Women investors are gaining sustained influence on the world of investing. According to the Center for Venture Research (US), in 2016, women represented 26.2% of the angel market, compared to 25.3% in 2015.
Barriers still remain for these investors but, as our list shows, there are more women joining the prestigious group that support start-ups. As a result, a more sustainable narrative about the success of women investors emerges.
Even though there is plenty of room for growth, there are a great number of women investing through available networks. You can learn about them at Angel Network.
We've created a list of women, in alphabetical order, who appear regularly in tallies of top investors. This list includes pioneers, the first ladies of finance, such as Barbara Corcoran, Abby Cohen and Geraldine Reiss.
Perhaps these female investor role models will inspire the next generation of women investors.
1. Cyan Banister
Cyan Bannister is a partner at Founders Fund and was its first female investor. She is a well-known seed investor in a number of startups and her investment portfolio includes DeepMind Technologies, acquired by Google for more than $500m in 2014 and Uber.
Bannister’s not just an investor in startups, she’s personally walked the walk. She founded her own passion project in 2007, Zivity, an online platform for pin-up photography, and IronPort Systems, which was bought by Cisco in 2007 for $830m.
2. Alice Bentinck
Alice Bentinck is a co-founder of Entrepreneur First, which invests in technology startups in London and Singapore. Its investment portfolio lists 100 startups worth over $500m, including Magic Pony Technology, which was acquired by Twitter for $150m.
She was ranked in Management Today's 35 under 35 and was awarded an MBE for services to business. She also co-founded the non-profit Code First: Girls, which helps women learn to code.
Bentinck revealed on the blog site Medium that she's focusing on reading more about female leaders, particularly entrepreneurs.
She has found common themes among some of the most inspirational women in politics, fashion and comedy, the most striking of which, she writes, is hard work coupled with resilience. "If they weren't currently the best, they would work hard to learn what it takes to be the best."
3. Katja Bergman
Languages and technology combine to make Katja Bergman a formidable woman investor. Bergman is a partner at MOOR, along with Kersten Cooley.
She speaks several languages: Finnish, German, French, Swedish and English, and she holds an MSc in Engineering and an MBA from the University of Technology, Helsinki.
She was a co-founder of Pipebeach, a digital tech startup, that was eventually acquired by HP.
Bergman has many years' experience building global telecoms and internet technology businesses, having held senior business development positions at Nokia and Ericsson.
4. Laurel Bowden
Based in London, Laurel Bowden focuses on investments in software (internet/mobile) and fintech through 83North, a Venture Capital firm, in Europe and Israel.
Bowden has led investments in European technology companies, including Just Eat, as well as Hybris and Hybris Software, both of which were acquired by SAP and NotOnTheHighStreet.
Her current investment portfolio includes BlueVine, Celonis, Ebury, iZettle, Mirakl, Wonga and Workable. Her angel investments include Fizzback (acquired by Nice Systems), Wix, FreeAgent and Secret Escapes.
Just this year in Pitchbook, she affirmed that while 83North looks broadly for investments such as food-related companies (Just Eat) and security and data companies, its focus will always be technology and software related companies.
It is naturally selective and provides seed investment from $1m to $15m. Bowden is also interested in new technologies such as driverless cars and artificial intelligence.
5. Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack
Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack is a managing partner at SEED Capital, Denmark's largest early stage venture fund.
Brockenhuus-Schack is an entrepreneur and a former management consultant at McKinsey, with more than 20 years' experience working with innovation and business development across media and film.
SEED Capital identifies, finances and develops innovative entrepreneurial technology and medtech companies. Every year it makes investments in 15 to 20 new growth companies.
6. Ophelia Brown
Ophelia Brown is another European venture capital star, who until recently was a general partner at LocalGlobe, where she helped to build its first institutional fund. Her investment portfolio included Beamery, CheckRecipient, Cuvva, Debut and Echo.
Areas of interest are financial services, artificial intelligence and digital health, and she has a preference and passion for working with design-led teams and founders with strong product DNA.
In 2016 Brown struck out in a new direction with a mentor programme called ALT (Ambitious Ladies in Tech).
It matches senior functional leaders in technology startups with junior women to provide them coaching, skills development and networking. It now has 65 mentees and 130 mentors.
7. Eileen Burbidge
Eileen Burbidge has been an American in London for a long time. This woman investor is, according to Forbes, ‘one of London's most influential venture capitalists'.
Burbidge is a partner at the European venture capital firm Passion Capital, which has funded 65 tech startups since its inception in 2011.
