Startups in Israel still dominated by male founders as women tread water
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Startups in Israel still dominated by male founders as women tread water

Stats shows the percentage of female tech entrepreneurs has remained stable at 10% for the past five years

A high tech company which employs ultra-Orthodox women in Modiin Illit.  August 17, 2009. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90/File)
A high tech company which employs ultra-Orthodox women in Modiin Illit. August 17, 2009. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90/File)

It’s 2019, and the lion’s share of companies in Israel’s booming startup industry continues to be founded mostly by men.

The most recent data, obtained from industry tracker Start-up Nation Central, shows that last year there were only 75 female founders out of a total of 723. 

Aviv Alpert, the director of research and analysis at Start-up Nation Central who analyzed the data, said that the percentage of women among entrepreneurs has remained stable at around 10 percent for the past five years.

But, she said, these initial findings don’t give the full picture.  

“When you hear 10% of founders, people automatically think that means 90% of companies were founded by just men,” Alpert told The Times of Israel by phone. “When you actually look at the number of companies where women are in founding positions and not at the number of founders, they are actually involved in more companies than we thought.”

When Alpert went through the data from the Start-up Nation Central Finder database, which includes 2,400 companies founded between 2014 and 2018 that deal with technological innovation, she discovered that one-sixth of companies had at least one female founder involved.

So though the women are 10 percent of the individual founders, if you look at the number of companies with at least one female founder, the number was 17 percent,” she said, explaining that some companies have multiple founders and could have a distribution of one female and several male founders.

She did add, however, that she was disappointed to see the stagnation in both the number of individual female founders and the number of companies with at least one woman founder over the past five years.

“The fact that there was no new news is bad news in my opinion,” she said.

As Israel faces a shortage of some 15,000 skilled workers, including engineers and programmers, the nation is seeking to boost the number of female, Arabs and ultra-Orthodox employees in the tech sector as they have been largely sidelined by the startup boom.

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