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It has been widely reported that less than 3% of venture capital is awarded to female founders.

Changing this trend in the startup and technology community is one of the highest priority goals of the Founder Institute, so in 2016 we formed the Female Founder Initiative to leverage our global network and create more opportunities for women to build successful companies. Each year of the initiative we have increased the number of women-founded portfolio companies created through our pre-seed accelerator, and we believe we can make a lasting impact in the technology sector if 40% of our portfolio companies produced in 2020 are founded by women.

We recently did an internal data dive to explore which Founder Institute chapters that showed the most progress in gender equality in 2018, and we would like to publicly recognize the Local Leadership teams from across the world who have shown exemplary dedication in championing diversity within their own local startup ecosystems.  Each of these FI chapter leadership teams is being recognized for having reached ≥50% female alumni in their 2018 cohorts - congratulations, FI Leaders!


Diversity Champions:


Local Leaders: Sheffie RobinsonAkita Patterson


Founder Institute Atlanta achieved a cohort with 83% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Dimitris PolychronopoulosBruno PesecAlex HsiFaraaz Ali   

Founder Institute Oslo achieved a cohort with 75% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Mariah LichtensternVeronica SmithCraig Pritsky 

Founder Institute Sacramento achieved a cohort with 71% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Kevin Siskar 

Founder Institute New York achieved a cohort with 69% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Sayyed Ahmad Masud

Founder Institute Islamabad achieved a cohort with 66% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Nima KazerooniClayton GuimaraesEduardo CicconiRicardo Agostinho

Founder Institute Ribeirao Preto achieved a cohort with 60% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Joao DutraJes Kaliebe PetersenArkar Phyoe 

Founder Institute Yangon achieved a cohort with 57% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Sunil Sharma

Founder Institute Toronto achieved a cohort with 55% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Matiullah RahmatySalim Sohrab 

Founder Institute Kabul achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Alex DascaluMarius MitroiDiana Ciobanete 

Founder Institute Bucharest achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Nima KazerooniMarco De BiasiRobson Del FiolLisa BaldwinGuilherme Cabral

Founder Institute Sao Paulo achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Ryan MichelettiScout Tweedie-YatesMike Suprovici

Founder Institute Silicon Valley achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Duke Lee, Myung Jong Lee, Jinah Kim

Founder Institute Seoul achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.


Local Leaders: Rosemarie TrumanMaura O'Brien-Ali

Founder Institute Washington D.C. achieved a cohort with 50% Female Alumni in 2018.

To truly solve global challenges like those outlined in the United Nations 17 SDGs, the Founder Institute believes the world needs entrepreneurs from all over the world--coming from diverse backgrounds, bringing together diverse experiences and viewpoints--all working on building meaningful companies to tackle the world’s biggest problems. 

If you are interested in democratizing entrepreneurship and helping founders of all backgrounds build startups in your city, then apply to be a Founder Institute Local Leader today

We are excited to share these benchmarks of our own progress towards achieving the greater startup gender diversity that we believe is possible and necessary. And we will continue to recognize the outstanding efforts from FI chapters from around the world that are meeting our high standards for achieving diversity goals. By recognizing these Diversity Champion award winners, we encourage everyone across the FI global startup community to continue their own efforts throughout the remainder of 2019 and beyond, recognizing the strength in diversity. 

If you are reading this, help us spread the word - help us recognize these leaders and make a meaningful shift towards a more diverse startup community. Every day, we can each be more mindful of the role diversity plays in global startup culture, and help to foster the kinds of communities best positioned to produce innovations that will drive the future.

Thank you again to each our FI Local Leader chapter teams recognized here, as well as to all of our Local Leaders around the world who are making progress in building greater diversity in their startup communities.

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If you (or someone you know) are interested in building startups in your city through the Founder Institute, visit for more information. 

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