Now in its 5th year accelerating startups in Copenhagen, Startupbootcamp Mobile wants to repeat the success of their 2014 cohort, where more than half of the teams accepted into the program were founded or co-founded by female founders.
Startupbootcamp Mobile accelerator focuses on scaling mobile technologies, and solution-based startups, in which up to 10 selected startups receive 15,000 Euros seed investment, free co-working space, and access to Startupbootcamp’s global network of mentors, VCs, and angel investors.
“We picked the best startups with the best people”
The 5th round of Startupbootcamp Mobile had an impressive ratio of female founders and CEOs.
“In Scandinavia we have a long and strong tradition of equality, and I for one aggressively protect this value, but I have to admit that I didn’t look at gender split at all when selecting teams for last year’s batch. We simply picked the best startups with the best people. I don’t think “entrepreneur” has a gender and our women are kicking ass, building real companies alongside the guys. Now we are, of course, hunting for more talent of the same breed for our coming Summer Camp,” said Lars Buch, Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Mobile.
Although the accelerator’s team did not favor the female founders, the (male) entrepreneur and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Mobile is rejoicing at the amount of females connected to the Danish accelerator program.
“With a history of working at Nokia leading big teams of +90% deep-thinking male engineers, I learned to appreciate the improved balance of both skills and values in a team with more female peers. Moving to high-tech entrepreneurship, I see a rapid move away from teams consisting of “two developers and a hustler” towards more diverse and balanced teams where sales, design, and human interaction is in focus, and in general we see a more natural split of genders.”
Female ratio a part of the motivation for applying
According to Salone Sehgal, co-founder of the online casual gaming startup TrulySocial, the decision to apply for an accelerator was the gender balance in the Copenhagen accelerator.
“Perhaps for me – the most redeeming fact was that unlike other tech accelerators – this was not a dude‐fest. Having worked in a male dominated environment for all of my professional life being a former investment banker, the adverse gender balance in the tech, particularly games world, has caught me by surprise. However, in SBC – with 5 female founders – we forged the path for a new way forward,” says Salone Sehgal.
Another female co-founder from last year’s Startupbootcamp Mobile program is Sabine Staggl who co-founded Noisli, a service (available as mobile and web app) that improves your focus and productivity through background noise. For Sabine Staggl, the the decision to join was motivated by the scaling potential of the international network on offer to their startups.
“We have 65 million total plays so far and Noisli has been used in 90% of the world’s countries. But I think the greatest achievement to date is having created and working on something that has a real impact on people.”
Russian born Gulnaz Khusainova, co-founder of Easysize, a data-driven startup that helps consumers define their clothes size in different brands, had pivoted her business during the 3-month program. Now they have passed fund-raising and are live with major global E-shop brands.
“Easysize was different back when I applied to the program. We got accepted with one solution but following the process of customer validation and reflection we changed the technology drastically right in the middle of the program and today have a world-leading working solution,” explains Gulnaz Khusainova and adds:
“For me the best thing about the accelerator was the switch from theory to practice. As an entrepreneur you do know that you have to ‘Test with customers’ but you are so focused on developing your platform that you keep postponing, but in an accelerator you have a 3-month timeline and tough schedule with targets and deadlines and you actually have to test to get things right – otherwise you won’t make it.”