Europe’s startup ecosystem has long had a diversity problem – and it is not improving at pace.
For every woman venture capitalist, there are more than six men, according to Atomico’s State of European Tech report. At the top end of the sector, women hold just 13.5% of general partner roles, a marginal bump on the 12.2% reported in 2021, per the analysis.
Of new funds, only 1% of capital raised from limited partners, who are investors in VC funds themselves, went to firms headed up by only women. Around 15% went to mixed-gender GP teams.
There are a multitude of barriers to women nabbing top roles in venture capital, not least GP commit. GP commit is the amount of money general partners must put into their own fund, normally standing at 1% of its total. It can be a challenge without being personally wealthy, depending on the size of the fund.
Around 70% of women GPs have carried interest, a report by European Women in VC found last year. By comparison, 91% of their male counterparts boasted carried interest, which refers to the slice of the profits returned to an investor after an exit from an investment.
“30% of female GPs are not GPs by definition, as they do not own the management company or the rights to carried interest,” Anna Wnuk, head of community at European Women in VC, told Insider. This effectively means that women GPs carry less firepower than their male counterparts, she added.
The wider gender disparity in top VC roles is particularly pronounced in southern Europe and the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, per the report.
A lack of gender representation in VC also impacts which startups receive funding down the line. Women investors are more likely to back female founders — a demographic that secured just 1% of total VC funding in Europe this year.
Some firms have moved to close the gender gap. Seed-stage investor Speedinvest, which closed a new 500 million euros ($528 million) fund in December, put three women in top roles. US heavy-hitter Lightspeed, which has $18 billion under management, welcomed five new female partners to the firm, including one in Europe.
We have profiled the women who climbed the ranks in Europe’s male-dominated ecosystem, and were made partner in 2022.
Due to the scale of Europe’s VC sector, we no doubt missed out on some first-time partner promotions during 2022. Reach out to Riddhi Kanetkar at or Tasmin Lockwood at to let us know who’s missing. 
Martikainen was promoted to partner in 2022 after spending over three years at She has led a quarter of the firm’s investments, including into grocery startup Lollipop, founded by a former Monzo executive. Martikainen covers European and Nordic health, including femtech, food, and retail.
Soffia Theodora Tryggvadottir joined Iceland firm Brunnur Ventures as an advisor in 2019 and then became a board director for the newest fund in 2020. She was made partner in September 2022.
Briehan Burke has been at Amsterdam-based Keen Venture Partners since 2019. Working her way up the firm, she was promoted to general partner in October 2022. Burke invests in climate tech. health tech, and B2B SaaS.
Julie Kainz joined Lightspeed Venture Partners in London as a partner in 2022. She moved from B2B software and fintech firm Dawn Capital, where she focused on data, infrastructure, and automation. 
Cristina Koehn joined Picus Capital as partner in March 2022. She was the firm’s first Nordic employee and leads its work in the region. Prior to that, Koehn was the VP of operations at health tech startup Kry. 
Hangwi Muambadzi joined CommerzVentures as a partner in April 2022, where she focuses on fintech. Prior to VC, Muambadzi was vice president at Barclays Africa, now Absa Africa, and helped drive the bank’s digital transformation strategy.
Laura Connell is a partner in Atomico’s growth investment team after joining the firm from Balderton Capital, where she was principal, in July 2022. She focuses on enterprise, consumer, and fintech.
Doreen Huber joined EQT Ventures as partner in January 2022. Prior to joining the firm, she held various top roles in food tech throughout her career, after founding her first company aged 23. Huber was the founder and CEO of Lemoncat, a Northzone-backed marketplace for business catering which was acquired by Rocket Internet’s B2B Food Group in 2019.
Former Google investor Terese Hougaard joined Atomico two years ago, focusing on the firm’s B2B fintech, crypto, data, and climate opportunities. The investor became a partner in April 2022.
As the cofounder of Alma Angels, a community of investors who back female founders, Deepali Nangia has been a pioneer for more gender diversity in the ecosystem. She joined Speedinvest in 2019, and was promoted to a full-time partner role in January 2022, and focuses on investing in underrepresented founders. 
Adi Gozes writes checks to early-stage SaaS, data/cloud infrastructure, DevOps, fintech startups as a partner at global fund Entrée Capital. She joined first as a venture partner, leaving an investor role at Samsung Catalyst Fund behind, and was promoted to partner in 2022.
Andrea Zitna was promoted from principal to partner at Speedinvest in July 2022. With a background in femtech as the previous CRO of Elvie, Zitna leads the firm’s health tech investments and has invested in six health and women’s health startups in the past year.
Isabelle O’Keeffe started her career in VC as a principal at Sure Valley Ventures, a VC fund led by entrepreneurs that invest in software, AI, and AR/VR companies. She made her way up to partner in April 2022, leading the firm’s UK fund; the firm will prepare to launch a fund based in Ireland later this year. She’s also a mentor at Techstars.
Olga Shikhantsova was promoted from principal to partner at Speedinvest in July 2022. She previously oversaw fintech investments at Target Global’s Berlin office, and has over six years of investing experience in Europe’s fintech ecosystem. 
Emma Steele joined Ascension in 2018 as an investment manager, and was promoted to investment director in 2020; during that time, she led the firm’s investments into startups such as Wagestream and Urban Legend. In January 2022, Steele was promoted to partner, and now leads the firm’s £50 million seed fund, Ascension Fund III.
In 2022, Yvonne Bajela joined LocalGlobe as a partner. Alongside this, she is a venture partner at Impact X Capital, an early-stage investment firm that backs underrepresented founders.
She was previously the youngest senior investment manager at Japanese investment juggernaut Mitsui, handling over $200 million in investments. 
Sara Rywe became partner at byFounders an early-stage Nordic fund, in January 2022. She focuses on B2B SaaS and impact investments. Prior to joining the VC firm, Rywe worked at multiple tech startups, McKinsey & Company, and Danske Bank.
Maria Wagner was promoted to partner at Beringea at the start of 2022. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Wagner headed up Birchbox UK, a beauty e-commerce subscription business. She is also the cofounder of ESG_VC, which works to improve diversity and sustainability in the venture capital industry. 
Jonė Vaitulevičiūtė is the first woman in Lithuania to launch and close a VC fund, of which she is the managing partner. The early-stage fund FirstPick backs Baltic founders, with a focus on fintech startups. 
Jane Reddin was promoted to partner at AlbionVC, where she heads up talent and platform, in June 2022. She was previously at Balderton Capital and cofounder of The Talent Stack, a talent management consultancy for startups. 
Helen Lin was promoted from principal to partner at At One Ventures, a climate tech VC that backs companies focused on reducing humanity’s environmental footprint, in September 2022. She leads the firm’s European and emerging markets deals.
Andra Bagdonaite joined Firstpick as a partner in May 2022. Previously, she was the managing director at Estonian startup accelerator Startup Wise Guys. 
One of the latest additions to LocalGlobe, Ash Arora joined the firm as a partner in November 2022. 
Previously, she was based in Delhi, India, where she was an investment lead at Polygon, heading up the platform’s $100 million Fund I across early-stage web3 startups. 
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