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Code First Girls wins £4.5m investment to bring women into the tech sector

Code First Girls

Code First Girls (CFG), a female-founded, fast-growing business that supports women into coding education and employment for free, has announced a successful £4.5m Series A fundraise from female angel investors and a leading investment firm.

CFG will use the funds to accelerate the company’s growth and close the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated tech industry.

The funding, from consumer-focused investment firm Active Partners and prolific female angels including former director of Bumble and CEO and founder of Peanut, Michelle Kennedy; Claire Davenport, CEO of; former VP of Monzo and co-founder and COO of Stealth, Rona Ruthen; Clare Johnston, CEO and founder of the UpGroup, and Karen Kerrigan, COO of MoneyBox, will enable the company to reach an ambitious new target of providing one million opportunities to women to learn how to code and secure a job in tech over the next five years. 

Active Partners, the lead investor, boasts an impressive portfolio of well-known brands including Leon, Rapha, Soho House, and Honest Burgers. The funding round has also attracted support from CEOs and COOs of leading companies like Bloom & Wild.

There is a stark gender gap in the tech industry, with women making up just 21 per cent of the UK’s tech industry and black women making up less than 3 per cent. The UK’s tech job market is projected to be worth £30bn by 2025 – six times larger than it is now – and a diverse talent pipeline will need to be put in place in order to unlock this value. However, analysis by Code First Girls of employment and higher education data finds there will be one qualified woman for every 115 roles by 2025. 

As part of its ambition to provide one million opportunities to women, alongside free online courses at every stage of the pipeline, Code First Girls plans to put over 26,000 women through the ‘CFGdegree’ and place them into tech roles over the next five years. Given an average starting salary in tech, this equates to over £1 billion in economic opportunities for women entering into the tech industry.

CFG runs its courses both online and in person at institutions in the North including the Universities of Manchester and Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the DWP’s Manchester City Centre site. 

Founded by Alice Bentinck MBE and Matthew Clifford MBE, who also co-founded startup accelerator Entrepreneur First, Code First Girls has been transitioning in recent years from a social enterprise to a rapidly accelerating profit-making business. The business has already taught 80,000 women to code for free, and multiplied both its revenue and user base by 10.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, said: “At Code First Girls, our mission is to close the serious, long-term gender gap in the tech industry by giving women the opportunity to learn to code and get jobs in tech, at no cost to them. We’re growing at an incredibly fast pace, with businesses, government and universities across the country getting on board because they recognise we’ve found a model that works.

“This funding round is a vote of confidence from major figures in the tech industry, who see our pioneering model as a solution to the tech gender gap. We’ll use this investment to provide one million opportunities for women to learn to code for free and enter the industry, driving a huge £1bn in economic opportunities for women and a boost for the entire sector.”

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