The place of women in tech is continually becoming a subject of discussion given the relatively low level of participation, as Africa’s tech ecosystem continues to grow with record investments.
According to reports, female founders are among the most underfunded entrepreneurs in Africa.
Recently, ONE Campaign and the Center for Global Development conducted a survey to determine the percentage of Nigerian women in tech. They surveyed 93 tech firms – mainly e-commerce and enterprise solutions – and the result showed that women owned only about 30%.
Out of the 93 surveyed tech firms, only six had a woman in a top management position, while more than one-third of those surveyed had no woman employed at all.
In 2022, TechPoint also reported that only 10% of female-founded startups in West Africa have raised up to $1 million since 2010, and the African Development Bank puts the entire funding gender gap at $42 billion.
The socio-cultural bias, which is a barrier generally for women within the more extensive society, is largely responsible for this, although the situation appears to be changing slowly.
To increase the number of African women in tech, several venture funds are stepping up and committing funds to female-led startups.
South Africa’s Alitheia IDF fund in 2020 announced that it had raised $75 million to invest in mid-sized, women-centered businesses. This, it said, would be invested in startups from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
Recently, Future Africa, led by former Andela co-founder, Iyin Aboyeji, announced it would invest up to $1 million in women-led startups. With these developments, the participation of women in tech is shaping up, both within Nigeria and in Africa generally.
Below, we highlight 10 women in tech to watch out for this year:
Honey Ogundeyi is the founder of Edukoya, a comprehensive examination preparation platform built to help students study and prepare better for examinations.
Honey founded Edukoya in May 2021 and has since then gone on to raise $3.5m in a pre-seed round, the largest so far in Africa for a female-led startup in the edu-tech sector.
Before founding Edukoya, Ogundeyi earlier founded Fashpa, a Nigerian fashion e-commerce store, in 2014. She was also the founding Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Kuda.
Fara Ashiru Jibutoh
Fara Ashiru Jibutoh leads the innovative payment platform, Okra, an API “super-connector” that helps merchants process real-time financial information between customers, applications, and their banks as founder and CEO.
Fara founded Okra along with David Peterside in 2019, and they have so far raised $4.5m in two rounds, pre-seed and seed.
Before Okra, Fara worked with JP Morgan, Fidelity Investments, and Daimler Mercedes Benz. Along with being the CEO, she also wears the hat as its CTO, making her one of the most promising founders to watch out for in the fintech industry.
Adora is a software engineer. For a while now, she has been sharing articles on software engineering and career growth via her platform adorahack.com. She also has a YouTube channel, AdoraHack, where she shares stories on tech and her personal experience as a software engineer.
Adora is the co-founder of unStack Africa, a conference for tech talents in and around Africa which focuses on workshops and talks to empower people by practically taking them through the rudiments.
She is also Vice President of the Nigerian chapter for the VRAR Association, an avenue where she enlightens young individuals about the potential in Mixed Reality technologies.
Yanmo Omorogbe is the co-founder and COO of Bamboo, a digital investment platform that enables anyone in Nigeria to buy, sell and hold assets traded on the US stock exchange.
She is an alumna of Imperial College, London, where she studied Chemical Engineering. She was previously an assistant to the Nigerian Minister of Power, Works, and Housing. She later moved to the private sector as part of the Transaction and Asset Management teams at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of Africa’s largest infrastructure private equity fund managers.
Seun Runsewe is in charge of product management at Chipper Cash, now worth $2 billion after clinching unicorn status. She was formerly Vice President of Growth at Softcom and director of product at OPay.
She started her career as a management consultant at KPMG where she was the project coordinator of Project Africa, a KPMG initiative to push financial services provision across Africa.
Seun is credited for leading the development and beta-launch of Switch by Sterling Bank. Prior to her role at Sterling Bank, she was an early member and the business lead at Paystack.
With all eyes on Chipper Cash this year, Seun certainly stands out as one of the women in tech to watch as she stands at the center of the action at the latest African unicorn.
Ruth Iselema is a trained pharmacist and the CEO of Bitmama, a payments platform that provides a secured blockchain infrastructure that allows users to perform secure cryptocurrency transactions.
According to her, the idea to start Bitmama came after she was duped of N250,000 while trading Bitcoin. In October 2021, the startup announced that it had raised a pre-seed fund of $350,000.
Ruth Iselema is undoubtedly a woman to watch out for in 2022.
Nnenna Nwakanma is the Chief Web Advocate at the World Wide Web Foundation – a free and open-source campaign organisation. She has worked in the ICT sector across Africa for several years. She was the Interim Policy Director for the World Wide Web Foundation with the United Nations for 15 years.
She is the co-founder of The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa and has served as a board member of the Open Source Initiative.
Abiola Eniola Aminu
Abiola is a Product Designer at Flutterwave.
She started her tech journey at Swifta Systems as a UI/UX design intern. Since then, she has worked with different organisations like Cowrywise, Yellowcard, and Tuteria.
Ibukun is a Business Process Outsourcing expert and she spent six years working in that capacity within the fintech industry. Her amazing work at tech companies like Paystack and Kuda Bank prepared her for leadership in the tech ecosystem.
She is the Launch Lead at pawaPay. She is also the co-founder of Independent PA, a virtual assistant agency launched in 2015 that assists C-level executives at organisations like Andela and Flutterwave. She successfully exited the startup in 2017.
She is the Co-Founder & CEO at TORA Africa, which was founded in 2019.
TORA Africa was an academy that recruits, trains, verifies, insures, and provides background-checked drivers for individuals and businesses.
Now defunct, it had Idris Ayodeji Bello as its angel investor. The startup’s business model faltered as it was built around the need for ride-hailing companies for riders.