5. min read
Amsterdam's Top Female Founders in Tech
Meet the female entrepreneurs leading the way in the Dutch tech scene
There’s never been a better time to do business in the booming Dutch tech scene. However, as a female entrepreneur there are always extra hoops to jump through. The Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce, part of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, found that only 18% of IT professionals in the Netherlands are women, with an even smaller number holding top management roles in tech companies.
Disappointing, but not surprising.
The Dutch government hopes to raise that number to 50% by 2030. To speed along the process, we have rounded up 10 female founders that we hope will inspire the next generation of tech talent.
1. Christina Calje
Current role: Co-Founder at Autheos ⎢
A Goldman Sachs Executive Director turned startup founder and investor, Calje has launched and scaled businesses across New York, London and Amsterdam. Autheos, the video distribution platform she co-founded in 2016, was recently named a ‘Startup Disrupting Media’ by EU Startups and has earned Calje titles including ‘Top Woman Entrepreneur’ from EUtop50, and ‘powerhouse entrepreneur to watch’ from Silicon Canals.
2. Willemijn Schneyder
Bagging €1 million in funding and with big-name clients such as ABB, PepsiCo and Heineken, Schneyder’s start-up Swipeguide, co-founded with Daan Assen, eliminates the need for binders full of manuals on the work floor. One of Europe’s hottest deeptech startup founders, Schneyder’s latest accomplishment is winning the EIT Digital Challenge, which aims to identify the best European deep tech entrepreneurs and help them scale up internationally.
3. Deepti Sahi
Current role: o-founder at
After moving from the UK to Amsterdam to take up the helm at Deskbookers, Sahi took the leap in 2020 and co-founded a new edtech startup together with Anusha Mahalingam. Now acquired by Preply, the online platform, previously known as LessonLeap, offers group learning for children in over 170 countries in more than 50 languages.
4. Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt
Current role: Founder at Open Food Chain ⎢ Founder at The New Fork
Both agritech and blockchain are male-dominated spheres. Put them together and that’s where you’ll find Marieke de Ruyter de Wildt. Convinced that blockchain accelerates a more sustainable food system, she founded The New Fork in 2017, which helps agrifood companies work with blockchain. In 2019 she built Open Food Chain, an industry-owned blockchain that connects consumers from farm to fork.
5. Elvire Jaspers
Current role: Partner at
Elvire Jaspers is a passionate advocate on diversity and inclusion in the tech sector. Jaspers founded WeAreBrain in 2014, enabling clients to create and execute strategies and solutions for their digital transformation, which has since been voted in the Emerce Top 100 in 2018 and 2021 and as one of the best e-business companies in the Netherlands. Jaspers is also not a stranger to the limelight, featured in The Next Women 100 list of top female entrepreneurs not once, but twice, and part of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Europe programme.
6. Wendy Bogers
Current role: Founder & CEO at Ligo
A lawyer turned entrepreneur, Bogers is the founder and CEO of Ligo, a legal tech platform founded in 2015. On a mission to change the legal industry, Ligo offers legal documents, notarial services, and free phone consultations with lawyers and legal workflows. And we aren’t the only ones to recognize Bogers impressive work. She was featured no.39 on the Forbes 100 Women Founders to watch in Europe, nominated for the LOEY Awards 2019, and recognized as the winner of the Dutch Legal Challenge 2016 and Goaldigger of the Year 2019.
7. Lethabo Motsoaledi
Current role: Co-founder and CTO at Voyc
Co-founder, creator and CTO at Voyc, Lethabo Motsoaledi is a serial entrepreneur in the fast-paced tech space. Founded in 2018, Voyc uses AI software to monitor and improve call centre quality assurance and agent performance. Originally founded in South Africa, the startup moved to Amsterdam to conquer the European Market and proceeded to win Accenture’s innovation competition, Blue Tulip Awards. Motsoaledi has also been awarded Inspiring Fifty Women in Tech SA, Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans and featured in Forbes Africa’s 2018 cover story as one of Africa’s Generation-Z Disruptors in the technology space.
8. Iffat Rose Gill
Current role: Founder at The Code To Change
An NGO leader-activist, digital strategist, and social entrepreneur, Iffat Rose Gill launched The Code To Change to bridge the gender and e-skills gap in the technology industry. For close to a decade, Gill has been at the forefront of shaping the policy debate of women’s digital inclusion, speaking at the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society-WSIS Forum, the UN’s Internet Governance Forum and the European Parliament.
9. Diane Janknegt
Current role: Founder at WizeNoze
After spending over a decade at Microsoft Netherlands, Diane Janknegt founded Amsterdam-based edtech startup Wizenoze. A new way of delivering educational content, Wizenoze aims to close what they call the ‘readability gap’. Selected by Forbes for the ‘100 Women Founders In Europe To Follow in 2019,’ Janknegt has also been highlighted as one of ‘The 20 Most Successful Businesswoman to Watch 2018’ by Insight Magazine, and as a ‘Bad-Ass Female Entrepreneur 2018’ by Silicon Canals.
10. Kirsty Sharman
Current role: Founder at
Another serial entrepreneur from South Africa, Kirsty Sharmam’s founded Referral Factory in 2021 as her third and latest venture. The SaaS solution offers startups, scaleups, and SME an easy way to build their own referral program, no coding required. Sharman was awarded Top Female Technology Entrepreneur In South Africa in 2016 and listed as one of the top 200 young South Africans by Mail & Guardian. The Netherlands is lucky to have her.