Martha Lane Fox launches competition for women-led start-ups

Woman on laptop

Baroness Martha Lane Fox is launching a two-day challenge for start-ups founded by women.

Her latest organisation, Doteveryone, wants female entrepreneurs to apply to take part in 5050tech Challenge, a two-day event being held at Google's Campus London on 7 and 8 February, giving them access to mentors and investors.

Twelve start-ups will take part, with the challenge split into the 'Pitch Clinic' and 'Pitch Day & Showcase'.

On the first day, companies will receive mentorship and training from industry leaders at Campus London, and on the second day they will be asked to give a two-minute pitch to seed investors and VCs.

In order to qualify, companies must have at least one female founder or co-founder.

Last year, Lane Fox claimed women have been shut out of the "modern industrial revolution," and said this is holding the industry back.

She said: "I still find that really baffling. The absence of women from the teams that are making the internet, the product designers, the coders, the engineers, [and] the absence of women in the venture capital community.

"It is really profoundly important because this is where the industrial revolution of our time is. If women are absent from it I think we will go back in time."

Women account for just 17 per cent of tech workers in the UK, according to The Tech Partnership's analysis of Office for National Statistics data from March 2015.

Much of Doteveryone's work aims to close this gender gap.

Tara O'Driscoll, media advisor for the organisation, said: "One of our core goals at Doteveryone is to change this by putting women at the heart of the technology sector by creating investment opportunities and meaningful mentorship from industry leaders. We believe that by making the UK the most gender balanced tech sector in the world, our nation will have a massive global advantage."

The deadline for applications is 12pm on 22 January, and a shortlist of 25 start-ups will subsequently be announced on 25 January.

To narrow the list down to the 12 finalists, shortlisted companies will be asked to submit a two-minute pitch video by the 27 January.

Start-ups interested in applying can do so here.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at