that women should be not only treated fairly but also respected. In our world (and on our campus), there is no place for sexual harassment or gender discrimination of any kind.

Why do we care about women in tech?

Believe it or not, many people have asked this question. Seriously? As if encouraging more women to join the tech industry is just about being politically correct but nothing more. Having more women in the industry is beneficial for many reasons. They are countless. But perhaps the most obvious is that they contribute substantially to the tech industry’s limited workforce. Just about every startup today has trouble hiring technical talent — or talent period. Not encouraging women to work in tech would be like not tapping into a huge potential talent pool. Which would be, uh, ridiculous. Girls Who Code’s Rejma Saujauni has mentioned on many occasions that one of the ways to stop the tech talent shortage is to help train more women in tech. There are numerous other reasons that also include the fact that women control a majority of a household’s spending and also are consumers of products themselves — how would we ever be able to address them correctly if we didn’t include them in the discussion?

Plus, how ridiculously sad would it be if all innovation was all developed by the same people with the same profile? I’m not sure we could even call it innovation at all.

How do we get more women in tech?

People often ask me “what do we need to do to see more women in tech?” There are of course many answers and we don’t lack ideas. I’ve often heard people suggest that we need more female role models, or that we should change our education system and the language we use. I’d definitely agree with those ideas.

Any ideas, boys?

But there is another, less obvious answer perhaps: men. Yes, men. I would like to encourage all the men in our industry to think about this question, because this is a question for you. What specifically can you do? How can you support the women around you?#metoo has shown us what not to do, but do you know what you should do?

At STATION F we have a vibrant community of women — both founders and non-founders. Our community — both women and men — help each other out a lot.

But when people ask me “what do we need to do to see more women in tech?” I’m surprised to find that this question is rarely asked to a man, as if he needs not be involved.

Well, in my opinion it’s time for a more inclusive and constructive dialogue. It’s time we start celebrating and encouraging men that support women. It’s time we start showing examples and recognizing men that support and contribute to the advancement of women in our ecosystem.

If you have ideas, people you feel deserve recognition for their contribution to the topic, or women you feel are really leading the way, please ping us (in the comments, on Twitter, on Facebook…wherever). And we’ll follow-up shortly with our top 5 suggestions to bring more women to the industry.