Women bosses are still a minority in the technology industry, where men hold more than 80 per cent of directorships.
But that has not stopped a string of talented female founders and chief executives being in line for huge windfalls as their companies list on the stock market, from tickets app Trainline to cyber-security firm Darktrace.
Here, we look at some of the most high-profile female founders and executives to make their fortunes in tech:
Founder: Romi Savova, 35
Stake: up to £140m
Romi Savova, the boss and co-founder of PensionBee could see her stake valued at more than £100m when it floats this month.
The smartphone app business has revealed a price range that could see it valued at up to £384m.
It means Savova’s 36 per cent holding could be worth as much as £140m when it goes public.
Born in Bulgaria and raised in South Africa, the former Morgan Stanley investment banker had the idea for her business after struggling to move a pension pot when switching jobs.
‘I discovered it is actually a really tricky nightmare, if you are just a normal human being and want to do something with your retirement savings,’ she said.
‘So we decided to build a platform that would let people view their pension from the palm of their hand.’
The Harvard-educated entrepreneur went on to found PensionBee with friend Jonathan Parsons in 2014 and the business now manages £1.5billion worth of assets.
While running the company, she has given birth to two children and has written about the difficulties female entrepreneurs face when trying to balance family life with work.
Founders: Poppy Gustafsson, Nicole Eagan, Emily Orton
After co-founding Darktrace with fellow mathematicians and a collection of spooks, Poppy Gustafsson rose to become the cyber security firm’s finance chief, operating chief and finally chief executive.
The 38-year-old is set to lead the company through its listing on the London Stock Exchange, where it could fetch a valuation of as much as £3billion.
That would put Gustafsson’s 0.6 per cent holding at a cool £19m.
Among the other four co-founders, marketing chief Emily Orton could also receive £7m and strategy chief Nicole Eagan could make almost £71m. There were two male co-founders, Dave Palmer and Jack Stockdale.
Gustafsson has been chief executive since 2016.
The married mother-of-two grew up in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, going on to read mathematics at Sheffield University.
She later joined investment bank Deloitte as an accountant and then went to work at venture fund Amadeus Capital, before serving as an executive at Autonomy.
This was followed by a spell at Autonomy founder Mike Lynch’s investment fund Invoke Capital, before she co-founded Darktrace in 2013.
Gustafsson has previously spoken about attending industry events where she was confronted on stage with a ‘sea of men staring back at me’.
Asked about her experience, she said: ‘Being a women has never presented challenges for me at Darktrace. But if the legacy that myself and others leave is a whole new generation of businesses headed by women, then I am proud to be a part of that.’
Former boss: Clare Gilmartin
Clare Gilmartin led the digital rail ticketing company to its float in 2019 and she still owns 1.6 per cent of shares.
She sold £16m worth of stock when it went public and another £3m worth last September.
In charge: Clare Gilmartin led the digital rail ticketing company to its float in 2019
On top of this she still owns another 7.6m shares worth another £36m currently, after shares closed at 490p yesterday. That is up from around £27m when they listed at 350p each.
Gilmartin, who is married and has three children, stepped down as Trainline’s boss last year to spend more time with her family after seven years in charge.
However, she remains a senior adviser to the company.
Irish-born, she studied international commerce and German at University College Dublin, and had previously worked at Dove soap maker Unilever and US-based Boston Consulting Group. But she made her name at internet shopping and auction giant Ebay, running its European business for four years.
In 2014 she was poached by Trainline and oversaw its transformation into a darling of Britain’s technology industry.
Founder: Professor Sarah Gilbert
The woman behind Oxford’s coronavirus jab is in line for a multi-million pound windfall when her company floats on the stock market.
Professor Sarah Gilbert stands to make more than £17m when Vaccitech, the firm she co-founded, debuts on Wall Street. The mother-of-three owns just over five per cent of the company. It was recently valued at $450million (£327m) – although reports suggest that figure could rise.
The 59-year-old founded the firm with university colleague Professor Adrian Hill, in 2016.
Vaccitech’s signature technology – which uses a harmless version of a respiratory virus found in chimpanzees – is the cornerstone of the coronavirus jab now being administered to millions of Britons.
Professor Gilbert grew up in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
Her father worked in the office of a shoe factory and her mother was a teacher.
She studied biological sciences at the University of East Anglia and went on to do a PhD at Hull University before getting a job at Oxford in 1994.
The scientist – whose triplets took part in trials of the Covid-19 jab – has insisted that she never meant to become an expert in vaccines originally but became interested after coming to Oxford University to work on a human genetics project.
Since then, she has pioneered the use of genetically altered viruses to make vaccines for diseases includent influenza, Mers, Zika and Ebola.
Astrazeneca has been leading distribution of the Oxford vaccine but after the pandemic Vaccitech is expected to share in any revenues from continued sales. It is also developing booster jabs for variants of the virus.
Founder: Anne Boden
Starling Bank’s Anne Boden started the fledgling lender after falling out with Monzo founder Tom Blomfield.
Her plan had been to build a digital bank with him,
The drama was later chronicled by 61-year-old Boden in a book, but she has since gone on to establish a highly successful business in her own right.
Starling Bank now has more than 1.7m accounts, with £4bn of deposits and lending of £1.5billion.
It was recently valued at £1.1billion in a fundraising and the bank is now thought to have its sights fixed on a possible float next year.
Boden is no longer the biggest shareholder, controlling less than 25 per cent of the firm after Zurich-born billionaire backer Harald McPike tightened his grip.
But even then her holding is likely to be valued well in excess of £200m.
She has spoken up in the past about the lack of women in high-level banking jobs and is the only woman in the UK to have ever founded a bank.
Commenting on the appointments of women at the top of Natwest and TSB, however, she said: ‘The women getting these jobs are very, very good. They have to be.
‘They read what’s going on in the world through a different lens. Women are not arrogant, thinking we know everything.’
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