Here are 10 visionary women investors shaping European investment scene

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The gender gap has long been a prevalent issue in finance and investment, with women historically underrepresented. However, recent data suggests that changes are sweeping across Europe, with more and more women hoping to increase their investments in the coming years. 

A 2022 German neobank N26 survey spanning Austria, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy reveals that European women currently invest 29 per cent less than men on average. Yet, nearly two-thirds of them expressed a keen interest in increasing their investments in the coming year.

This transformation is owed, in large part, to the efforts of women who have been pioneers in the field, opening up more opportunities for other female professionals in finance. Therefore, today, we delve deeper into the profiles of the top ten women investors in Europe who are driving this transformative wave.

Reshma Sohoni

Reshma Sohoni, the managing partner of European seed fund Seedcamp, has been acknowledged for her contribution to the region’s tech scene since co-founding Seedcamp in 2007. 

Witnessing the evolution of Europe’s tech landscape, Sohoni’s successes started with early investments in companies like UiPath, which achieved a remarkable $35B (€32,28) valuation upon listing. Her companies, which later reached unicorn status, include Revolut, Wefox, and Sorare. 

Sohoni received an MBE from the Queen of England in 2021 for her contributions to the British tech ecosystem. She has also appeared on Midas Europe with partner Carlos Eduardo Espinal

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Verena Pausder

Verena Pausder, founder of Fox & Sheep GmbH and HABA Digital GmbH, is on a mission to ensure equal access to digital education for all children. 

Apart from leading successful companies, Pausder is involved in non-profit initiatives like Digitale Bildung für Alle e.V. Her leadership at Fox & Sheep, the largest children’s app developer in Germany with 10 million users, shows her commitment to shaping the future of digital education. 

She founded non-profit StartupTeens, the Ladies Dinners startup network, and initiated the tech conference TheKidsWantMobile.

Aside from her entrepreneurial and non-profit activities, Verena also serves as a member of the Innovation Council for the Minister of State for Digitalisation, providing advice on current issues of digitalisation on the political level.

Julia Hawkins

As a Partner at LocalGlobe, Julia Hawkins brings a wealth of experience from her diverse background, including roles at Goldman Sachs, Last.fm, BBC Worldwide, and Universal Music. 

Hawkins has projects worth ranging from €500,000 to 3B in her portfolio. She has also held training courses on financial modelling and valuation approaches in many parts of the world.

Specialising in mission-driven founders, Hawkins has a keen interest in consumer, entertainment, media, and health tech. Her dedication to societal causes extends to her role as a Board Trustee of Shwachman Diamond Syndrome UK, advocating for a cure for a rare genetic disease.

Even though her background is in media, she has been heavily involved in health tech with companies like AccuRx, Vatic, Panakeia, Elephant Healthcare, Comind, Awell, and Apheris.

Christina Caljé

Christina Caljé is an executive with a rich background in start-ups and multinational corporations. After the acquisition of her video marketing technology company, Autheos, she is now tending to the funding gap for underrepresented founders in Europe.

Caljé invests in societal improvement areas such as financial empowerment, energy transition, and climate protection. 

Recognised as one of the Netherlands’ most inspiring women in tech, Caljé leverages her influence to launch impactful networks and guide AI startups as a Non-Executive Board Member.

Caljé engages in direct investment, syndicating investment through SPVs, and holding positions on investment committees. She founded goal-oriented networks like the ‘Impact Investor Group’ in collaboration with Bankers Without Boundaries. 

In addition to her role at Autheos, Christina has offered her expertise as a Non-Executive Board Member for several artificial intelligence startups to maximise shareholder value.

Annalise Dragic

As a partner at Sapphire Ventures, Annalise Dragic plays a crucial role in analysing new investments and supporting portfolio companies across Europe and Israel. She had worked at LinkedIn, Morgan Stanley, and Atomico before joining Sapphire Ventures as a partner. 

Dragic is a vocal advocate for gender diversity in venture capital, and focuses on investing in Series B through pre-IPO B2B companies. She particularly invests in fintech and B2B SaaS. 

Holding a key position at Sapphire Ventures, with over $8.8B (€8,12B) in assets under management, Dragic actively promotes increased representation of women in VC and diverse founders.

Deepali Nangia

Deepali Nangia, an angel investor and Partner at Speedinvest, has been dedicated to fostering diversity in the investment space. With a portfolio that includes PensionBee, Unlock, Adia Health, and Polipop, Nangia’s mission with Speedivest is supporting underrepresented founders. 

Aside from that, Nangia has invested in and mentored multiple female-founded companies, including Planera, Kama Labs, Sano Genetics, Shell Works, SideQuest, Juno Bio, Flown, Okko Health, Vine Health, Vaayu and Yhangry, among others.

Co-founding the Alma Angels community to increase female angel investors in Europe, Nangia’s commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion earned her the UKBAA’s Angel Investor of the Year award in 2021.

Deepali’s passion lies in leveraging technology to tackle significant societal challenges, particularly in sectors like digital health, femtech, and climate tech.

Ashley Lundström 

A member of EQT Partners’ ventures team, Ashley Lundström brings a unique blend of expertise in physical sciences and business to the Ventures team. 

Prior to joining EQT, Ashley worked in Swedish media house Bonnier and interacted closely with portfolio companies including Svensk Filmindustri, Toca Boca, and Spoon.

Passionate about consumer-grade experiences, Lundström believes in the superpowers of mission-driven teams. 

Her portfolio includes investments in companies like Instabox, Anyfin, CodeSandbox, and Varjo. As an investor, Lundström seeks opportunities where systemic change is inevitable, especially in consumer internet and SMB.

Sonali De Rycker

Sonali De Rycker, a managing partner at Accel since 2008, has been a consistent figure on the Midas List Europe. Leading investments in European unicorns like Spotify, Avito, Primer, Soldo, and Hopin, De Rycker’s strategic streak have significantly impacted the consumer internet, software, and fintech sectors. 

Recognised for her achievements, she won the UKBAA’s Angel Investor of the Year award in 2021 and continues to shape the European investment landscape.

Currently, her portfolio includes ventures such as the digital health platform Kry, British bank Monzo and freight forwarder startup Sennder. Her most recent successful exit occurred with the Carlyle Group’s acquisition of Accel-backed funds network Calastone in 2020.

Rana Yared

Rana Yared, managing director at Goldman Sachs, is a key member of the Principal Strategic Investments team. Responsible for leading investments in financial technology, Yared’s impact extends across market structure strategies and technology asset commercialisation. 

A member of various boards and committees, Yared is actively involved in shaping the future of fintech. She serves on the boards of Tradeweb, Zoomdata, Barefoot Networks, Context Relevant, and the advisory committees of Swapclear and Forexclear on behalf of the firm. 

She is also on the advisory board of Wabash College and the Executive Board of the Penn Fund at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Fiona Pathiraja

Crista Gallli Ventures managing partner Fiona Pathiraja has emerged to be one of the most prominent figures in Europe’s healthtech investment by leveraging her expertise as a medical director, advisor, and board member for various healthtech startups. 

An advocate for female empowerment, Fiona also stands as one of Europe’s most active angel investors, particularly supporting female founders.

With her partner, an investor managing a family office, they established Crista Galli Ventures. This specialised health fund targets seed and Series A stages, focusing on deep tech, digital health, chronic disease management, and personalised medicine.

Additionally, Crista Galli Ventures extends support pre-seed through Crista Galli Labs, with a distinct emphasis on underserved founders in the health tech landscape. 

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