In a 2015 Q&A with Forbes' magazine, she says: "What I've found is that every great entrepreneur has some driving ambition that fuels them. It's super-stressful to hire people, fire people, build a team, push through challenges and barriers, whilst competing with larger players. So, there has to be something that is emotionally anchored, deep-rooted and which will drive that founder through their most difficult days."
She has worked in business and product roles, including at Yahoo!, Skype and Apple.
Outside Passion, Burbidge also serves in the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group and as fintech envoy for HM Treasury. In June 2015, she received an MBE for services to UK business.
8. Debra Cafaro
Debra Cafaro is CEO of Ventas and the longest serving CEO of an S&P 500 company. This former attorney has muscle when it comes to an investment portfolio focused on real estate.
She is credited with turning around the real estate investment trust Ventas, which with Cafaro at the helm, is now valued at $30bn and owns 1,300 healthcare properties in the US, UK and Canada.
Cafaro featured in the Harvard Business Review's Top 50 Best Performing CEOs in the World in 2015 and in 2016.
9. Annette Campbell-White
Annette Campbell-White was an early pioneer in healthcare and medical technology.
Before retiring in 2015, she was the founder and senior managing partner at biomedical venture capital firm MedVenture, which invests in a number of new medical technologies and entrepreneurs.
During her 30-year tenure, Campbell-White's investments resulted in successful IPOs or acquisitions at a value greater than $100m. This woman investor was featured in the male-dominated Forbes Midas List for three years from 2005 to 2007.
10. Ashley Carroll
Ashley Carroll came to angel investing from a previous career as a product manager for SurveyMonkey and Optimizely, where she's now a partner.
She initially joined Social Capital as an entrepreneur-in-residence and came to enjoy the advisory aspect of the work.
After three months, she joined Social Capital as a partner, captivated by the firm's mission to solve the world's largest problems by investing in technology in sectors such as healthcare and education.
11. Abby Joseph Cohen
Abby Joseph Cohen, portfolio strategist at Goldman Sachs, is a Wall Street veteran and among the most powerful woman in the finance industry, according to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list.
She started as an economist at the Federal Reserve Board in 1973 and joined Goldman Sachs in 1990.
In 1998, she became a partner and is now president of the Global Markets Institute. After retiring in 2017, she continued to serve in an advisory capacity with the bank.
12. Kerstin Cooley
Kerstin Cooley is the managing partner of MOOR, along with Katja Bergmann. Based in Sweden and Finland, the venture capital firm is an early stage investment company focused on digital innovation, and currently lists 12 investments.
Cooley’s extensive experience encompasses her work with SEB investments in Sweden, with startup hedge funds in the US, and with Echelon, based in Silicon Valley, US.
Additionally, this formidable woman investor also co-founded global integrated communications agency Cognito and was with Trema for eight years.
13. Barbara Corcoran
Female investor, author and motivational speaker, Barbara Corcoran gained her fame a result of her appearance on ABC's Shark Tank. Her current total worth is $80m. A titan in the real estate business, she started the Corcoran Group through a $1,000 loan in 1973.
The real estate company was also known for its annual real estate data trends analysis, The Corcoran Report. In 2001, she sold the company and has since launched Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners (now called Forefront Venture Partners), that is currently investing in close to 50 companies.
14. Sonali De Rycker
Sonali De Rycker is a partner at Accel Partners, which has offices in London, Bangalore and the Bay Area, California. Based in London, she focuses on consumer, software and financial services businesses.
Her investment portfolio includes Avito (acquired by Naspers), Lyst, Spotify, Wallapop, KupiVIP, Calastone, Catawiki, JobToday, Wonga, Shift Technology and SilverRail. She backs entrepreneurs in consumer marketplaces, which involves getting local consumers to change behaviour.
De Rycker asserts that it’s not easy for entrepreneurs to expand into other countries from a standing start, but businesses such as Wallapop (a European Craigslist) and Deliveroo have developed playbooks that allow them to expand globally by targeting hyper-local urban densities.
De Rycker grew up in Mumbai and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Business School.
15. Arlene Dickinson
Like Corcoran, Arlene gained her popularity due to the appearance on TV – Dragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank, where she has been appearing since 2007.
Dickinson was CEO of marketing company Venture Communications. In 2012, she created Arlene Dickinson Enterprises, now called You Inc., to support and fund Canada's up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
She's a philanthropist, writer, speaker and TV personality not just a leading woman investor.
16. Sophie Dingreville
Sophie Dingreville is an engineer and a self-described strategy consultant with a multicultural background. She has more than 15 years in the venture capital industry and is now based in London as the Munich Re Group's investment director.
She leads the reinsurer's corporate venture capital activities in Europe and its subsidiary Hartford Steam Boiler, an engineering and insurance firm specialising in equipment breakdown coverage and data and cybersecurity.
