Many argue that the tech world — including IoT — is one big bro-nopoly. Why?
Well, maybe because only 5% of all VC funding goes to women-led startups. Embarrassing.
In addition, according to LinkedIn’s Talent blog survey, 91% of hardware engineers are men. Disconcerting.
Not to mention the Wired stats showing that of the thousands of venture deals minted from 2012 to 2014, so few black women founders raised money that statistically speaking the number might as well be zero or at least statistically insignificant. The exact number is 24 out of 10,238, or just 0.2 percent.
See also: IoT powering a record M&A feeding frenzy
Oh, and of those few that did raise money, the average amount of funding is $36,000. To get a better picture, compare that number with what the average white male raises: $1.3 million.
But while those stats surely are depressing and demotivating at best, meet 5 strong and absolutely amazing women who refused to accept the status quo as they defy gravity on a daily basis, successfully running their tech companies and changing the world on a daily basis.
Alicia Asin, Co- Founder & CEO, Libelium
Libelium is a wireless sensor network platform provider that delivers open-source, low-power consumption devices that are easy to program and implement for Smart Cities solutions and a wide range of M2M and sensor projects. As a CEO and co-founder, Alicia is focused on how IoT is becoming the next tech revolution, starting with Smart Cities. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences on issues related to Smart Cities, Wireless Sensor Networks and the IoT. Alicia is also the first woman to receive the National Young Entrepreneur at the 2014 meeting of the Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (CEAJE).
Ayah Bdeir, CEO, littleBits Electronics
littleBits is an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Ayah Bdeir is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab. Her list of achievements includes becoming: one of Business Insider’s 26 Most Powerful Women Engineers, one of Inc. Magazine’s 35 Under 35, one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of the CNBC Next List, and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35.
Anne Lauvergeon, Chairman, SIGFOX
SIGFOX is a provider of dedicated cellular connectivity for the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications. The company’s network complements existing high-bandwidth systems by providing economical, energy-efficient two-way transmission of small quantities of data, thus lowering barriers to wide implementation of IoT and M2M solutions, and greatly extending the battery and service life of connected devices. Anne holds an advanced degree in physics and chemistry. She was CEO of Areva from 2001 to 2011, and Chairman and CEO of Areva from 1999 to 2011, making her the only woman to run a nuclear energy company. In 2009, Fortune ranked her #4 on a list of the ten most powerful international female leaders. Currently Anne is the Chairman of the board at Sigfox, a French IoT startup, working on what it refers to as very low cost “ultra-narrow band”, on a mission to revolutionize the IoT world.
Limor “Ladyada” Fried, Founder, Adafruit
Adafruit Industries is an open-source hardware company based in New York City. It was founded by Limor Fried in 2005, in her MIT dorm room, and now employs more than 50 people in the heart of NYC. Limor is a double MIT EECS graduate, who was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine, as well as awarded Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the year. Ladyada was a founding member of the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council. Adafruit is ranked #11 in the top 20 USA manufacturing companies and #1 in New York City by Inc. 5000 “fastest growing private companies.” Adafruit is featured in Google’s Economic Impact Report. Limor was named a White House Champion of Change in 2016.
Meredith Perry, Founder and CEO, uBeam
uBeam is a Los Angeles, California based wireless power startup that transmits power over-the-air to charge electronic devices. Meredith founded uBeam in 2011 while studying at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, Meredith served as a student ambassador for NASA, where she worked on technology to detect life on Mars, experimented in zero gravity and researched and published papers in astrobiology and medicine. She graduated in 2011 with a degree in paleobiology. Meredith has been included in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” Mobilizers, Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Vanity Fair’s “The New Establishment.” She has also been recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” and was the recipient of Elle Magazine’s Genius Award.
An inspiration for women and men alike
While those five brilliant entrepreneurs are a true inspiration for men and women alike, there are a lot more women out there beating the odds and making huge impact day in and day out. Hopefully, with their winning attitudes and determination the numbers cited at the beginning of this post will soon become inaccurate and will be replaced with more balanced ones.