Dingreville aims at finding leading digital champions with a focus on insurtech, industrial IoT, data analytics and artificial intelligence. The current investment portfolio includes Bought By Many, Relayr, Slice Labs, Trov, Next Insurance, Helium and Waygum.
17. Tracy Dorée
Tracy Dorée is a co-founder of Kindred Capital in London, which claims to have a unique model of venture capitalism.
In a recent article in London newspaper City AM, it described itself as ‘an equitable venture' where every founder, invested in by Kindred, becomes a co-owner of the fund.
Via a points system, once money has been returned to the fund's investors (private individuals, family offices and institutions), the network shares up to 20% of the fund's profits.
Dorée is an entrepreneur who seeks other entrepreneurs with spirit. Over the past decade she has founded, sold and exited her first venture (LLUSTRE, acquired by Fab.com) and invested venture capital in early stage UK companies.
18. Marie Ekeland
Marie Ekeland is co-founder of newcomer Daphni, which is the definition of perkiness, defining itself as a ‘venture capital mutant that loves startups, enthusiasm and cookies'.
Who are these mutants? Apparently, an alliance of ‘investors, community builders, platform makers, trend writers and a lazy-but-truly-amazing dog'. It's a cheeky way of differentiating Daphni from the crowd.
And, as Ekeland noted in a presentation at NOAH16, the venture capital space has a lot of new actors and they are now part of a different and disruptive landscape. Daphni's new value proposition is about bringing innovation and scale.
Ekeland was also co-founder and vice-president of France Digitale, an association bringing together founders and investors to develop the French digital ecosystem.
She began her career at JP Morgan in New York as a computer scientist and in 2000 joined CPR Private Equity as a venture capitalist. At Elaia Partners she led investments in Criteo, Edoki Academy and Ykone among others.
19. Mary Callahan Erdoes
Mary Callahan Erdoes is a stalwart of any list of the best-paid women in finance. Her earnings are approximately $18.4m as of the fiscal year that ended in 2016, where she held the position of CEO of JP Morgan Asset Management, according to salary.com.
With her CFO Marianne Lake, she launched the JP Morgan Asset Management Re-Entry Program, which recruits women who left the financial arena for family reasons to return back to their careers.
20. Amy Errett
Amy Errett did a reverse move from venture capitalist back to entrepreneur and is now CEO of online hair colour company Madison Reed – her fourth company.
Prior to this role, she was general partner of Maveron, a venture capital firm with a focus on consumer-facing companies, which she joined in 2008. She was also CEO of Olivia, repositioning the travel business as a complete lifestyle company.
21. Deborah Farrington
Deborah Farrington founded StarVest Partners, in 1998, as a venture capital firm investing in technology companies with a focus on software-as-a-service (SaaS), data and analytics and internet marketing.
Farrington has three decades of experience under her belt in venture investing and has held management and operating positions in investment and commercial banking, including as a director of private and public companies.
22. Anne Glover
Anne Glover has a depth of experience in science, operations and venture capital that she leverages as co-founder and CEO of Amadeus Capital Partners. She worked in the US in manufacturing and then in strategy consulting with Bain & Co.
In 1989, she returned to the UK, working with Apax Partners to invest in early stage companies.
She became chief operating officer of one of companies in her investment portfolio, Virtuality Group, after it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, returning to investing as a business angel before founding Amadeus in 1997.
She is a member of the European Commission's Research, Innovation and Science Policy Expert (RISE) high-level group. In 2006, she was awarded a CBE for services to business, and in 2008 was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
23. Irena Goldenberg
Irena Goldenberg grew up in Ukraine and speaks Russian, French and English. This female investor is a co-founder and partner at Highland Europe in Geneva and invests in growth-stage software and internet businesses that have scale and fast growing revenue.
The company’s investment portfolio includes MatchesFashion.com, WeTransfer, eGym, and Malwarebytes.
In a recent interview with Goldenberg noted that among the characteristics for investments are a proven business model, customers and revenues – "which is why the companies we invest in will have significant scale of €10m+ in current annualised revenues and will be growing fast (over 50% per year).
"Roughly half the companies we back are software businesses. The other half are consumer-facing e-commerce or marketplace companies."
In 2007, Goldenberg joined the US venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners in Boston. Prior to this she was at Flybridge Capital Partners and Bain & Company. She also worked at Tata Interactive Systems, developing e-learning applications in Mumbai.
24. Beatriz González
Beatriz González is not the pop culture artist from Colombia of the same name but the founder and managing partner at Seaya Ventures, a venture capital management company founded in Madrid in 2013.